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Tribals Protest Against Tata Steel Plant

Published by MAC on 2005-06-15

Tribals protest against Tata steel plant

Raipur, Feb 25 (IANS) Tribals in Chhattisgarh's Bastar region have launched a massive protest against a proposed Tata steel plant, alleging the administration and the company were forcing them to give up their land.

The police have arrested Manish Kunjam, a former legislator and a Communist Party of India (CPI) leader, for fuelling the protest and warned the people and elected local bodies members to not "take law and order into their hands".

"We made some precautionary arrests Saturday and are searching for others who seemed determined to disrupt peace," a police officer of Bastar told IANS over telephone Sunday.

Tata Steel, India's largest private sector steel maker, signed a deal with the Chhattisgarh government in June 2005 to set up a steel plant with an investment of Rs.100 billion in the iron ore rich Lohandiguda area, 32 km from Jagdalpur town in Bastar district.

The company promised a "dream package" to the 10 villages to compensate for acquiring about 4,500 acres of land.

"In July-August last year the district administration forcibly got the consent of villagers to acquire their farm land. Now the villagers have decided they will go to any extent to prevent the Tatas from setting up the plant on fertile land," CPI leader Chitranjan Bakchhi told IANS.

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