MAC: Mines and Communities

Irate Villagers Attack Four Officials

Published by MAC on 2007-04-27

South Asia update

27th April 2007

Irate villagers attack four officials

Special Correspondent, The Hindu

27th April 2007

BHUBANESWAR: Four government officials were attacked by hundreds of villagers who were opposing the administration's attempt to conduct a gram sabha hearing for acquiring land for a steel plant project of Uttam Galva Steel Limited in Keonjhar district of Orissa on Thursday.

The incident occurred around 3.30 p.m. when over 300 villagers stopped the Additional District Magistrate, the Revenue Inspector and two officials of the Orissa Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (IDCO) from going to Nuadihi village, about 10 km from the district headquarters town of Keonjhar.

The vehicles of the four officials were stopped by the agitated people near Deuldihi village, according to the police.

Sustain injuries

As the crowd was in no mood to allow the team of officials to proceed towards Nuadihi village, the officials started to return towards Keonjhar town. However, some people started throwing stones at the vehicle from behind. While the officials sustained minor injuries, the windscreens of the vehicles were also damaged.

Keonjhar Superintendent of Police G.S. Upadhyay said that no arrest had been made immediately. Action would be taken against the miscreants after the Sadar police station formally registered a first information report (FIR).

Mumbai-based Uttam Galva Steel Limited proposed to set up a three million tonne capacity steel project in the area. The company had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Orissa Government for setting up of the steel project in November last year. The company required about 2,000 acres of land for the proposed steel mill. The company filed as many as 26 applications seeking allotment of iron and manganese ore at different locations in Keonjhar district.

Keonjhar had been witnessing large-scale mining activity during the past three decades. However, the people of the district started opposing mineral-based industries since last year.

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