| Government officials hold discussion with protesting villagers at Gadakujang on Friday. Telegraph picture |
Paradip, July 22: Jagatsinghpur district administration today successfully brokered out peace with protesting villagers and put an end to the week-long stalemate over the proposed Posco plant’s project related work.
However, the process of disbursal of compensation to land-losers and implementation of land acquisition and rehabilitation in the area has come under the scanner of accountant general’s audit squad.
The audit squad verified relevant documents, vouchers, payment slips and modes of contingency expenditure incurred for land acquisition and project-related works.
“It was a routine audit inspection. We are in possession of records to corroborate the proper implementation of rehabilitation and compensation package,” said special land acquisition officer Nrusingha Charan Swain.
While there are reports of the audit squad being attacked by a group of anti-socials near Balitutha-Gadakujang Road, there was no official confirmation of the alleged assault.
“The three-member audit team interacted with land-losers and recipients of compensation. The team went through the official records. No discrepancy was detected,” said Kujang tehsildar Vasudev Behera.
Decks have now been cleared for resumption of the much-delayed steel project work. The administration has resolved to resume the work either tomorrow or the day after with the talks held with the villagers turning out to be fruitful.
“We talked to the people and held discussion with different groups at various locations. Though they persisted with the fulfilment of their six-point demand for compensation and rehabilitation package, we convinced them of the government’s committed resolve to fulfil the demands next month. People who were earlier opposing the project work relented and agreed for resumption of work,” said additional district magistrate Saroj Kanta Choudhury.
Villagers had opposed the project work and stopped the officials from going ahead with the work on Friday. Police had to use force on a section of protesters. The alleged police excesses mostly on women agitators had led to the escalation of protest forcing the administration to suspend the project-related and land acquisition work. The standoff was continuing since then.