A day after the Centre gave the final forest clearance to the South Korean steel giant Posco's project, Orissa government today said it would soon resume land acquisition at the proposed plant site near Paradip.
"We will soon resume land acquistion at the proposed plant site villages.
The land acquisition work will start in a peaceful manner," Steel and Mines Minister Raghunath Mohanty told reporters adding the land acquisition work had been halted for nine months due to a 'stop work' order from the Ministry of Environment and Forest.
MoEF on August 6, 2010, issued a 'stop work' order at the proposed plant site areas after accepting a recommendation of the N C Saxena Committee which pointed out 'gross violation' of Forest Rights Act, 2006.
Now that the MoEF had given the clearance for diversion of 1253 hecatres (2900 acres) of forest land, there should be no problem for re-starting the land acquistion work, said IDCO (Orissa Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation) chairman Priyabrat
Of the 4,004 acres of land required for the Rs 52,000 crore (Rs 520 billion) mega steel project, 2900 acres were forest land.
"We have already started consultation with the Jagatsinghpur district collector to resume land acquisition," chief secretary B K Patnaik said.
The government had already freed about 400 acres of land in illegal posession of villagers before the stop work order was issued in August, the IDCO chairman said adding Rs 1,36,21,000 were given as compensation to betel vine growers at the proposed plant site area.
Though the South Korean steel major had not taken an inch of land in its posession, the state government had already transferred 585 acres of government land in the name of the Posco project, he said.