Report by Amarnath Parida; Paradip: The move of the Posco company and IDCO (Orissa Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation) officials to resume construction work of Posco project in next month without conducting Rehabilitation and Peripheral Development Advisory Committee (RPDAC) has evoked sharp reaction among Posco affected villagers.
The RPDAC meeting is crucial for finalization of the compensation package including long standing six chatters demands for the affected persons and expedites Posco related work on the 12 million tonne steel plant proposed to come up near Paradip. Uncertainty looms large over the holding of the meeting of the RPDAC for the Posco’s mega steel project due to difference onions of Posco Company & IDCO officials and civil administration.
The South Korean steel major has expected to get environmental clearance very soon from National Green Tribunal after recent visit of the expert committee of the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests to Posco site. Meanwhile, Posco Company and IDCO authority have planned their strategies to resume Posco related work from next month without finalization of demands of affected people through RPDAC.
One senior officer of Posco Company has expressed ‘normalcy has been restored in Posco site so there will be no problem to progress Posco related work to be resumed from next month. In first phase, company has planned to resume the construction work of boundary wall with cooperation of IDCO and district officials’. – He added.
The construction work of Posco project has been stalled from last December due to Posco violence by anti Posco activists for protesting Posco project and stir by pro Posco activists for non-fulfillment of their six chatters demands including to hike the compensation rate to land losers, job to one of each affected family, adoption of revised method for measurement of betel vines , to hike the compensation and maintenance allowance to betel vine workers , contract work to local people and other issues.
RDC Mr Padhee during his recent visit to Posco site had given assurance the affected villagers to conduct RPDAC meeting very shortly after stressing implementation of development work and taking note of the demands of the villagers.
The RPDAC meeting on the Posco project is important as it is expected to give an impetus to the conciliation process for finalization of the compensation package for the affected persons and develop the confidence of affected villagers on district officials including RDC and expedite Posco related work.
Now, RDC and district officials are in a spot how to convince the affected villagers to resume the Posco related work from next month without conducting RPDAC meeting because higher officials including the authority of IDCO have expressed their interest to resume Posco related work without RPDAC. It may be recalled, the former RDC Mr P.K.Mohapatra and two to three district collectors have been shifted from their post on Posco issue while they failed to compile with them.
When contacted, district collector Mr. Satya Kumar Mallick expressed ‘RPDAC which had conducted earlier year is still in force so there will be no problem to resume Posco related work. The construction work of boundary wall of Posco site may likely to start very soon. Packages will be given them later after finalization of their issues in RPDAC meeting.’- he added.
Meanwhile, the secretary, the United Action Committee (UAC), a pro Posco outfit Mr. Nirvaya Samantray and others have strongly criticized to resume the work without fulfilling their demands through RPDAC. Similarly, anti Posco leaders Mr. Sisir Mohapatra expressed their displeasure over the “half-hazard” environmental study by expert team by MOEF without interaction with affected villagers of Dhinkia.