The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Jan. date for talks with Posco victims

Bhubaneswar, Nov. 20: Negotiations with displaced villagers likely to be affected by the proposed 12 MTPA mega steel plant of the south Korean steel major Posco near Paradip port will begin in the first week of January.

Steel & mines minister of state Padmanabha Behera announced this in response to a series of written questions asked by various members in the Assembly today.

Adding that the land acquisition process for the Posco project has started, the minister said notifications were being issued under Section 6 (I) of the Orissa Land Acquisition Act since October 17 for acquisition of 437.68 acres of private land identified for the steel plant.

There have been proposals to take up village-wise negotiations in the first week of January with people affected by the project, said Behera adding that the necessary notification in this regard would be issued soon.

Of the total 4,004.24 acres identified for the project, 437.68 acre belong to private individuals.

However, the administration has failed to acquire a single inch of private land due to sustained resistance by inhabitants of three gram panchayats in Jagatsinghpur district.

Not only has there been delay in acquisition of private land, the administration has failed to acquire government land as 2,951.56 acres were shown as forestland in official records.

Meanwhile, the Posco authorities have announced start of production from April 2008 and chief minister Naveen Patnaik has assured adequate security for this purpose.

The state government has approved the lease for 505 acres of government non-forest land identified for the Posco project. Of it, 203 acres have already been handed over to the company, said Behera.

The other major roadblock for the project has been the delay in grant of iron ore mines lease.

Though the state had recommended to the Centre on December 19 for grant of iron ore mines located in Khandadhar area of Sundargarh district (spread over 6,204.352 hectares), the latter had returned the proposal on July 16 with certain objections.

The Centre has asked to dispose the applications of all the aspirants for the iron ore reserve and the hearing has already started.

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