Bhubaneswar, March 3: Odisha Sunday resumed the process of land takeover for South Korean giant Posco’s $12 billion steel project in Jagatsinghpur district despite tension, a day after three protestors were killed in crude bomb blasts.
The officials accompanied by hundreds of policemen carried out the land takeover work in Gobindpur village and demolished the betel vines of at least three people after paying the land holders compensation of Rs.14 lakh, a district administrative official told IANS.
“There was no protest at the site. The lands were acquired peacefully,” he said.
Posco’s proposed 12 million tonnes per annum steel plant, the largest foreign investment in India, is to come up near the port town of Paradip, about 120 km from here.
The local administration claimed that it acquired about 2,000 acres of land in the region in 2011 and about 200 acres in February. It needs to acquire another 500 acres, mostly in Gobindpur area, for the project.
At least three anti-Posco activists were killed and another critically injured in explosions Saturday.
The people were in Patna village close to Gobindpur. The activists alleged that it was an attack by the project’s supporters but the police claimed it was accidental. Patna is considered an anti-Posco bastion.
“Circumstantial evidence suggests that the three deceased were probably making the bombs which exploded,” Superintendent of Police Satyabrata Bhoi told IANS. More than 300 policemen have been deployed in the region to prevent any untoward incidents, he added.
However, Prashant Paikray, spokesman of the Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti, which has been spearheading the agitation against Posco’s project in the area, said the three people were killed after some supporters of the project hurled crude bombs at them.
“The government has been trying to acquire the lands forcibly,” he alleged.