Land acquisition for the South Korean steel major Posco's proposed steel plant near Paradip was completed on Thursday with the Odisha government demolishing 25 more betel vines at Gobindpur village, official sources said.
"We have acquired 2,700 acres of land for Posco's first phase of 8mtpa capacity steel mill. The local administration acquired 700 acres of land during this last
phase. The acquired land will be handed over to the state owned Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (IDCO) soon," said Jagatsinghpur district collector S K Mallick.
Admitting that there was opposition from a section of people during land acquisition, Mallick said that the government has distributed Rs 6.72 crore among the beneficiaries. A total of 488 betel vines were demolished and their land acquired from Gobindpur village during the last phase.
The land acquisition for Posco project was completed in five different phases spanning over two years, the district collector said rejecting allegation of use of force for the exercise. "We have acquired land from the people who agreed for it," he said.
The steel major which initially wanted 4,004 acres of land to set up a 12mtpa steel mill at an investment of Rs 52,000 crore, later changed its design in view of the stiff opposition and scaled down its requirement to only 2,700 acres of land to start construction of 8mtpa capacity steel plant on the first phase.
Responding to opposition of the residents of Dhinkia village, the state government announced that there would be no land acquisition from the particular village as the people were totally against the project.
Accordingly, the state government began land acquisition activities amidst stiff opposition from residents of the proposed plant site villagers.
Amidst violence, strike, agitation by children and semi-nude protest by women, the government had earlier acquired 2,000 acre of land and later completed the process today by taking possession of another 700 acre of land.
At least five persons have been killed in group clashes and many injured due to violence in Posco's proposed plant site, a senior police officer said.
Meanwhile, the authorities of IDCO have asked Posco-India to finalize its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) plans at the earliest and submit it before renewal of the MoU for the project.
Sources said the state government had already handed over 1703 acre of land to the steel major so far.
As the land acquisition activities have been completed, the state government wanted the company to scale up its peripheral development works in areas where the Greenfield project is coming up, they said.
The CSR Initiatives included periphery development work, setting up of rehabilitation colonies, building roads and bridges, erecting of protection wall, taking up massive plantation and other developmental activities.