Land takeover for Posco's Odisha plant peaceful

Last Updated: Mon, Feb 04, 2013 12:01 hrs

Bhubaneswar: Land acquisition for Posco's $12 billion steel plant in Odisha's Jagatsinghpur district passed off peacefully Monday under heavy police deployment, an official said.

"The land acquisition was carried out in Gobindpur village in a calm and peaceful manner. There was no trouble," District Collector Satya Kumar Mallick told IANS.

"At least 10 betel vines were demolished and compensation of about Rs.13 lakh was paid to the villagers. The land acquisition work was complete for today (Monday). It will resume tomorrow," he added.

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

The local administration claimed it earlier acquired about 2,000 acres of land in the region in 2011.

It needs to acquire another 700 acres - mostly in Gobindpur area - for the project. However, villagers had been opposing the acquisition.

The land acquisition in the village started Sunday, despite protests by Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS), which has been spearheading the movement against the project since the company signed an agreement with the state government for the plant in 2005.

Hundreds of PPSS activists Monday held a rally in the region against the government's move.

"The way the administration acquired the land without the consent of the villagers is undemocratic. Police entered the village forcibly and beat up residents, including women and children. Police also forcibly destroyed betel vines," PPSS spokesman Prashant Paikray told IANS.

"Our protest against the project will continue," he added.

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