MAC: Mines and Communities

Posco open to compromise; may skip Dhinkia

Published by MAC on 2007-05-15

Posco open to compromise; may skip Dhinkia

Ishita Ayan Dutt / Kolkata, Business Standard

15th May 2007

Posco India is open to realigning its project area and one of the options could be to the south of the site. A Posco spokesman told Business Standard that if the Orissa government came up with a proposal, the company would consider slight realignment. The realignment would entail skipping the 200-acre Dhinkia gram panchayat. Dhinkia is to the north of the project site. According to the spokesman, there was land available to the south of the site, but it was a low-lying one.

If the realignment happened then it would be the second time that the South Korean steel major would be altering its plant area. Of the 438 acres of total private land to be acquired for the project, the most aggressive pocket happens to be Dhinkia gram panchayat involving 266 families whose main livelihood is betel vine cultivation. The 200 acres were required for the third phase of the 12 million tonne project. The Rs 52,000 crore 12 million tonne plant would be built in three phases of 4 million tonne each.

The spokesperson said the 200 acres would not affect the first and the second phases and the company was hoping that once activity starts, people would accept the project. The company has also offered land for land. "We have said that we will find alternative land for betel cultivation if necessary, but the villagers don;t want to talk."

In fact, the formal socio economic surveyis also not complete. Posco last year awarded the project to Tata Instituteof Social Sciences (TISS), but they have not been able to complete due to blockade.

Posco has already scaled down its land requirement for the project. Earlier the company had asked for 5,000 acres, which would have displaced 2,000 families and then later brought it down to 4,004 acres, affecting around 500 families. Of the 4,004 acres, 3,566 acres were government land and 438 acres private land. The private land covers three gram panchayats, Gada Kujanga, Muagaon and Dhinkia. Dhinkia is the largest tract covering 200 acres and according to sources has a significant communist peasant population.

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