A team of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), who ended its five-day long fact-finding visit to the state on Thursday, has raised objections about a private company buying land for Posco rehabilitation colony near the proposed plant site in Paradip.
“When the state government is acquiring land for the plant, why cannot it acquire land for the rehabilitation colony? This is a serious issue and the state government needs to take a closer look at this,” said Satyabrata Pal, member of the visiting NHRC team.
Posco had engaged a Bhubaneswar-based real estate firm, Sandhya Construction, to acquire about a hundred of acre of farm land outside the project area at throwaway prices. The land was sold by the villagers at Rs 1.80 lakh to Rs 2 lakh per acre in 2009 whereas the district administration has fixed the land rate for Posco project at Rs 17 lakh per acre.
“The Chief Secretary has agreed that a private party buying land for the rehabilitation project was wrong and said that the people should have got more compensation. We have asked the state government to send a report about it,” Pal said.
According to government estimates, about 417 families would be displaced if Posco establishes its 12 million tonne a year steel plant, out of which 206 families belonged to Gobindpur and Dhinkia village, where most anti-Posco people reside.
The NHRC members also raised the issue of 52 families of Dhinkia and Gobindpur village, who have been living in a transit camp after being ostracized from their villages by the anti-Posco brigade for supporting the steel project.
“Out of the 52 families, five families have returned to Gobindpur while 47 families are still living in the transit camp. I have asked the state government to take steps about their safe return, else the government must pay them the losses they suffered due to the migration,” he said. At present, the families staying in the transit camp are getting a paltry Rs 20 per day sustenance allowance from Posco.
The Chief Secretary of Odisha, B K Patnaik, who discussed with the NHRC members about various issues of human rights violation in the state, said, he will send detailed action taken reports within a couple of months.
“We have discussed with the NHRC members about 32 issues including problems in Posco area. We will send our reports to the commission within two to three months,” Patnaik said after the meeting.