Fresh efforts by officials to persuade villagers to allow resumption of work at the proposed Posco plant site near here failed, paralysing project related activities for the seventh day on Monday.

Discussions were held with residents of Nuagaon in a bid to persuade them to give up their protest against tree felling, ground levelling and other works, Additional District Magistrate (Paradip), Surjit Das said.

Three officials of Jagatsinghpur district administration, including Das, tried to convince activists of the Bhitamati Suraksha Manch (BSM).

Though some of the villagers claimed that they had forcibly detained the officials for about an hour after two of them tried to move into interior areas, the ADM said they were with the locals as long as the discussions continued.

Police also said it had no information about detention of the officials by the protesters.

The proposed Posco site had witnessed noisy scenes two days ago when activists of Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS) chased a group of people who had been to an area under Dhinkia panchayat for construction of a coastal road.

The proposed coastal road is planned to be laid from the Paradip Oil Refinery to Posco area, the foundation for which was laid on August 19.

Besides protests at Gobindpur and Nuagaon, people at Gadakujanga including women and children have been working in the proposed project site under the banner of Kunjabehary Anchalik Surakshya Samiti (KASS) since August 16.

Gadakujanga is one of the three routes to Posco site from Balitutha junction. The other routes through Gobindpur and Nuagaon remained blocked by PPSS and United Action Committee (UAC), a pro-industry outfit.

The district administration along with police force and a magistrate had gone to Gadakujanga on August 20 to convince the protesters to lift the agitation as all works including tree felling, ground levelling and removal of betel vines remained suspended since August 16.

“Work at Posco site will be resumed only after convincing the people,” the ADM said.