Land acquisition for the proposed Rs. 52,000-crore Posco Steel Plant in Odisha’s Jagatsinghpur district continued for the second day on Tuesday even as opponents of the project assembled in the vicinity for a showdown with the administration.
“Demolition of betel vines has almost reached the final stage and only 150 more vines will be demolished for which the people have given their consent. The process is continuing peacefully for the second day today,” district Collector SK Mallick said.
Three teams have been formed for the operation. While two teams are engaged to dismantle betel vines, another conducted a survey to identify trees which need to be removed as part of the land acquisition process, he said.
Agitated over the development, a large number of project opponents held a meeting near Patna village to protest against the government move.
“The collector says that demolition of betel vines has reached the final stage. We also want to say the district administration that our fight has since reached the final stage and we will do whatever is possible to oust Posco come what may”, said a leader of Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti, spearheading the agitation against the mega steel project.
He said womenfolk in the area would chase the police force from the area while male would prevent the betel vines and trees being felled.
Meanwhile, leaders of eight political parties are scheduled to visit the area to extend support to the project opponents.
District administration sources said, in view of the proposed visit of political party leaders, the land acquisition process had slowed down a bit on Tuesday with only four betel vines demolished since morning.
Security personnel in strength had been deployed in the area to prevent any trouble.