Thursday, July 14, 2011

Give or do not give land, be ready for police action in Odisha

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: mohanlal panda <>
Date: Fri, Jul 15, 2011 at 8:02 AM
Subject: Give or do not give land, be ready for police action in Odisha


The Chairperson


New Delhi.




Greetings from PVCHR.


Please refer to the following news link and the attached report:

23 hurt as cops clash with villagers in Angul
July 13, 2011   11:30:00 PM

PNS | Angul

In a clash between the villagers and cops, at least 23 persons, including 12 women of coal-rich Raijharan village in Angul district were injured when the police were trying to rescue seven officials of Jindal Steel and Power Limited (JSPL) and Monnet Ispat & Power Limited from their clutch. Seven police officials too were hurt in the scuffle. 

The company officials had gone to the village to undertake some survey works for a coal mine. However, the villagers held them hostage and did not allow them to go ahead with the work demanding proper rehabilitation packages. Tension mounted when the villagers pelted stone at the police and the latter had to resort to lathicharge to rescue the officials. 

Sources said Raijharan area of Chhendipada, where power grade coal is available just five feet below the surface of the land, is a major coal bearing area of the State. Called 'Utkal block', both private and public sector companies have been permitted to open up open-cast mines. The coal block has been divided into seven parts, such as Utkal-A, B1, B2, C, D, E and F. There area has about 900 million tones coal deposit.

Utkal-B1 block was allotted to JSPL in 2003 as a captive coal mine, while B2 block was allotted to Monnet in 1998. Similarly, block C was allotted to IMFA in May 1998, Block F to Tata Spong Iron Limited of Keonjhar in 2006, Block-D to Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC), while block E was given to Nalco for captive mining in August 2004. The Union Ministry of Coal allotted Utkal block A to Mahanadi Coalfields Limited (MCL) and four other companies, including Jindal Stainless Limited, sources informed.

However, no company could start coal production even after long 12 years of allotment of the mines. The Union Coal Ministry served continuous warning and de-allocation notice, but no progress was made in excavation of coal due to problem in land acquisition. The administration is even not at all hearing the demand of the affected people.

The Raijharan women had staged the dharna for the first time seven months back demanding better compensation and employment opportunities. Although the agitation had continued for long six days, but the then district collector had refused to meet the striking women and hear their grievances.

Meanwhile, Chasi Mulia Sangha leader Tapan Mishra has visited the Raijharan village and condemned the police atrocity on innocent villagers to suit the interest of the company. Mishra, who was recently released from the Koraput Jail, alleged that the company owners have bought up the police officials to suppress the people, particularly farmers and women of the area. Krishna Mohanty, another social activist, also has condemned the police atrocity. 

Sir this is a serious case of state atrocity. If the villagers show their willingness to vacate their land and ask for adequate compensation they are suppressed by brutal force. If they do not vacate land they must be ready to die. What will they do ?

Please look into the matter urgently. It is strange to note that the district administration does not consider it necessary to talk to the protestors. Please investigate the police brutality and direct adequate compensation for the people. NHRC should also monitor the entire process of rehabilitation in order to set an example where development projects are undertaken by cooperation and not by conflict.   

With regards,

Dr. Mohanlal Panda

Advisor, PVCHR

B-202, Neelachal Appt, Plot-3, Sector-4

Dwarka, New Delhi-110075

Mobile: :+91-9818499296

Main Office: SA 4/2 A, Daulatpur, Varanasi-221002

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