With land acquisition for the Rs. 52,000 Posco steel project in Odisha’s Jagatsinghpur district stalled since February 6 following protests, the administration has decided to keep it in abeyance ’temporarily’ with the police forces withdrawn.

“Land acquisition for the proposed project near will remain suspended for the time being,” District Collector S.K. Mallick said on Monday.

“Police forces deployed in the area have been pulled out,” he said.

“The stopping of land acquisition is only temporary and the process will resume soon,” Additional District Magistrate (Paradip), Surjit Das said.

Mr. Mallick said, two platoons (about 60 policemen) would, however, continue to camp at Mangalachak on the outskirts of Gobindpur to provide protection to villagers.

The police would remain following an appeal by residents of Gobindpur, particularly those who gave land for the project, as they feared attack by anti-Posco supporters, he said.

The 12 platoons of police (over 360 personnel) deployed at places like Balitutha, Kujanga and Badagabapur have been withdrawn.

“Police deployment at Mangalachak will continue to avert a possible law and order problem,” Jagatsinghpur Superintendent of Police, Satyabrat Bhoi said.