OPGC land row: Odisha's Tilia villagers defy administration by sowing seeds in their fields

There is no end in sight to the stand-off between villagers and the district administration over forcible acquisition of land in Tilia under Lakahanpur block for construction of ash pond of the propos

Published: 18th July 2017 07:50 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th July 2017 09:35 AM   |  A+A-

Villagers sowing paddy in acquired land at Tilia on Monday | Express

By Express News Service

TILIA (JHARSUGUDA):There is no end in sight to the stand-off between villagers and the district administration over forcible acquisition of land in Tilia under Lakahanpur block for construction of ash pond of the proposed Unit 3 and 4 of Ib Thermal Power Station (ITPS) of OPGC.

On Monday, villagers sowed paddy in about three acres of acquired land defying the presence of armed police. This activity of the villagers began at 6.30 am and continued till 11 am. The move of the villagers came after the deadline to resolve their demands expired.

District Collector Bibhuti Bhusan Pattnaik had expressed his helplessness to help the villagers in a meeting convened by him on Saturday. The Collector had also warned the villagers of police action if they tried to cultivate the earmarked land. Amid deployment of armed police, villagers including women entered the land and began ploughing it for sowing. While the men were busy in farm activities, the women formed an outer ring forcing the police to maintain restrain.

 The villagers are opposing acquisition of 277.30 acres of land for construction of the ash pond of OPGC. Having been displaced earlier due to Hirakud Dam project and resettled at Tilia, they are demanding adequate compensation. Facing displacement once again, they are also seeking permanent jobs for 184 members of the affected families in OPGC.

Gobind Pradhan, member of Anchalika Surakhya Committee, which is spearheading the agitation, said police did not try to stop them which would have flared up the situation. Informing that 77 per cent of the villagers have rejected the compensation package of `12 lakhs per acre, Pradhan said those who do not own land have also joined the villagers. He further threatened that any misadventure by OPGC or the district administration will lead to bloodbath.

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