Shift POSCO project to some other site:Congress

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Bhubaneswar, Nov 11 (UNI) Former Orissa Chief Minister and leader of opposition in Orissa Assembly J B Patnaik today asked Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to allot land in some other place for the setting up of the mega steel plant by South Korean steel major POSCO.

The senior Congress leader warned that the consequence would be serious if the government went ahead with its ''anti-people and anti-farmers'' decision to allot vast fertile land of the area for the steel plant violating the directives of the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court, he said, had recently ruled that fertile land could not be acquired for Special Economic Zones (SEZs) The state government had signed an MoU with POSCO for a 12 MTPA steel plant with an investment of Rs 51,000 crores, the largest FDI in the country.

Mr Patnaik said the government wanted to acquire 4000 acres of land in the Ersama block of the Jagatsinghpur district known for betel vines cultivation and pisciculture, besides paddy, for the plant.

The Congress leader opposed both the allotment of land in Ersama and supply of water from Zobra barrage to POSCO stating that not a drop of water from the barrage could be given to the company.

The Opposition leader said the farmers of Cuttack district largely depended on the barrage for irrigation and apprehended that if water was supplied to POSCO, thousands of acres of land in the Cuttack district would be deprived of irrigation during rabi crop.

Mr Patnaik described the government's decision as unjustified and faulty to acquire forest land for POSCO and in its lieu give land for the forest in some other places as totally illegal.

He said the land was reserved at the coast for the forest to protect the coast from erosion and cyclonic storm.

''If the land was allotted to POSCO it would bring disaster to the coastal area,'' he warned.

Instead of insisting on to provide land where the company wanted, the government should identify land in some other place at the earliest, the former Chief Minister said.


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