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Posco move to reduce project oustees

Published by MAC on 2005-10-28

Posco move to reduce project oustees

Dillip Satapathy, Business Standard

October 28, 2005

Bhubaneswar - In a move aimed at keeping the number of oustees on account of its mega steel plant at Paradip to the minimum, Korean steel giant Pohang Iron & Steel Co.

(Posco) has decided to redraw the project site map by keeping certain thickly populated villages out of the plant boundary. 'Our target is to keep the human displacement within 1000 to 1200 people ie 200 to 300 families', said Ryu Ho Chan, team leader, Posco India project. This is considerably lower than the original calculaton that about 4000 families or 20,000 people will be displaced by the project. Posco proposes to set up its plant in an area of over 4000 acres of land near Paradip. It also needs another 1500 acres to construct the township. The area originally demarcated for the project encompassed a number of thickly populated villages.

In order to mollify opposition to the project by locals on grounds of displacement, the company had decided to redraw the site map excluding certain villages to reduce the population of the project displaced. "We have undertaken fresh survey work using satellite images. There were some thickly populated villages within the original site map. However, our aim is to avoid densely populated areas to keep displacement minimum", Ryu observed. Villages threatened by the project including Gobindpur, Dhinkia and Nuagaon had maximum population and in the reworked site map some of these villages will not be affected. Displacement has emerged as a major cause of concern for the company, as it is aware of precedents where several mega projects in the state have been stalled due to Protests against displacement. Some of the projects either have been completely shelved or are still hanging fire due to such local agitation include the mega steel project of the Tata Steel at Gopalpur and the Rs 4000 crore alumina refinery of Indal at Kashipur in Koraput district, both conceived in the '90s.

Meanwhile, sources said that Posco intends to formally submit its application for alienation of land soon. The company has submitted its application for mine prospecting license last month. It has sought allocation of Thakurani and Khandadhara mines in Keonjhar district. The state government is committed to allot mines with 600 million tonne iron ore deposit to the company in the MoU signed earlier this year.

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