BHUBANESHWAR, India (AP) -- Police used batons and tear gas to disperse angry villagers trying to storm a steel plant in eastern India in a protest over land compensation, officials said Wednesday. Five villagers and 10 officers were reported injured.
Nearly 300 people surrounded the plant Tuesday demanding jobs as well as higher compensation for land the steel plant had acquired from them, police officer A.B. Swain said.
The villagers tried to storm the plant and ''the police had no other option'' but to use batons and tear gas, Swain said. Twenty-seven people were arrested, he said.
The plant is owned by Bhushan Steel Ltd. -- an Indian company -- and is located in the Dhenkanal district of Orissa state, 62 miles (100 kilometers) west of state capital Bhubaneshwar.
Satish Tyagi, a spokesman for Bhushan Steel Ltd., said the company purchased the land from the state government and not the villagers directly.
''To my knowledge, we have made full payment to the government for the acquired land,'' said Tyagi.
A government official, Jamil Ahmed Khan, said the villagers had been paid for the government's acquisition of their land.
''The affected villagers are demanding more compensation. The matter is now pending in a local court. If court will direct us to pay more, we are prepared to do that,'' Khan said.
Like several other states in India, Orissa has been trying to woo investors, both foreign and Indian, by giving them mining rights, electricity and water at considerably lower prices.
But the move to acquire farmland and turn it into industrial development areas has run into violent protests from villagers all over India.
A plan by South Korea's steel maker Posco to build a plant in another part of Orissa has been met with similar protests. Angry groups briefly abducted some employees last year.
In neighboring West Bengal state, violent protests prompted the government to scrap plans for a special economic zone in the Nandigram area. That zone was to include a shipyard and a petrochemical plant on 22,000 acres (8,900 hectares) of farmland.
At least 35 people were killed during the months-long protests.