Posco work continues despite road blockade by agitators

Paradip (Orissa), May 19 (PTI) Land acquisition for Posco’s mega steel project continued for the second day today despite protest and road blockade by agitators.32 persons were taken into custody for trying to disrupt the ongoing land acquisition process, which resumed yesterday after nine months, the police said.Activists of United Action Committee(UAC), who earlier backed the mega project, were taken into custody as they blocked the entry route to Gada Kujanga opposing land acquisition work, police said.UAC president Anadi Charan Rout was among the villagers arrested and he along with others were released on PR bond after officials winded up the day’s work at the villages.”We are supporters of the steel project. But we will oppose the land acquisition work till our demands are fulfilled,” Rout said after his arrest.”We have been successful in acquiring five betel vines on the second day. The work will continue,” land acquisition officer Sujit Das said. At least 11 betel vines were acquired yesterday but acquisition was affected today as many people refused to come out of their houses due to possible threat from the agitators, he said. “There has been no untoward incident in any part of the proposed Posco project site and land acquisition work continued in a peaceful manner,” said Jagatsinghpur district superintendent of police S Devadutta Singh. Over 700 police personnel were deployed in Balitutha, Gobindpur, Gada Kujanga, Nuagaon and other areas in order to ensure smooth land acquisition work and prevent any untoward incident in view of threat by anti-Posco activists and outfits to oppose the process, police said. Among the first to receive compensation for his land at Bayanala in Nuagaon panchayat area was Natabar Swain who was handed over a cheque for Rs 3.74 lakh, said additional district magistrate (Paradip) Saroj Choudhury. Though activists of Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS) blocked the road to Dhinkia and Gobindpur and supporters of Bhitamati Suraksha Manch (BMSM) staged a blockade near Nuagaon, land acquisition work continued smoothly in Gada Kujanga area in the proposed project site, officials said. PPSS, UAC and BMSM though agitate separately, their common goal to disrupt land acquisition could create trouble in the coming days, a senior police official said.

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