Anti-Posco activists relent after meeting CM

Anti-Posco steel plant activists showed some flexibility when they met Orissa chief minister Naveen Patnaik on Sunday. Leaders of the Communist Party of India-backed group that has been demanding relocation of the steel project finally agreed to allow land survey work in their stronghold, the Dhinkia panchayat.

The crucial meeting, delayed by more than three years, took place in the secretariat and lasted more than an hour. "As per today's situation, the meeting with the chief minister was a success," Abhaya Sahu, chairman of the Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti, who led a four-member group to the meeting, told reporters afterwards.

"The (venue) shifting issue remains non-negotiable but we will wait. You see, when the chief minister is going to visit the area we don't want to create any controversy. He has agreed and has invited the Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti for a direct dialogue, so we are waiting for his visit," said Sahoo.

"We also requested him to visit the area to know the ground situation which he agreed," he added.

Patnaik said he discussed with the protesters the importance of the survey and asked them to co-operate with the administration. He said he would take a final view only after he talks to other local groups who favour the project.

"I will be meeting different groups of people as well from the project area and listen to their demands as well. Let the survey work be completed and we will choose an appropriate time to go there," Patnaik said.