BALASORE: Residents of at least seven villages in Balgopalpur area in Balasore district have accused the authorities of Balasore Alloys Limited (BAL) of illegally acquiring their land for its proposed expansion project.
The land losers alleged that the plant management has purchased the land at a cheaper price through a local contractor on the pretext of providing employment to at least one member of each family.
The ferro-alloy company had acquired nearly 200 acres in Balgopalpur, Sireipur, Batitanki, Gourpur, Purusottampur, Kharidmukhura and Bidyadharpur villages. While nearly 50 acres were purchased between 1992 and 2007, the rest were acquired in 2007-08.
Though agricultural lands of about 100 families were acquired and 14 families displaced with their homestead land taken away, it is alleged that not a single person has been given a job in the company, as promised.
The land losers under the banner of Jana Jiban Suraksha Manch (JJSM) said as most of them belonged to Scheduled Caste the plant management purchased land in the name of the contractor (an SC) between `1.5 lakh and `12 lakh per acre. This is besides the 60 acres bought from non-SC families.
Questioning the pricing, Manch president Jhantu Kumar Saha said while the management bought the land closer to the plant at `1.5 lakh per acre, it has paid around `12 lakh per acre for the land more than a km away.
“We want `30 lakh per acre for all the land losers as another company in the area is providing the same against the land it has acquired for a charitable hospital. We also demand enforcement of the National Rehabilitation and Resettlement Policy, 2007 and Land Acquisition Amendment Bill 2007,” he said. Employment to one of the family members and peripheral development were the other demands.
The manch also alleged that the government authorities have violated the present laws while acquiring land for the company. They also mentioned a person alive as dead while carrying out mutation of a piece of land.
The plant has acquired the land after demolishing five houses built under IAY, he alleged.
JJSM advisor Manoj Mayak said the local revenue officials have cited one Nityananda Nata dead during mutation in 2010. “He is alive and working in a private paper mill. Though as per the Centre’s notification the land donated to refugees cannot be transferred under any circumstances, the revenue officials have done it as most of the land acquired for BAL belonged to the refugees settled here,” he alleged.
While the BAL authorities said the land deal has been carried out as per rules and regulations, Remuna Tehsildar Manas Padhi said he would inquire into the allegation about the person cited as dead and take appropriate action.
Director of BAL BN Panda said the company is ready to resolve the matter if land losers come forward to discuss the grievances individually.