Odisha’s Sundargarh district on Saturday witnessed a skirmish between villagers and the authorities after a whole bunch clashed with police demanding further compensation for his or her land acquisition for coal mining. They additionally demanded mining by Vedanta at a coal block allotted to the corporate be stopped.
Two girls of Jamkani village, Jema Gond and Seema Gond, on whose land the bhumi pujan ceremony was being held, barged in with a whole bunch of displaced villagers however have been stopped by 16 platoons of police who resorted to gentle lathi-charge to disperse the group.
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“We not only have lost agricultural income following the acquisition of our lands but have failed to find an alternate source of employment due to delays in mining operations. As the land was acquired for mining projects which did not start, the government washed off its hands and did not undertake any local development. We should be compensated under the new land acquisition law,” stated Jema Gond.
The villagers have been demanding compensation below the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013.
Though Vedanta has supplied further ex-gratia and compensation of ₹6 lakh per acre, the villagers have refused to budge saying the land must be acquired afresh.
Over 800 hectares of land in Jamkani, Mendra, Girisuan and Jharpalam villages within the Hemgir block of Sundargarh district have been initially acquired for the Jamkani coal block between 2006 and 2011 for Bhusan Power and Steel Ltd via state-owned Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation of Odisha below the Land Acquisition Act, 1894. After Bhushan pulled out, it was allotted to Vedanta which then entered right into a Coal Mine Development and Production Agreement with the Ministry of Coal in February 2020.
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Jamkhani coal block is in proximity to the corporate’s Jharsuguda aluminium smelter plant and is likely one of the most tasty coal blocks for the plant when it comes to location, annual capability, reserves and readiness to supply.
Earlier, a lady and 14 others from Jamkani village had challenged the competency of the state authorities to accumulate land for the coal block via IDCO by ignoring the Coal Bearing Areas (Acquisition and Development) Act, 1957. The petitioners claimed that in coal-bearing areas, the central authorities or its authorised companies are competent for buying land.
Sundargarh further district Justice of the Peace (Revenue) Abhimanyu Behera, nevertheless, stated the land acquisition was accomplished in 2011 and all of the affected households have obtained compensation. “The demand for fresh land acquisition has no validity. IDCO has transferred the land to Vedanta and it can start mining,” Behera stated.