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Jun 12, 2011 at 08:36pm IST

Orissa govt halts Posco land acquisition

Bhubaneswar: In a temporary respite to anti-Posco agitators, the Orissa government on Sunday halted land acquisition for the Rs 52,000 crore steel project for five days.

There would be no land acquisition for the Posco project at the proposed site near Paradip for five days from on Sunday in view of the "Rajo" festival which is celebrated in Orissa, Jagatsinghpur district Collector NC Jena said.

After the five-day break, the land acquisition work which has been going on for the last several days, is scheduled to be resumed on June 17, he said.

Orissa govt halts Posco land acquisition

The brief break comes at a time when the agitation has intensified in Orissa.

The brief break comes at a time when the agitation has intensified with women and children at the forefront even as the Orissa government, which had declared the protests as "unlawful" continues land acquisition amid heavy deployment of police force till Saturday.

The six-year-old stir against the setting up of the steel plant reached a flashpoint after the state government tried to acquire land forcibly, also saw political leaders and civil society activists rushing to the dharna site at Gobindpur to express solidarity with the protesters.

Meanwhile, vowing to oppose the steel project in the area tooth and nail, agitators including children and women guarded all entry points to Dhinkia and Gobindpur villages to prevent officials and police from entering the area.