Posco's land acquisition move hits hurdles

Posco's land acquisition move hits hurdles

"Though we want establishment of Posco steel plant here, we will not cooperate with the administration's efforts of land acquisition process unless our demands are fulfilled," United Action Committee (UAC) president Anadi Charan Rout told PTI after attending a marathon meeting between the pro-project group and the district administration of Jagatsinghpur.

"The villagers want more compensation. I will take up the matter with the government.

However, we have requested them to cooperate the administration in land acquisition scheduled to resume from May 18," District Collector N C Jena said.

The land acquisition process for Posco was halted last year in view of a cease work order from the Union ministry of Environment and Forest.

The state government had been facing opposition from the people of Dhinkia and Gobindpur gram panchayats.

From among their 29-point charter of demands, the UAC members pressed fulfilment of six-core points in order to get their support. The basic demands were: a job for each displaced family, increase in the price of agricultural land and homestead land, hike in the compensation for betel vine workers, exact measurement of betel vines and valuation of betel gardens closed after 2008.

While the group supporting the project decided to keep away from the land acquisition process, activists and leaders of at least five political parties comprising CPI, CPI-M, Forward Bloc, RJD and Samajwadi Party staged a dharna in front of Raj Bhavan here demanding relocation of the proposed steel plant site.

Seeking Governor M C Bhandare's intervention into the Posco issue, the five parties in a joint memorandum pointed out that the provisions under the Forest Rights Act, 2006 were clearly violated by the state government for the steel project.

Terming the act of land acquisition for a company having no MoU as "illegal", CPI state secretary Dibakar Nayak said that the chief minister Naveen Patnaik should visit Dhinkia area before giving go ahead to land acquisition activities.