Around 2,500 families in eight villages were affected due to the proposed project

BS Reporter  |  Berhampur 

February 5, 2014

The people displaced due to a steel mill originally planned by Tata Steel at Gopalpur, staged a dharana in front of the Ganjam collector’s office, demanding a special package for them.

The land losers of eight villages-Sindhigaon, Badapur, Patrapur, Paikapada, Kalipalli, Sindhu Nagara, Braja Nagara and Jyoti Nagara are on agitation since January 27 and threatened to continue their agitation till the demands were fulfilled.

Besides the special package based on the rehabilitation and resettlement (R&R) policy, the people also demand permanent job for at least one person of each displaced family. Around 2,500 families in eight villages were affected due to the proposed project.

About 2,800 acres of land was acquired in the mid-1990s for setting up of a mega steel plant by Tata Steel. The company later shelved the project and decided to set up an industrial park there. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had laid the foundation stone for the industrial park in August 2010. At the time of land acquisition, the company had promised to provide job to at least one member of each displaced family. But the company did not keep its promise, alleged Jagannath Reddy, one of the agitators.

“Even though the land acquisition has been completed over 15 years ago, neither the steel plant nor the industrial park has been set up in the area. The company has only constructed the boundary wall around the acquired land,” he said.

Local MLA (Gopalpur) Pradeep Kumar Panigrahi supported the agitation of the land losers.

“The people of the area had ceded their land with high expectations. The anger of the people is genuine since there is no project in sight in the area,” said Panigrahi, who also lost land for the Tata Steel project. “We have sent a proposal to the government for a special package for the land losers. The proposal is being discussed with the company officials,” he said.

A spokesperson of Tata Steel said, “The company is in dialogue with the state government. The company has also given some suggestions to the government in this regard.”

The Union ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) had accorded environment clearance to Tata Steel for 55,000 tonne per annum (tpa) high carbon ferro-chrome plant, 400,000 tpa rebar mill and desalination plant to be set up in the proposed industrial park last year.

As an anchor tenant of this park, the company would invest around Rs 800 crore on these projects, which would initially create employment for 1,000 people.

This will be the fourth ferroalloys plant of Tata Steel in Odisha. The company is currently operating three ferroalloys plants at Joda, Bamanipal and Athgarh (through its subsidiary Rawmet) with capacities of 50,000 tpa each.


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