Some families of Patana village, who were ostracised by anti-Posco activists in 2007, are now up in arms against the district administration. They feel cheated after the district administration announced that it would not acquire any land in the village for the proposed steel plant.
As many as 217 members of 52 families were forcibly thrown out of their village in June, 2007 by a group of people led by Posco Pratirodha Sangram Samiti (PPSS) president Abhaya Sahu.
The families of Patana under Dhinkia panchayat were allegedly tortured and ostracised. The anti-Posco activists also torched their houses and damaged their betel vines and paddy crop. The harassed families have since been staying at a Posco transit colony in Badabagapur.
They were hopeful that their land would be acquired and they would be paid cash compensation. But, with the district administration declaring that no land will be acquired in Patana, they feel cheated.
“The families have been leading a miserable life in the transit colony with the hope that their land will be acquired and compensation paid to them in lieu,” said head of the villagers in the transit colony Chandan Mohanty. “If the State Government had no plan of acquiring the land, why did it not take any step for rehabilitating us in Patana all these years,” he questioned.
The villagers said life has not been a comfortable one for them in the colony which is cramped with shelters of concrete and tin roof. Six persons in the transit colony had reportedly died in the last four years due to poverty.
In the name of help, State Government provides them `20 per person in a family.
“The Government and Posco company seem to have forgotten us after giving us shelter in the transit colony,” said a villager. With no resources, he along with his children has taken to begging to eke out a living. “The daily allowance of `20 does not suffice. There is lack of finances or resources to sustain life,” he said.
According to him, 52 families share 12 toilets and bathrooms. Their huts leak when it rains and living conditions are extremely unhygienic. Demanding resettlement measures for them in Patana, the villagers threatened of taking to streets over the issue.
Collector Satya Kumar Mallick said the families staying in the transit colony will be rehabilitated in their village after normalcy is restored.