Special Correspondent

BHUBANESWAR: The Naveen Patnaik government on Thursday proposed to exclude about 300 acres of private land from the site earmarked for the proposed steel plant project of Posco-India in Orissa's Jagatsinghpur district, and to initiate dialogue with the villagers opposing the project.

The proposal to exclude the land — which falls under the Dhinkia gram panchayat — was made by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik at a meeting of the Member of Parliament and legislators from Jagatsinghpur, according to sources.

Mr. Patnaik said the dialogue with agitating villagers would be held at the level of the Revenue Divisional Commissioner (Central Division), the sources added.

While the legislators who attended the meeting to discuss the Posco issue belonged to the ruling Biju Janata Dal, the Lok Sabha member from the Jagatsinghpur seat who took part belonged to the Communist Party of India, which is backing the Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti.

A CPI leader said his party would clarify its stand on Mr. Patnaik's proposal on Friday, adding that it was aimed at weakening the democratic agitation of the people and facilitate the implementation of the steel project.