Land acquisition for Posco project gathers pace

Sources in the Jagatsinghpur district administration said more than 80 local betel farmers have handed over their land to the officials engaged in the process in the last two days, after accepting their compensation.

“The land acquisition process is going on very smoothly at the moment,” said a Jagatsinghpur district administration official on Wednesday. More than Rs 1 crore has already been paid as compensation to the affected farmers.

Land acquisition for the Rs 52,000-crore South Korean mega project, which began last week, faced hurdles after activists of the UAC, considered a pro-Posco local farmers’ outfit, insisted that the government must their demands before going ahead with the process. Their demands included a better compensation package for the affected local betel farmers.
However, the protest had been called back after UAC representatives met Jagatsinghpur District Collector N C Jena. They are also likely to meet  local revenue divisional commissioner at Cuttack on May 30.

With the land acquisition taking off smoothly, the Orissa government has asked it officials to speed up works for the renewal of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the 12-million tonne proposed steel mill.

Posco representatives recently visited the state and held discussions with the senior state officials on the issue.

The MoU signed between the government and the South Korean steel major in 2005 expired last year. Opposition parties and others in the state have criticised the government for starting the land acquisition without renewing the MoU.

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