Medha Patkar accuses Orissa govt for acquiring land for POSCO steel plant

December 12th, 2007 - 4:45 pm ICT by admin  

Jagatsinghpur/Nuagaon/Bhubaneshwar (Orissa), Dec 12 (ANI): Social activist Medha Patkar, who led a protest rally here, has accused the State Government of forcibly acquiring land for the 12 billion dollar steel plant planned by South Korean steel maker POSCO.
Patkar, on her way to Nuagaon village to meet anti-POSCO activists sitting on a hunger strike, was shown placards by the pro-POSCO activists, who wanted Patkar to go back.
However, a determined Patkar went ahead and entered Nuagaon village and met the anti-POSCO activists.
We expect that Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik will not forcibly implement the project with the help of police or goons. If he wanted to discuss the issue with people, he could have met the protestors sitting on the hunger strike,” said Patkar.
Meanwhile, Naveen Patnaik said Patkar should not to overlook the benefits that the project would bring to the state.
“Medha Patkar has often been to Orissa. She should remember the amount of jobs and the amount of revenue that big plants will bring to the poor state like Orissa,” said Patnaik.
There have been sporadic protests in the state both in favour and against the project, which would displace 500 families.
POSCO said last month it had not been able to secure enough land for the project.
The company requires 4,000 acres but has managed to get only one-third of it (1,135 acres) with village groups putting up barricades and refusing to vacate their land.
POSCO, world’s fourth largest steel maker, had signed a deal in June 2005 to set up a four-tranche 12 billion dollar steel project in India, marking what was billed the biggest Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the country.
The company had announced it would start steel production in its plants in India by 2010.
The Orissa Government has granted POSCO mining lease rights for 30 years to supply a total of 600 million tonnes of iron ore to the new plant. The mining lease has been given in phases, depending on the progress of the plant.
The project also includes a dedicated port and power plant, iron mines, a hot-rolled coil mill and possible help to build railway lines between the mines and the plant. (ANI)

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