At least 11 persons were injured on Friday, in a lathicharge on villagers opposing land acquisition for the proposed steel project of Posco in Dhinkia area of Odisha’s Jagatsinghpur district.

The police resorted to lathi-charge when residents of Gobindpur village came out to prevent the administration from destroying their betel vineyards to acquire land for the project. Sixteen vineyards were pulled down in the land acquisition exercise that was resumed after two weeks.

Prashant Paikray, spokesperson, Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti, said the State government had resorted to forcible land acquisition.

“The betel vine owners were beaten up and their vineyards destroyed at gunpoint,” Mr. Paikray said. A goon also joined the police action and beat up one person, he alleged. The villagers, opposing establishment of the proposed steel mill, had observed Black Day on June 22.

The Naveen Patnaik government had on June 22, 2005 signed a memorandum of understanding with Posco for the steel project. The MoU that expired in June 2010 has not been renewed so far.