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Kakinada, Dec 13

THE controversy over the acquisition of land for the port-based refinery and special economic zone at Kakinada has been resolved, with the State Government deciding to locate the oil refinery in the Thondangi mandal and minimise land acquisition in the Kakinada rural mandal for the special economic zone.

Following farmers' agitation, the government decided to set up the refinery and a bio-diesel plant in the Thondangi mandal, where 4,000 acres will be acquired.

According to Mr Anil Kumar Singhal, 4,300 acres will be acquired in the Uppada-Kothapalli mandal and 1,200 acres in the Kakinada rural mandal, of which only 260 acres would be taken from private sources.

An estimated 10,000 acres are needed for the refinery and SEZ. The government signed a memorandum of understanding with ONGC a few months ago for the two projects.

Since then, farmers in the Kakinada rural mandal have been demanding that their farmlands under the Pithapuram branch canal (Godavari canal) should not be acquired for the projects. The refinery, originally planned near the port, has since been shifted.

According to Mr Singhal, the land prices in Thondangi and Uppada-Kothapalli mandals will be fixed in accordance with norms and there will be a suitable relief and rehabilitation package. "The farmers need have no worries on the count," he said.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated December 14, 2005)
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