Bhubaneswar, May 18 (IANS) Despite opposition from the locals, the Orissa government Wednesday resumed the land acquisition process for South Korean steel major Posco’s $12 billion project in the state amid massive police deployment.
Officials drawn from revenue, forest and other departments began the land acquisition in the coastal district of Jagatsinghpur.
Several villagers in Gadakujanga area received compensation from the officials, suo motto demolished their betel vines and handed over their land to the administration, an official said.
‘No untoward incident has been reported. The work is going on smoothly,’ Additional District Magistrate S.K. Chaudhuri told IANS.
On the other hand, tension gripped the area when hundreds of people, including men and women, assembled at Balitutha — the entry point to the proposed site — and staged a demonstration.
Although the demonstration has so far remained peaceful, elaborate arrangements have been made to prevent any trouble, a senior district police official said.
Posco requires about 4,004 acres, mostly government land, for the project. Out of the land earmarked, 2,900 acres is forest land.
The local administration had earlier claimed that it already has acquired nearly 1,000 acres of land for the project in July last year.
The process was, however, halted after the union environment and forests ministry last year asked the state to stop all work, including land acquisition, related to the project due to violation of the Forest Rights Act (FRA).
The government resumed the land acquisition after the environment ministry gave a final clearance earlier this month to the project after the state clarified that the area does not house tribals or forest dwellers.