MAC: Mines and Communities

Displaced Villagers Protest Land Grabbing By Bhushan Steel

Published by MAC on 2006-05-25
Source: Pioneer News Service

Displaced villagers protest land grabbing by Bhushan Steel

Pioneer News Service, Dhenkanal

25th May 2006

[Villagers have] protested against the company's alleged land grabbing by terrorising villagers, even before completion of rehabilitation norms.

The affected villagers alleged that Bhushan Steel already had occupied their grazing lands, ponds, cremation ground and connecting roads and in exchange the company allegedly lodged FIRs against them on several false criminal charges when they used the roads in case of emergency.

Apart from demanding employment and suitable engagements to each displaced family in Bhushan Steel and Strips, the villagers demanded stringent action against the officials and contractor, who hatched the conspiracy and organised the fatal attack on the villagers on Sunday.

Besides, the other demands are equal compensation for their land without any discrepancy, opening of a second gate at the south side of the plant, facing towards village Sarapa and Raghunathpur, withdrawal of false cases, which was lodged by Bhushan Steel authorities and employment guarantee to the minor nominees of the displaced families.

The demonstrators ended their agitation after high level officials of Bhushan Steel assured to consider their demands sympathetically within a month. Bhushan officials said the villagers demand will be considered in a meeting in the presence of the district officials.

Meanwhile, the district administration of Dhenkanal called a coordination meeting with the land losers at Dhenkanal Collectorate on Tuesday.

District Collector Usha Padhee said that district administration will bear all the treatment cost to the villagers injured in attack by the contractor's workers and security guards.

Padhee also assured villagers that rehabilitation process will be completed with mutual discussions and according to Government norms. District administration will look into village roads construction and assured that it will be completed before monsoon. Bhushan Steel will spend the required amount towards peripheral development of the district.

Padhee urged the villagers to maintain peace and cooperate with the administration to create an environment for industrial growth in the district.

According to official sources, 1,526 affected families of Dhenkanal district and 137 affected families of Angul district have been categorised in A, B, C and D categories and only 874 displaced villagers have received photo identity card so far.

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