POSCO site boils again as police resorted to lathi-charge

By Our Correspondent

GOVINDPUR/PARADIP/BHUBANESWAR: Tension on Sunday morning prevailed at Govindpur, Nuagaon, Gadakujanga areas of Odisha’s Jagatsinghpur distract, where, the South Korean steel major POSCO is coming up with its Rs 52,000 mega project.

Sources said, angry villagers protested the demolition of betel vines forcing the security men to lathi charge. Several have been injured in the morning flare up.

The officials engaged in demolition and land acquisition also allegedly felled some trees near the area aggravating the situation.

In order to disperse the agitators, police allegedly resorted to lathicharge in which 5 to 6 women were injured, villagers said.

Apprehending further tension, 12 platoons of police forces have been deployed at the site. The Collector and Superintendent of Police reached the spot and monitored the situation.

Earlier, the anti-Posco activists under the banner of Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti had prevented the government officials in entering the area by making human chain.

A anti-Posco activists alleged that police forcibly attacking local villagers for the company. “We will fight it out,” he added.

Recently, Union Commerce Minister Anada Sharma had assured a Korean delegation to extend help for the mega project..In June, 2005, POSCO had announced to set up a 12 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) steel plant.

“Phase I is expected to conclude in 2016-17. Phase II will be completed three years after completion of Phase I and Phase III will be commissioned within three years after Phase II,”.Of this, first phase is estimated to cost USD 3.7 billion (Rs 16,650 crore).

For 12 MTPA steel plant, POSCO required 4,004 acres of the land. However, after the state government expressed its inability last year to transfer the entire land in one go, the company decided to scale down the plant size to 8 MTPA initially and now needs about 2,700 acres of land.

The Odisha government is believed to have acquired 2,100 acres of land so far for the project.On March 30, 2012, the National Green Tribunal had suspended the green clearance granted on January 31, 2011, to the much-awaited project on not seeking clearance for the entire project.The company requires 20 MTPA iron ore for annual steel production of 12 million tonnes over 30 years.