Unperturbed over the stiff protest against the proposed Posco steel plant, the Orissa government said it would start project-related work in areas already acquired in Jagatsinghpur. The government, however, suspended further land acquisition for the time being.

"We have already acquired 1,800 acres of land for the proposed plant near Paradip and are beginning project-related work in the area," said chief secretary B K Patnaik.

He said preliminary work such as cleaning and levelling of the land are being taken up now to make the area fit for the construction of the Rs 52,000-crore mega project.

Patnaik said the government will renew the MoU with Posco by June 30, which expired a year ago in June 2010. "We are examining the opinions of various departments raised about the MoU. Chief minister Naveen Patnaik will take a decision soon," he said.