Although the people of Gobindpur village in Jagatsinghpur district of Odisha continued their agitation demanding the withdrawal of police from their area, Posco on Friday expressed the hope to get the required land for the first stage of the steel plant soon and start land preparation work.

“Posco India is very keen on this integrated steel project and welcomes the recent initiative undertaken by the administration to clear the required land for the project with the consent of the village people concerned,” the company said in a press release.

“With the current phase of land clearance by the authorities progressing peacefully with the consent of the villagers, we understand it will take some days for the completion of the clearance of the required land,” said Posco India Chairman and Managing Director Yong Won Yoon, in spite of the fact that the government had halted the land acquisition work since Wednesday.

In another development, social activist Swami Agnivesh criticised the Naveen Patnaik government for the police action against the villagers who came out to oppose land acquisition at the break of dawn on February 3.

The government had no right to use force for acquiring land as it was undemocratic and illegal, he said, while addressing a meeting organised by Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti at Patna village near Gobindpur.

The indefinite hunger-strike by Sangram Samiti leader Abhay Sahu, demanding complete withdrawal of police force from the village, entered its fourth day on Friday.

Even though the administration had on Wednesday withdrawn police from the place where land acquisition had been carried out by destruction of betel vineyards, at least two platoons of police were camping at Gobindpur.

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