PARADIP: Kujang police on Wednesday arrested 22 farmers who were on dharna at Balitutha demanding compensation for land acquired for a pipeline project of Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL).
By sporting black badges, hundreds of farmers including women of Balitutha panchayat were demonstrating to protest acquisition of land for the IOCL project since the last three days.
The agitators alleged that the IOCL authorities forcibly acquired land without giving them adequate compensation.
Sources said nearly 50 acre of land has been identified for IOCL’s proposed project Paradip-Hyderabad Product Pipeline (PHPL). As the pipeline will pass through the panchayat, local farmers had demanded Rs 30,000 compensation for one decimal of land. The district administration held discussion with IOCL officials and decided that farmers will be provided `19,100 per decimal. However, IOCL later finalised the compensation amount at `7,600 per decimal without the knowledge of farmers. When villagers refused to accept the compensation, IOCL hiked the amount to `19,100.
Farmer leader Manas Kar alleged that with help of police, IOCL acquired the land forcibly without giving compensation to locals. “We were staging dharna since the last three days to protest the illegal acquisition of our land by IOCL,” he said.
IIC of Kujang police station Dillip Sahoo said 22 farmers including two women were arrested for participating in the illegal demonstration at Balitutha. On May 22, police had arrested three farmers for assaulting IOCL officials and vandalising their land demarcation equipment used for laying pipeline.