Land acquisition for Posco's mega steel plant was disrupted on Friday when a group of villagers, who had earlier backed the Rs 52,000-crore project, staged a sit-in at the proposed site.
With villagers showing reluctance to come forward to hand over land, teams engaged by the administration of Jagatsinghpur district for land acquisition conducted measurement of betel vines, fish ponds and plantations.
"We want people to hand over land voluntarily. No force will be used in acquiring land for Posco project, which was resumed on May 18 after a gap of nine months," said Additional District Magistrate (Paradip) Saroj Choudhury.
The land acquisition teams visited Polanga and Bayanala in Gada Kujanga panchayat area and carried out measurement of different sites including betel vines, he said, adding if anybody volunteers to part with his land, compensation would be paid.
Activists of the United Action Committee, who earlier backed the mega project, staged a dharna at Gada Kujanga opposition land acquisition drive, a day after about 30 of their members were arrested for trying to disrupt the acquisition process yesterday and later released.
UAC president Anadi Rout said though their outfit supported the project, it would oppose the land acquisition work till our demands are fulfilled.
He said the dharna by UAC activists would continue till May 30 when the revenue divisional commissioner has convened a meeting to discuss the demands.
"We have been successful in acquiring 16 betel vines till yesterday. The work will continue," a senior revenue official said.
There has been no untoward incident in any part of the proposed Posco project site during land acquisition work, according to Jagatsinghpur District Superintendent of Police S Devadutta Singh.
Over 700 police personnel have been deployed in Balitutha, Gobindpur, Gada Kujanga, Nuagaon and other areas in order to ensure smooth land acquisition work and prevent any untoward incident in view of threat by anti-Posco activists and outfits to oppose the process, police said.
Though activists of the Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti blocked the road to Dhinkia and Gobindpur and supporters of Bhitamati Suraksha Manch (BMSM) staged blockade near Nuagaon, the situation was peaceful, they said.