Odisha resumes land takeover for Posco

Bhubaneswar, Feb 3 (IANS) Odisha Sunday resumed land acquisition for steelmaker Posco's $12 billion project in Jagatsinghpur district, more than over a year after the process was halted due to villagers' opposition, official said.

A section of villagers alleged police used force against women and children opposing the project, about 120 km from here.

"The land acquisition was started in Gobindpur village in a peaceful manner. It was resumed after people suo moto offered their lands," a district administrative official told IANS.

"We have destroyed about 10 betel vines in the region. Compensations were also paid to the villagers," he added.

Superintendent of Police Satyabrata Bhoi said the land acquisition was carried out in a peaceful manner. "There is no trouble. The work will continue Monday," he told IANS.

Prashant Paikray, spokesman of the Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti, which has been spearheading the movement against the project, said police entered the village forcibly and beat up residents, including women and children.

"Police also forcibly destroyed betel vines and cut the trees in the region," he told IANS. Some women have been severely injured, he alleged.

South Korean company 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.

The local administration claimed to have earlier acquired about 2,000 acres of land in the region in 2011.

The government needs to acquire another 700 acres, mostly in Govindpur area, for the project.

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