‘Villagers to re-occupy land acquired for Posco project’

Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS), which is spearheading movement against acquisition of land for mega steel project by South Korean steel major POSCO in Odisha’s Jagatsinghpur district, said that villagers would re-occupy land acquired for the project.

“Land has been acquired for the steel project in pen and paper and some patches by use of force. But, villagers are determined to re-occupy land which had been enjoyed by them generation after generation,” said Prashant Paikray, spokesperson of PPSS, on Monday.

Mr. Paikray said as many as 32 cases had been registered in local police station on charges of re-occupying the ‘acquired’ land.

“We are backing people to take possession of the land which was claimed to be acquired by the State government for the company. Many villagers have started to construct betel vine yards,” he said.

Meanwhile, villagers of Dhinkia passed unanimous resolution in their Palli Sabha not to divert their forest land for non-forest purpose.

“We will try to convince villagers of all nearby habitations to pass similar resolution in the forthcoming Gram Sabha scheduled to be held next month,” he said.

The PPSS apprehended that the State government being backed by Narendra Modi government, which is widely seen as pro-corporate regime, would give a further push to the project that is yet to take off due to resistance by local people.

The organization is re-organising people to put up barricades at village entrance for prohibiting entry of State administration. The South Korean steel major had signed a memorandum of understanding with Odisha government in 2005 to set up 12 million tonne per annum capacity steel plant in Jagatsinghpur district. But during past nine years, the project has not moved beyond the process of land acquisition.

Recently, the State government had announced completion of acquisition of 2,700 acres of land for the first phase of steel project. But the administration had not been able to get physical possession over the land. Even, boundary wall around the acquired land could not be erected.

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