The barriers erected by villagers to cordon off South Korean steel major Posco’s proposed steel plant in Orissa’s Jagatsinghpur district have been removed, paving the way for site preparatory activities to resume on the much-delayed Rs. 52,000 crore project.

Work at the project site resumed after a gap of 25 days yesterday after locals removed two bamboo gates erected by them at Gadakujang and Nuagaon following talks with state government officials, Additional District Magistrate Surjeet Das said.

It was agreed during the talks between district officials and villagers that work like tree felling and construction of boundary walls and rehabilitation colonies would continue, Kujang Tehsildar Basudeb Pradhan said.

However, the villagers underlined that though they have removed the two gates to facilitate work at the proposed project site, nobody from the police, company and government would be allowed to enter into the area.

During talks, both sides agreed to make efforts for arriving at a settlement on the six demands of the villagers, including enhanced compensation to land losers, sources said.

Seven people that were arrested on Friday for obstructing government servants from performing their duties were released following the discussions, they said.

Work at the proposed plant site remained suspended today, being Sunday.

The administration had re-commenced tree felling and forest clearance work at Mathasahi, in the Nuagaon gram panchayat, yesterday. The work has been suspended since August 15 due to the blockade, besides government holidays and other engagements, sources said.