The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Hunt on for back-up in Posco plan
- Steel major to decide action after meeting q named FIR in hostage case

Bhubaneswar, May 13: A day has passed since Posco offered to “give up” all attempts to acquire land from Dhinkia, but the global firm is yet to come up with a back-up plan on how to acquire alternative land.

While talking to The Telegraph, Posco spokesperson Sashank Pattnaik said, a meeting would be conducted tomorrow to “discuss the idea”.

“Any decision is likely to be announced after that,” he said, adding that any change of plan is unlikely to affect the project schedule. “Construction in the particular area in question would begin from Phase-III, which would happen at a much later stage. We hope matters would sort out by then.”

As for now Pattnaik has not defined “later”.

Posco-India’s website lists Phase-III’s timetable to be “within three years of completion of Phase-II.” Again, Phase-II would be completed within three years of Phase-I.

While actual work is yet to begin, the website states that it will start from January 2007 and continue till December 2010.

“We have paid for 1,135 acres of government land. The sanction process is underway and they should hand over the land soon,” Patnaik said.

A district administration official also stressed that Posco is yet to make any “formal” request for alternatives. “No formal request has been made. But adequate government land is available in the contiguous area,” he said.

If Posco chooses to give up the private land in Dhinkia village, it would have to acquire another 400 acres in the contiguous area.

Even after yesterday’s agitation and hostage situation, Posco officials are not sure if they wish to file an FIR. Agitators belonging to Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS), the outfit spearheading the anti-Posco agitation, had taken three officials hostage.

Meanwhile, the driver of the car, which was hired by the abducted officials, filed an FIR at Kujang police station yesterday. He named the president of PPSS, Abhay Sahu, as the prime accused.

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