PARADIP: The ground-breaking ceremony for construction of a boundary wall on the land acquired for Posco steel project was held at Nuagaon panchayat on Wednesday. This, however, has not gone down well with the villagers of Dhinkia, Nuagaon and Gadakujang panchayats, who have decided to renew their agitation over any kind of construction on the land.
Workers of Balaji Construction Engineering Ltd that roped in by Odisha Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (IDCO) to carry out the work conducted the ground-breaking ceremony. They said construction of boundary wall on the land acquired Posco project had become necessary to prevent encroachment. Construction of the boundary wall would begin on Thursday.
Villagers of the three panchayats, who had given up their land for the steel project, said they will not allow construction of the boundary wall unless their demands of rehabilitation, employment and compensation are fulfilled.
Pro-Posco leader Nirvay Samantray, who was the secretary of United Action Committee (UAC), said although pro-Posco villagers gave up their land for the project their demands were never fulfilled. They had demanded employment for one member of every affected family, provision of restoration of traditional livelihood like betel cultivation and fishing, 30 per cent increase in compensation for betel crop and giving work contracts to local youths, increase in land prices from Rs 17 lakh to Rs 25 lakh per acre and education facilities for children of displaced families.
Posco had announced to pay Rs 17 lakh per acre of agricultural land while the price of area under betel vine was fixed at Rs 11.5 lakh per acre and to offer monthly allowance of `2,250 for betel vine labourers, job to one member of every displaced family and several other benefits following Rehabilitation and Peripheral Development Advisory Committee (RPDAC) meeting in 2010.However, as Posco withdrew its steel project from Odisha, none of the pro-industry villagers could get the benefits.
Panchayat samiti member of Dhinkia Debendra Swain said construction of any kind on the land acquired for steel project will not be allowed till the affected villagers get all the benefits announced in the 2010 meeting.