Orissa protests delay initial work: Posco India

Orissa protests delay initial work: Posco India

New Delhi: South Korean steelmaker Posco said Friday it had been unable to begin preliminary work at the site of a planned steel plant in Orissa as an access road had been blocked by protesters.

Work on a boundary wall on the 500 acres of land already acquired for the proposed 12 million tonne plant, and land-levelling, was supposed to start in October.

“No, it could not be started and has been delayed again because of the blockage of access road to the site by opposing group," Posco India chairman and managing director Soung Sik Cho told Reuters in an e-mailed statement.

“We are now trying to remove this blockage with government of Orissa," he added.

The $12-billion plant would be India’s largest ever single foreign investment project, but has been repeatedly held up by some villagers angry over being forced from their land.

The issue of acquiring land for industry has become explosive in India with farmers in many areas protesting the loss of their livelihoods. Others support the Posco plant, which will need 4,000 acres of land in total, welcoming the jobs they hope it will bring.