Bhubneswar,May,19:After a waiting gap of nine months, the land acquisition procedure for the most debated mega Posco steel project resumed on Wednesday by the Jagatsinghpur district administration at Gadakujang gram panchayat amid tight police cover.
The authorities have conducted survey of 11 betel vines in Polanga and Bayanalakandha villages under Gadakujang GP through the Global Positioning System (GPS) and provided cheques to 11 betel vine growers, who handed over their lands to the authorities.
The land acquisition proceadings was peaceful however the Posco supporter United Action Committee members had not coordinated with the authorities, stated Posco Land Acquisition Officer (LAO) Nrusingha Swain.
The officials, led by Additional District Magistrate of , Special Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation Officer , Erasama BDO and IDCO Land Acquisition Officer, has conducted the land acquisition work.
However few local people were opposed to the proceadings and betel vines demolition, they did not come out in the open to offer their resistance, said Posco LAO Nrusingha Swain. The administration provided a sum of Rs 17.55 lakh as the compensation and Peripheral Development Advisory Committee (RPDAC) package to 11 betel vine growers for razing their betel vines and acquiring their lands, said ADM.
The land acquisition proceedings were commenced at around 7.30 am and ended at 12 noon and the administration acquired around 1.5 acres of betel vine land from 11 betel growers of Polang and Bayanalakandha under Gadakujang GP, said ADM. "We are demolishing the betel vines of those who are voluntarily requesting the district administration to demolish their betel vines," said Choudhury.
"Earlier, we had paid a sum of Rs 1.36 crore to 96 betel growers and acquired their lands before the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests directed the State Government to stop all work relating to Posco, including the ongoing land acquisition work in forest and non-forest areas, as it violated the Forest Rights Act (FRA)," the ADM further substantiated.
On the other hand, protesting against the project, about 700 people of the Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti, led by its president Abhay Sahu, took out a demonstration from Dhinkia to Balitutha. Leaders of the CPI, CPI(M), RJD, SUCI and Forward Bloc also participated in the rally.
Industrialisation “is a good thing but it should not be done on the back of people. It is not right to think that, in order to build plants and create jobs, we can expel people from their land using force. The government cannot do that. The Church supports the right to protest peacefully, also because those who endure such abuse are marginalised communities of farm workers and labourers,” said Fr Ajay Kumar Singh, an activist.