POSCO looms over Republic Day

Will diplomacy determine steel plants future?

By Ashutosh Mishra
Published: Tuesday 15 December 2009

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak orissa is hurrying up clearances for the posco steel plant in Jagatsinghpur district in view of South Korean president Lee Myung-baks expected visit in January. He will be the guest of honour at the Republic Day celebrations in Delhi. During his stay, he is likely to visit the site where the South Korean firm proposes to build its 12 million tonne capacity steel plant. The project has been delayed by three years due to farmers protests.

The administration has called a meeting of all parties concerned. We hope to convene the Rehabilitation and Periphery Development Advisory Committee (rpdac) in early December and expect a positive outcome, said Jagatsinghpur collector, Gyan Ranjan Das. The rpdac will comprise government officials, posco officials and farmers representatives.posco hopes to start ground levelling work by January.

Government sources said the company is likely to offer enhanced compensation package to farmers. Villagers living in three panchayatsGadkujang, Nugaon and Dhinkiastand to lose over 1,600 hectares to the steel plant. The meeting would provide the locals a platform to air their demands, said state steel and mines minister, Raghunath Mohanty.

Villagers united under posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (ppss) said they would hold a protestmarch against the plant from November 29. It will start from Paradip and end in Puri.

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