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BJD youth leaders held for ‘disrupting’ public hearing

Upon completion of the said period, the agency had submitted a tender for renewal of the contract but it was awarded to an outside bidder for a higher price.

Published: 25th September 2021 09:31 AM  |   Last Updated: 25th September 2021 09:31 AM   |  A+A-

Handcuffs, Arrest

For representational purposes

By Express News Service

JAGATSINGHPUR: District youth BJD leaders Manas Das and Nirakar Khuntia were arrested by Raghunathpur police on Friday for allegedly disrupting the public hearing for environmental clearance of sand mining on Mahanadi river.

The meeting, which was conducted at the Jaipur inspection bungalow on Thursday, met with stiff resistance from hundreds of labourers led by Das, forcing the administration to cancel the hearing. The agitators said the move would snatch the livelihoods of families who have been engaged in manual sand extraction on the river bed for the past 25 years. 

The Revenue department had awarded the mining contract to one Jagannath Workers’ Cooperative Society at Jaipur under Raghunathpur tehsil for the stipulated 25 years which subsequently provided employment opportunities to hundreds of labourers from the area. Upon completion of the said period, the agency had submitted a tender for renewal of the contract but it was awarded to an outside bidder for a higher price.

This led to widespread agitation, with the out-of-work labourers protesting in front of the tehsil office in January this year to revoke the contract. Despite  raising the issue with concerned authorities multiples times, no action was taken in the matter, the agitators alleged. On the day, Raghunathpur tehsildar Rupalika Das lodged an FIR against the protesters in which police registered a case against 28 persons and arrested Das and Khuntia in the connection and forwarded them to court. 
 



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