The Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation of Odisha (Idco), the land acquisition agency for the Posco's mega steel plant near Paradip in Odisha, has asked the chairman cum managing director of Posco-India to deposit Rs 54.21 crore towards the cost of the forest land required for the first phase of the project.
Out of 2,750 acres required for the project's first phase comprising 8 million tonne steel capacity, 2,193 acres are forest land and 558 acres are revenue land.
Despite stiff resistance in Dhinkia panchayat, the epicentre of anti-Posco agitation, the Jagatsinghpur district administration has acquired forest land to the tune of 302 acres in Dhinkia village and 786 acres in Gobindpur under this panchayat. Besides, the administration has taken possession of 666 acres of forest land in Nuagaon, 52 acres in Bayanalkanda, 325 acres in Polang, 38 acres in Noliashai and 22 acres of forest land in Bhuiyanpal village.
A senior Idco official pointed out that the state-owned agency has received the lease of 2,193 acres of forest land from the district administration. "We have asked Posco to deposit Rs 54.21 crores towards the cost of this patch of land. Out of the amount, Idco will keep its 10 per cent share, ie, Rs 4.92 crore and pass on Rs 49.29 crore to the administration.
Though Idco had handed over 1,708 acres to Posco on paper, the lease process for this land was not completed.
Meanwhile, the district collector, Satya Kumar Mallick said, the lease process of 2,193 acres of forest land has been completed recently. "We have provided total 2,750 acres including 558 acres of revenue land to Idco, which will hand it over to Posco for start of first phase work of the receiving the requisite dues from the company.
The district administration proposes to acquire 3,556 acres of land to be handed over to Idco. After giving required 2,700 acres to Posco, Idco will keep the rest land for setting up ancillary industries.
Earlier, Idco had given 10 acres to the company for building a transit colony at Badagabapur and another 10 acres at Bosecallius point for construction of coastal road.
After the recent revalidation of environment clearance of the project by Union Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF), the district administration and Idco officials have geared up activities relating to hand over of land to Posco, resumption of construction work of boundary wall, disbursement of subsistence allowance to betel vine labourers, preparation of agenda for the meeting of RPDAC (Rehabilitation and Peripheral Development Advisory Committee) to finalise the compensation package for the project affected people.
Mallick said, the administration is trying to convince the local villagers, who have some grievances against the project, to facilitate the project work. "We have suggested Posco to recruit 150 youths from among the project affected people. By the direction of Revenue Divisional Commissioner, Central Range, we are also preparing the agenda for the RPDAC meeting to resolve various issues of the affected people. We expect the RPDAC meeting may be held by the end of this month."