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Posco to offer jobs for landless villagers

August 18, 2009 14:42 IST
In a bid to win over angry villagers at the proposed plant site area near Orissa's Paradip, Posco-India plans alternative engagement for landless people of the area, company sources said.

Posco-India which proposed to set up a 12mtpa mega steel mill near Paradip at an investment of Rs 51,000 crore (Rs 510 billion), listed its plan to the district administration of Jagatsinghpur during a meeting last week, they said.

"We are making serious discussions at different levels - the government officials, people and others", said Posco-India general manager Saroj Mohapatra.

"We assure you that not a single person from the three-gram panchayat areas will remain unemployed after the company begins its physical constuction," another senior manager told PTI adding that the company was not against giving special attention to the people, both to be affected due to the project and those not losing any land.

The company which signed an MoU with the state government on June 22, 2005, had so far failed to acquire an inch of land due to stiff opposition from the local people even as it required as many as 4004 acres for the Greenfield project.

"Posco-India project needed some more time for beginning construction work", Orissa's Steel and Mines minister Raghunath Mohanty said adding that efforts were on to convince people of the benefit of the project.

Indicating its alternative engagement policy, the senior manager said that the company was planning construction of a 10-km long marine road from Dhikia to Paradip.

"Besides saving the local people from tidal wave, the proposed road will provide jobs to hundreds of people and easy conectivity to the port town of Paradip", he said adding that several villages in Jagatsinghpur district were swept away by tidal wave killing hundreds in the super-cyclone which hit the area in 1999.

The road was also considered as an important communication link for transportation of raw materials to the proposed 12 mtpa steel plant.

Admitting that a section of the villagers at the proposed plant site was still opposed to the project, the manager claimed that efforts were on to win over the people as the company was genuinely out to help them.

Different teams of Posco-India officials were making rounds in the area to convince the people that the project was not against them, sources said adding that it had been easy for the company to enter the area after arrest of some key leaders of the CPI backed Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS).

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