PARADIP: After staging protests over construction of boundary wall by Idco on the land that was acquired in Gobindpur for Posco steel plant, the villagers of Dhinkia panchayat in Jagatsinghpur district have launched a signature campaign demanding Palli Sabha for the project.
They alleged that the construction of boundary wall is a clear violation of the Orissa Gram Panchayat Act and Forest Rights Act (FRA) as the district administration did not hold Palli Sabha before acquisition of land for the project in 2010. The locals, led by village leaders Tuna Baral, Babaji Khatua, Laxmipriya Das and Arachana Das, submitted a memorandum having signatures of 600 villagers to the Sarpanch, Erasama BDO and the Collector seeking Palli Sabha at Gobindpur immediately to get their consent. They also demanded that the construction work of boundary wall by Idco be stopped till the Palli Sabha approves the project.
Sources said N C Saxena, former bureaucrat, who was heading a four-member panel to probe into the alleged violation of FRA in the proposed Posco site, had also confirmed irregularities in 2010. Despite that, the State Government acquired the land by violating the provisions under FRA, while it failed to produce a single Gram Sabha resolution required under the law for land acquisition. As per the Act, it is mandatory for the district administration to hold Palli Sabha in each village under the aegis of Forest Rights Committees concerned to seek consent of the villagers on the project.
Sarpanch of Dhinkia Salila Nayak said as per the suggestion of the villagers, it has been proposed to conduct Palli Sabha on December 6 at Gobindpur village. However, Erasama Block Development Officer (BDO) Kailash Behera said there is no need to conduct Palli Sabha for construction of boundary wall by Idco as the land has already been acquired. Palli Sabha is only necessary when there is a fresh land acquisition and not for construction of boundary wall, he added.
Meanwhile, two villagers, Bhamarbar Das and Tofan Mohanty, have filed a writ petition before the National Green Tribunal (NGT) over the issue.