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Karnataka to look for alternative land for Posco

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The Karnataka government is actively considering the possibility of changing the location for a proposed steel plant of in north-central Gadag district; instead offer the South Korean major an alternative land elsewhere in the state. The move comes after the farmers of Halligudi village stiffly opposed plans to acquire their “fertile” land ahead of starting work on the project.

Posco, based at Pohang in the East Asian nation, had signed a memorandum of understanding with the government two years ago to set up a six-million-tonne per annum steel plant with a captive power plant at an investment of Rs 32,300 crore. The state has already sent a recommendation to the central government for allotment of captive iron ore mine to the 1968-founded multinational.

“We have been witnessing severe opposition from some sections of the land holders in Halligudi,” said Murugesh R Nirani, minister for large and medium industries. “A majority of the holders were keen to part with their land, we are not rushing to acquire it yet. We are calling the company officials for a discussion later this week and seek their opinion on changing the location,” he told Business Standard.

Last week, the minister had said that a majority of farmers of Halligudi were willing to part with their land for the proposed steel plant. His statement had kicked off a fresh row, with farmers’ groups raising their voice against the land acquisition once again. In July last year, the government had announced that it would not acquire fertile land. This was after it faced intense protest from the farmers and religious head of Tontadarya Mutt.

Nirani said the government’s wanted to set up one mega project in each of the districts in the state so as to generate large-scale employment.

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