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Posco Plant To Be Relocated: Yeddyurappa

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Facing farmers' protests and stiff resistance from the Opposition, Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa on Thursday said the proposed Rs 30,000 crore steel project by Korean major Posco would not come up in Gadag district but will be relocated to a place where farmers would voluntarily give their land.

"Posco plant will not come up in Gadag district, even if farmers come forward to give lands. The government will relocate the project elsewhere, where farmers voluntarily give land," he told reporters here.

He slammed the Opposition Congress and JD(S) for placing hurdles for development and charged them with conspiring against the government.

"I have not acquired land for setting up any resort. I have not acquired land for Eagleton resort project near Bidadi as was done by a previous government," he said.

In an obvious attack against JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy in whose regime land was acquired for the resort project, he said the land owned by SC and ST families was acquired for it.

The Posco project has been facing opposition from a section of farmers of Gadag in north Karnataka, with Congress and JD(S) extending support to them.

JD(S) leader and former Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy had annnounced that his party proposed to file a PIL against the ruling BJP for allegedly grabbing fertile land under the guise of industrial development.

He had also alleged close nexus between the government and Posco and warned that JD(S) would launch an agitation jointly with Thontadarya Mut pontiff Siddalingaswamy, who is spearheading the farmers' movement, if the government continued acquiring land.

In another development, a delegation of about 70 farmers from Halligudi and Jantali villages of Mundargi taluk in Gadag, whose lands were notified for the Posco project, submitted a memorandum to Industries Minister Murugesh Nirani expressing their willingness to give their land for the plant.

They urged the government not to shift Posco project from Gadag and said the memorandum has been signed by 375 farmers.

Meanwhile, Thontada mutt pontiff Siddalinga Swami welcomed Yeddyurappa's decision to stop the land acquisition.

Nirani said the government was yet to open dialogue with Posco over shifting the project from Gadag to another district.

He said the government has decided to amend the Karnataka Industrial Area Development Board Act, 1966 in the backdrop of problems faced in acquiring land for the industrial project.

The proposed amendment would facilitate notifying barren land with the consent of farmers, he said.

The draft of the proposed amendments would be circulated among industry and trade bodies seeking their opinion, he said.


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