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Promised Aid Eludes Land Losers of Essar Project

Published: 21st July 2014 08:51 AM  |   Last Updated: 21st July 2014 08:51 AM   |  A+A-

PARADIP:  Resentment is brewing among hundreds of families displaced by Essar Steel project for non-payment of compensation. Four years on, around 400 families of the project area are yet to get the promised aid.

The Essar company had acquired 1,268 acres of land in Udayabata, Handia, Bijayachandrapur and Nuagada villages and compensation was disbursed to 60 per cent of the affected families. While the rest 40 per cent of the families have not received their dues, the company claims that it has deposited the compensation amount with the authorities concerned more than a year back.

In 2010, the Rehabilitation and Peripheral Development Advisory Committee (RPDAC) had decided to pay compensation of `19.10 lakh per acre to the displaced families. But affected families have been demanding annual interest of 12 per cent on the compensation amount.

It is alleged that the disbursement of compensation to the families displaced by different industrial projects including Essar Steel has been badly hit as several farmers refused to part with their land because of non-payment of compensation.

Besides, the absence of Special Land Acquisition Officer (SLAO) for one and a half years has put the payment of compensation and land acquisition process of different projects in Jagatsinghpur district in disarray.

A member of a displaced family Sukadev Behera said he is yet to receive the compensation despite handing over about 24 decimal of land to the company. “The marriage of my daughter has been held up for non-payment of compensation. With all the land acquired by the company, I have no property to sell to arrange money for the marriage,” said Behera.

Panchayat Samiti member Tofan Swain and a villager Pramoda Jena alleged that though the company has deposited `36 crores, the authorities have not disbursed the amount.

Out of 903 displaced families of Essar Steel project, not a single family has been rehabilitated due to callous attitude of the district administration and company officials, they alleged.

A senior official of Essar said the management is sensitive towards the demands of land losers and workers engaged in the plant. The company has deposited the compensation amount with the district administration on time, he added.

When contacted, Collector Satya Kumar Mallick said the payment of compensation and land acquisition process of different projects have been affected due to vacancy of the official post. Administration is taking initiatives to disburse the aid soon, he added.



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