Deadlock over Posco land acquisition continues

"There is no further development so far on the matter," a senior district administrative official told IANS, adding that efforts are on to hold talks with the protestors.

State Chief Secretary B.K. Patnaik said the stoppage of land acquisition is temporary and should not be considered as a deadlock over the project.

The land acquisition was halted June 14 after officials faced opposition from villagers in the troubled area of Dhinkia and Govindpur in the coastal district of Jagatsinghpur.

The government said it has already acquired about half of the required 4,004 acres of land in the region for the $12 billion steel project and started construction activities on the acquired areas.

Regarding further acquisition of land, the official who did not wish to be named said: "We are waiting for the government’s instruction”. 

Posco's proposed 12 million tonnes steel plant - the largest foreign investment in India - is to come up near the port town of Paradip, about 120 km from here.

At least 2,900 acres of the total land required for the project is forest land. Authorities said villagers have encroached upon the forest land illegally and they need to be vacated.

Protestors, who formed a barricade near Govindpur for over two weeks to prevent entry of officials to the plant site, said they have been holding the lands for generations and once the land is acquired, they will lose their agro-based sustainable livelihood.

Orissa signed the agreement with Posco in 2005 for the steel-port-power complex.

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