Posco plans alternative employment for landless villagers

Posco plans alternative employment for landless villagers

Bhubaneswar: South Korean steel-maker Posco (India) is planning alternative employment for people who will be displaced by its upcoming Rs51,000 crore project near Paradip in Orissa, company sources said.

Posco (India), which proposes to set up a 12 million tonne per annum mega steel mill near Paradip at an investment of Rs51,000 crore, gave its plan to the district administration of Jagatsinghpur during a meeting last week, they said.

“We are having serious discussions at different levels — government officials, people and others," Posco (India) general manager Saroj Mohapatra said.

“We assure you that not a single person from the three gram panchayat areas will remain unemployed after the company begins physical construction," another senior managersaid, adding that the company is not against giving special attention to the people, both affected and unaffected.

The company, which signed an MoU with the state government on 22 June 2005, has so far failed to acquire an inch of land due to stiff opposition from the local people even as it requires 4,004 acres for the greenfield project.

“The project needs some more time for beginning construction work," Orissa steel and mines minister Raghunath Mohanty said, adding that efforts are on to convince people of the benefits of the project.

Detailing its alternative employment policy, the senior manager said that the company was planning the construction of a 10 km marine road from Dhikia to Paradip.

“Besides saving the local people from tidal waves, the proposed road will provide jobs to hundreds of people and easy conectivity to the port town of Paradip," he said, adding that several villages in Jagatsinghpur district were swept away by a tidal wave killing hundreds in the super-cyclone in 1999.

The road is also considered an important communication link for transporting raw materials to the proposed steel plant.

Admitting that some villagers at the proposed plant site are still opposed to the project, the manager said that efforts are on to win them over.