Orissa to restart land acquisition for Posco

Activists against project warn of stiff resistance

The process which will begin again after a gap of almost nine months will be executed by the state-run Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation(IDCO) in collaboration with the Jagatsinghpur district administration.

“We have already begun preparations to re-start the land acquisition process with the help of Jagatsinghpur district administration. The work will start from where it had been left,” chairman-cum-managing director, IDCO, Priyabrata Patnaik, said.

The Centre had halted land acquisition for the 12 million tonne South Korean steel project in August last year after an expert committee appointed charged the state government with violating forest and environmental laws while acquiring land.

The project was given final forest clearance by the Centre just recently after the Naveen Patnaik administration answered the clarifications sought by the Forest and Environment Ministry.

However, despite the clearance, it may not be easy for the state government to restart the land acquisition process as the Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS), the organisation spearheading villagers’ agitation against the Rs 52,000-crore mega project has already warned the IDCO and Jagatsinghpur district administration of dire consequences if they made any attempt to begin the land acquisition process again.

“We will not give any opportunity to the state government to start the land acquisition work again. The move will be fiercely opposed,” said Abhay Sahu, PPSS president.

The PPSS, in fact, had already organised a protest meeting in the area which prompted the Jagatsinghpur district administration to deploy four platoons of armed police in the locality.

State government officials, however, are hopeful that the acquisition works will go on smoothly.

“A majority of the local people support the Posco project and, therefore, we do not expect any major law and order problem,” Patnaik said.

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