Port project faces protests from locals

BALASORE: The proposed port project at Chaumukh in Baliapal may have to face fate of Paradip’s Posco project over the land acquisition issue. People under the banner of Upakula Bhitamati Surakhya Committee (UBSC) have vowed to protest till the project is withdrawn. At a meeting organised at Chaumukh by the committee on Friday antidisplacement leaders Prafulla Samantray and Kishore Dash said despite the Supreme Court verdict against utilisation of fertile land for nonagricultural purpose, the Naveen Government has been diverting such lands illegally to set up industrial units. “This move of the Government is unethical and it is succumbing to the corporate musings. If it doesn’t step up measures to protect people’s interest, mass agitation will be intensified across the State,” he warned. Dash said people from Malkangiri to Mayurbhanj and Paradip to Sundargarh have vehemently opposed the corporatisation policy of the State Government. They won’t allow their lands to be used to benefit the multibillionaires, he said. The Chaumukh port project would require around 3,000 acres of land. While nearly 1,215 acres will be used for the port, 1,561 acres would be required for laying of road and rail corridor between Haldipada and Chaumukh.For rail and road corridor, around 1,300 acres of private land spread over 55 villages of Sadar, Basta and Bhograi would be acquired.A Government official said they will continue to oppose the project though the administration has assured them of compensation. Only 65 to 70 families would be displaced for the project. On December 30, about 20 persons including seven cops were injured in a clash that erupted at Chaumukh during a public hearing on the project.Chennai based Creative Port Development Private Limited has signed an MoU with the State Government for developing the Subarnarekha port here. Estimated at Rs 2,400 crore, the port project to be executed under BOOST method will be completed in three phases.

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