Public hearing on JSW Steel's proposed plant passes off
peacefully in Odisha
    Paradip, Dec 20 (PTI) Public hearing for JSW Steel's
proposed plant at the site earlier selected for the Posco
project, passed off peacefully here on Friday with the
district administration of Jagatsinghpur assuring the people
that their legitimate demands would be met.
    Around 10,000 people from nearby villages participated
at the hearing, held at Gadakujang, but the people who are
likely to be affected by the proposed project, the residents
of Dhinkia, Nuagaon and Noliasahi villages, boycotted the
public hearing.
    More than 300 people placed their views on the impact
of the proposed mega project on the environment.
    "The public hearing was absolutely peaceful and many
people were allowed to give their opinion on the proposed
project," Jagatsinghpur district collector Sangram Keshari
Mohapatra told reporters.
    "The district administration is aware about the
people's grievances and steps will be taken to protect
interest of the locals," Mohapatra said.
    Odisha State Pollution Control Board's regional
officer Ramesh Chandra Ekka and JSW officials were also
present in the public hearing.
    The district administration had deployed 25 platoons
(one platoon comprises 30 personnel) of the police force,
keeping in view the prevailing resentment among the locals.
    South Korean steel major Posco had to abandon its Rs
52,000 crore project at the same site due to stiff opposition
of the local people.
    However, the situation for JSW's project appears to
have changed as the former secretary of Posco Prarodh Sangram
Samiti (PPSS), Sisir Mohapatra, has welcomed the project and
demanded an ideal rehabilitation and resettlement package for
the affected people.
    PPSS was the local body of farmers which was opposing
the South Korean steel major's project tooth and nail.
    All the participants spoke of employment,
rehabilitation and impact of pollution on the local community.
    All of them demanded that jobs should be provided to
the people who would be affected by the project. In addition,
they should be adequately compensated.
    Meanwhile, the state government has handed over 2,700
acre of land to JSW. The land was acquired earlier for the
Posco project.
    Apart from setting up a steel plant, the Jindal Steel
Works Limited has also proposed to set up a cement plant, a
power plant and a minor port in Jagatsinghpur district at an
investment of Rs 71,000 crore. PTI COR AAM

(This story has not been edited by THE WEEK and is auto-generated from PTI)