Public hearing for JSW Steel's proposed plant at the site earlier selected for the Posco project, passed off peacefully here on Friday with the district administration of Jagatsinghpur assuring the people that their legitimate demands would be met.
Around 10,000 people from nearby villages participated at the hearing, held at Gadakujang, but the people who are likely to be affected by the proposed project, the residents of Dhinkia, Nuagaon and Noliasahi villages, boycotted the public hearing.
More than 300 people placed their views on the impact of the proposed mega project on the environment.
"The public hearing was absolutely peaceful and many people were allowed to give their opinion on the proposed project," Jagatsinghpur district collector Sangram Keshari Mohapatra told reporters.
"The district administration is aware about the people's grievances and steps will be taken to protect interest of the locals," Mohapatra said.
Odisha State Pollution Control Board's regional officer Ramesh Chandra Ekka and JSW officials were also present in the public hearing.
The district administration had deployed 25 platoons (one platoon comprises 30 personnel) of the police force, keeping in view the prevailing resentment among the locals.
South Korean steel major Posco had to abandon its Rs 52,000 crore project at the same site due to stiff opposition of the local people.
However, the situation for JSW's project appears to have changed as the former secretary of Posco Prarodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS), Sisir Mohapatra, has welcomed the project and demanded an ideal rehabilitation and resettlement package for the affected people.
PPSS was the local body of farmers which was opposing the South Korean steel major's project tooth and nail.
All the participants spoke of employment, rehabilitation and impact of pollution on the local community.
All of them demanded that jobs should be provided to the people who would be affected by the project. In addition, they should be adequately compensated.
Meanwhile, the state government has handed over 2,700 acre of land to JSW. The land was acquired earlier for the Posco project.
Apart from setting up a steel plant, the Jindal Steel Works Limited has also proposed to set up a cement plant, a power plant and a minor port in Jagatsinghpur district at an investment of Rs 71,000 crore.