MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Union Minister sympathises with anti-Vedanta Varsity villagers

Published by MAC on 2007-02-01

Union Minister sympathises with anti-Vedanta Varsity villagers

Pioneer News Service, Puri

1st February 2007

Even as the residents of 22 villages are resisting the move for acquisition of 8,000 acres of their agricultural lands for establishment of the proposed Vedanta University near Puri, the Opposition parties, particularly the Congress, are trying their best to cash in over the people's wrath in the in forthcoming panchayat elections beginning from February 13.

However, the State Government is firm on its decision on setting up of the university and going ahead with the process of land acquisition by issuing notices to the villagers. The villagers, in their turn, have been refusing to receive the notices from the officials of district administration.

The highest amount of 1,240 acres of land is being proposed which is to be acquired in village Beladala near Puri town.

In the latest political move, the Congress organised a visit of Union Minister of State for Human Resource Development Mohammed Ali Asraf Fatimi to some villages to be affected by establishment of the university.

Fatimi, who officially came to review the working of the midday meal programme in schools, also chose to visit some villages where the Government has initiated the land acquisition process for the university. He met the agitating villagers and discussed the issue with them.

On his return to Puri, Fatimi made a statement opposing the establishment of the university. He argued that as many as 25 big universities could have been set up on those lands proposed to be acquired for the Vedanta University. He expressed his surprise that his Ministry has no information regarding establishment of such a big university.

He commented that at a time when the Orissa Government is unable to provide only 500 acres of land for establishment of a new Indian Institute of Technology in the State, it is going ahead with a proposal for setting up of a university on 8,000 acres of land.

The State has also not sought permission or clearance from the Union Ministry of Forest and Environment for establishment of the university.

 

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