Bhubaneswar, Nov 5 (LocalWire): Opposing the government’s move to facilitate transfer of land acquired for Posco steel project to another steelmaker, the civil society groups in the state have warned of re-launch of anti-land acquisition movement if farmers’ land is transferred for industrial use.
The government is intent on transferring land to another steel company, Jindal Steel Works.
The move would be counter-productive and the government would face the consequence.
The land belonged to the people and under no circumstance are they going to allow any industrial house to use it.
The resistance movement would begin afresh with renewed vigour, warned a group of 30 civil society group activists.
The big-ticket Posco Steel Project, touted as the largest foreign direct investment in the country, had earlier withdrawn from the project following intense resistance from landowners in Dhinkia, Gagakujang and Nuagaon villages of Jagatsinghpur district.
Posco had signed an agreement with the state government in June, 2005, seeking 4,004 acres of land to set up the project.
The land acquisition was inordinately delayed due to agitation by the locals, which often took a violent turn.
The government had managed to acquire 2,700 acres of land for the project amid alleged use of force for land acquisition.
With the South Korean steelmaker withdrawing from the project, the government has carved out a land bank for safe custody of the acquired land, said officials.
The land acquired for suspended Posco steel project has now been preserved in the land bank under the supervision of Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (IDCO).
‘The land will be used for industrial purpose.
The erstwhile landowners have no right over the land as they were paid due compensation against the acquired land.
The decision regarding the transfer of the land will be taken by the government in accordance with the policy decision,’ said Jagatsinghpur Collector Sangram Mohapatra.
‘The government’s move to transfer the Posco land to new industrial house is infringement of law.
The Odisha government must follow the Supreme Court’s decision on the pattern of Singur where farmers land acquired by Tata’s Nano plant was returned to them.
Posco had backed away from the project as the steel company realised that setting up the plant amid protests would be detrimental to the company’s business interest,’ said activists Mahindra Parida, Suresh Panigrahy, Sivaram and others in a memorandum to the State government.
The land forcibly acquired by IDCO should have rightfully been handed over to the locals as per the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act (LARR) of 2013, which mandates that land acquired but not utilized within five years of the possession should be returned to the people, they said.
The land acquisition process for Posco steel project had come to an end in 2013.
As six years have gone by, the land should be returned to the people as it was not utilized for the desired purpose, they concluded.