Anti-Posco agitators reject compensation package
Anti-Posco agitators on Sunday burnt copies of the new rehabilitation package issued by the company and accused Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik of backtracking from his "promise" to visit the site for taking stock of the situation.
Terming the package as meaningless, leaders of Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS) and others agitators said the residents of three gram panchayat in Jagatsinghpur district would "never allow" the mega steel plant to come up there. The protesters held a public meeting near Dhinkia and erected barricades to prevent authorities from entering.
On July 8, Posco-India had announced a compensation package for the people to be displaced by its Rs 51,000 crore mega steel project near here where it would pay Rs 17 lakh per acre of agricultural land and 11.5 lakh per acre of area under betel vine, among other provisions.
Terming the Chief Minister as a "betrayer", PPSS President Abhay Sahu said the villagers had allowed peaceful socio-economic and forest survey as Patnaik had promised to visit the area before going ahead with any other project related work. "By paving way for announcement of a compensation package before visiting the area, the chief minister has backtracked from the assurance he had given to the people, mainly farmers whose livelihood is endangered due to the proposed plant by the South Korean steel major," he said.
Sahu said Patnaik should have visited the area to see the prosperity which would be wiped out if the plant was set up. Social activists like Prafulla Samantara and Rabi Das said at the meeting that the package announced now lacked credibility as the MoU signed between Posco-India and Orissa government on June 22, 2005 lapsed on June 21 after its tenure of five years.
Asserting that they successfully prevented any headway in the proposed project in last five years, they said the locals were prepared to go to any extent to stop the plant from being set up in the area. They said the barricaded area would be guarded by villagers round-the-clock and police, administration and Posco officials will not be able to enter the site.