The district administration could not demolish even a single betel vine in Gobindapur village for Posco project on Friday due to the non-cooperation of the villagers.

The land acquisition process has considerably slowed down for the last three days after issue of notification by National Green Tribunal for not felling trees in Posco area on environmental ground. Besides, the trench cutting work for the project’s boundary has also been seriously affected.

Last week, the administration had served notice and announced through public address system that the vines in  Gobindapur will be demolished after five days. Many villagers have expressed their reluctance to hand over their land for the project after issue of notification by the Green Tribunal.

Sources said so far, 330 betel vines of pro-Posco villagers have been demolished. The administration has not used any force for demolition. Vines of only those villagers who volunteered for it have been pulled down. Nearly 40 to 50 betel vines belonging to anti-Posco activists still exist.

ADM Paradip Surjit Das said, “Not a single betel vine could be demolished on Friday due to non-cooperation of the anti-Posco activists. So we have decided to demolish rest 40 betel vines in presence of police force.”

Notification has been issued to the betel vine owners earlier by the administration about demolition of the betel vines within a couple of days, he added.

On the other hand, anti-Posco leader Manonarama Khatua said, “Demolition of betel vines in forest area without the consent of the villagers is a violation of the directive of Green Tribunal.” We have vowed not to hand over the land to Posco company because Posco Pratirodha Sangram Samiti is protesting the diversion of forest land under Forest Right Act, she added.

Betel vine demolition work is presently confined to 1,253 hectares of forest area for which stage-II clearance (diversion of forest land) had been obtained from the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF), official sources said.

Protesting illegal demolition of betel vines, nearly 12 villagers of Gobindapur have rebuilt their demolished betel vines.

Courtesy: The New Indian Express

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