Paradip, June 23 (LocalWire): The state government is all set to expedite the proposed JSW steel project on Posco land.
On Saturday, additional secretary of agriculture, Sangram Keshari Mohapatra, was appointed as the new Collector of Jagatsinghpur, and is all set to essay a key role in the project.
The newly-appointed Collector was the manager of IDCO and was instrumental in trying to expedite the land acquisition of Posco steel project.
Mohapatra belongs to Sankheswer village under Tirtol police limit and the locals expressed their happiness as they believe the son of the soil will resolve their issues.
Posco, a South Korean firm, had entered into a pact with the state government in June 2005 for setting up a 12 million tonne per annum (mtpa) steel plant in Paradip.
After signing the MoU, it faced land acquisition woes as the locals were unwilling to vacate their land.
Despite stiff resistance, the district administration led by Satya Kumar Mallick, who was posted as the Collector then, had completed the land acquisition process for Posco steel project in 2013 and acquired 2700 acres of land.
Other than Collector Mallick and Sangram Keshari Mohapatra, the deputy general manager of Posco Company SN Singh and other district and revenue officials had also played key roles to acquire land for Posco steel project.
After twelve years, Posco officially withdrew from the project in 2017 due to stiff resistance and delay in the process of land acquisition.
It was decided that they would return the land to the state government by not paying Rs 82 crores towards cess.
Later, the state government declared that it will hand over the 2700 acres of land meant for the Posco project to JSW Steel Limited for its proposed steel plant in 2018.
The government is now all set to expedite the proposed JSW steel plant by taking in the same team that played a major role to complete land acquisition process for Posco steel project.
Posco’s former DGM, Singh, has already joined JSW while former Collector Mallick and former tehsildar of Kujang, Basudev Pradhan, have also joined JSW group to oversee the land acquisition process.
One pro-industry outfit leader, Niravya Samantray said, ‘Nothing has been announced about the ongoing work of JSW steel plant on Posco land but JSW officials have already started environmental survey work, soil testing and other preliminary work since the past few months.
The decision of the state government to appoint Mohapatra as Collector of this district will certainly expedite the JSW steel plant work because he is a good administrator and has lot of experience on Posco steel plant work.’
Last Sunday, villagers under the banner of Nabeghar Forest Committee and Balishai Forest Committee led by Ajit Prasad Rout, had conducted a meeting in Nuagaon village with JSW officials, including manager (HR) Subash Chandra Pani, deputy manager (project) Bibhuprad Nanda and other JSW employees who agreed and signed on written agreement not to start any survey or other work of the proposed steel plant without the permission of the villagers.