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Tata Steel Plant Faces Obstinate Tribals

Published by MAC on 2007-04-19
Source: Times of India

Tata Steel plant faces obstinate tribals

Times of India

19th April 2007

LOHANDIGUDA (CHHATTISGARH): A proposed Tata steel project in Chhattisgarh's Bastar region has run into rough weather, with farmers refusing to sell their ancestral farmland.

"Earlier we had sought a hike in compensation for surrendering our prime farmland to the Tatas. Now we have decided not to give up the land at any cost," thundered Banga Ram, 52, of Badeparoba village. "Tata Steel," Ram told news agency, "can get the land (only) over our dead bodies."

Badeparoba is one of the 10 villages of Lohandiguda block in Bastar district where officials say Tata Steel plans to acquire about 5,098 acres of land. Of this, 3,500 acres are private land.

The company signed a deal with the Chhattisgarh government in June 2005 for investing Rs.100 billion for a five million tonne per annum (mta) steel plant in a region home to large stocks of the world's finest quality iron ore.

The government sent a recommendation to the central government in February to grant a prospecting license for the 2,500-hectare stretch in Bastar's Bailadila deposit no-1 to Tata Steel to fulfil its iron ore requirements.

Local legislator Lachhuram Kashyap of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), who was till January welcoming Tata Steel's decision for choosing Lohandiguda block for a mega plant, has now started opposing the project.

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