Tension prevailed in Dhinkia of Odisha’s Jagatsinghpur district early on Sunday morning as number of senior officials of the district administration and police entered the locality to demolish betel vines for acquiring land for the proposed steel mill of Posco India Private Limited.

The administration officials, accompanied by about 15 platoons of police, entered the area at around 4 a.m. to demolish the betel vines in Gobindpur village under Dhinkia gram panchayat.

The police had allegedly lathi-charged the women members of the village who were in the forefront to prevent the entry of police and administration officials into their area.

Many villagers were also taken into custody, but the exact number of persons arrested was not known immediately, said Prashant Paikray, spokesperson of the Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti, the organisation opposing land acquisition for Posco in the locality since 2005.

The administration had in the past acquired about 2,000 acres of land in the area, and fresh attempts were being made to acquire another 700 acres of land to fulfil the company's requirement of 2700 acres of land for establishment of an eight million tonne per annum capacity steel plant.

The agitating villagers had formed a human chain site at Batabelari on the border of Nuagaon and Gobindpur villages since January 14, following announcement by the administration that another 700 acres of land will be acquired for the steel plant project.

Mr. Paikray said that the administration and police entered the area in the early hours when the presence of the agitating villagers was thin at the dharna site.