The land acquisition process for the Posco steel project, which was halted for last three days due to resentment of local villagers over the measurement of betel vines and the compensation package, has resumed today amid threats of intensification of stir by both pro and anti-Posco outfits.
The United Action Committee, a pro Posco outfit, is unhappy with the use of GPS (Global Positioning System) for measurement of betel vines. It alleged that use of this method instead of the traditional measuring tapes would reduce the area of betel vines by 30 to 40 per cent and bring down the compensation amount of the beneficiaries substantially.
The UAC supporters had launched an agitation on Wednesday, bringing to halt the land acquisition and disbursement of compensation in the Posco site soon after the process was launched two days back.
Following hectic parleys among the villagers, district administration officials and local Biju Janata Dal (BJD) leaders, the process resumed today at Noliasahi amid tight security and seven beneficiaries demolished their betel vines after receiving their compensation on Friday. Together they have received Rs 7.5 lakh compensation. Nearly 80 families of this village applied for compensation
Narayan Jena, the Jagatsinghpur district collector said, "No directive has been received from the state government to measure the betel vines as per the demand of UAC and so the administration has disbursed the compensation to the beneficiaries who have expressed their willingness to demolish the betel vines. No untoward incident has occurred during the land acquisition and disbursement of compensation."
Earlier, the activists of UAC even blocked the road at Gadkujang for barring the entry of survey teams as a result of which the resurvey was stalled for three days.
The state agriculture Minister Damodar Rout and local legislator Prasant Muduli intervened to ensure that the resurvey work continues at the Posco site.
Meanwhile, UAC conducted its meeting at Nuagaon on Thursday and discussed about the measurement method of betel vines in the resurvey. UAC decided to intensify its stir unless its demand of measurement of betel vine from ‘stay to stay’ instead of 'fence to fence' is fulfilled.
UAC secretary, Nirvaya Samntray strongly criticized the administration and minister for adopting ‘divide and rule’ policy to continue land acquisition process by developing a nexus with a few villagers.