Odisha to take over land for Posco despite protests

Bhubaneswar, Feb 6 (IANS) Authorities Wednesday said they would continue to take over land for Posco's $12 billion proposed steel plant in Odisha's Jagatsinghpur district despite protests by villagers.

"The land acquisition process is on. We have decided not to suspend the process. It will continue," District Collector S.K. Mallick told IANS.

Anti-Posco agitation leader Abhaya Sahu has been on an indefinite hunger strike near the troubled Gobindpur village since Tuesday, demanding immediate withdrawal of police from the area.

The administration, which had earlier acquired 2,000 acres of land for the project, now wants to acquire 700 acres more in Gobindpur village.

Surajit Das, additional district magistrate, said about 200 acres of the required land has been acquired since Sunday. "Rs.1.4 crore has been paid to villagers as compensation," he said.

"We don't plan to suspend the land acquisition. We hope to acquire the remaining land in next fortnight," he added.

Hundreds of villagers, including women and children, Wednesday carried protested in the region against the land acquisition.

Posco's proposed 12 million tonnes per annum steel plant, the largest foreign investment in India, is to come up near the port town of Paradip, about 120 km from here. However, there has been almost no progress on the ground due to local opposition.

The government claimed the project would create jobs and increase economic activities, while those who do not want to give up their lands say the project will destroy their forest-based livelihood.


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