MAC: Mines and Communities

Orissa Govt. To Review Land Requirements

Published by MAC on 2006-02-27

Orissa Govt. to review land requirements

by Himansu S. Sahoo / Hindustan Times, Bhubaneswar

27th February 2006

To minimize the disputes prevailing over acquisition of tribal land for industrialization the Orissa government may soon review the exact land requirements of various steel and alumina plants in the state. A Ministerial Committee studying the Revised Rehabilitation and Resettlement Policy of the government on Monday proposed to constitute a Technical Committee for reviewing the land requirements of both existing as well proposed industries.

Industries Minister Biswabhusan Harichandan, who is heading the Ministerial Committee said, in case a private company possesses excess land than the exact requirement for its project the government may ask for surrender of the extra land and distribute the same among the displaced families, the minister said. However, concrete future expansion programmes of the plants will be taken into consideration by sate government while asking the private companies for the return of excess land.

"If the proposal gets approval of the government and chief minister’s nod the steel and alumina plants may be asked to return the excess land in their possessions" Harichandan said.

The Ministerial Committee on Monday invited two former chief ministers of the state, retired bureaucrats, tribal leaders, social activists, representatives of agitating Kalinganagar tribals and some of the district collectors to give their proper implementation of the revised Rehabilitation and Resettlement Policy.

However, neither of the two former Congress chief ministers- Giridhari Gamang and Hemanand Biswal nor any of the tribal leaders and representatives of Kalinganagar tribals attended the meeting. Prominent social activist and pioneer of several tribal movements in the state Rulsi Munda strongly viewed that with out proper rehabilitation of the displaced families no industrialization work should commence. None of the families displaced for industrialization should remain landless and the land allotted by the government for their rehabilitation be made hereditary.

There was a common proposal from all invitees that persons and families who have been displaced more than once for industrial activities or developmental projects be given attractive compensations. Similar treatment should be also given to displaced families who don’t have eligible persons to avail employment opportunities in the plants.

A former additional chief secretary Srinivash Rath proposed that a Compensation Committee can work in close coordination with Revenue department of the state government, Industrial Complex itself about 13,000 acres of land has been allotted for industrialization. About a dozen of steel plants industrialization. About a dozen of steel plants including the one by Tata is coming up in the complex. In total the Orissa government has signed MoUs with private companies for the setting-up of 43 steel plants in different parts of the state.

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