Evicted by admin, sisters live under tree

Jajpur/Duburi: The district administration’s alleged highhandedness in demolishing the house of two sisters at Gobarghati village in Kalinganagar for the expansion of Tata Steel plant Friday without paying them compensation as per the 1989 rehabilitation and resettlement package of the Centre has triggered a row, a report said Sunday.

The siblings Chhabi Banra and Durgabati Dadra were staying together after being deserted by their respective husbands. After being evicted from their house, they have now taken shelter under a tree amid scorching condition of midsummer.
They would commit suicide if they are not paid compensation and rehabilitated at the earliest, the siblings warned.

The district administration’s move to evicting the siblings from their house without rehabilitating them has drawn flak from various quarters and sparked resentment among displaced villagers.
It was learnt the sisters refused to move out of their house unless they were paid compensation and given employment. However, the administration forcibly demolished their house Friday.

According to sources, the notice for displacement for the establishment of the steel plant was issued in Gobarghati in 1982 and 1,234 families, all tribals, were displaced for the purpose.
Chhabi was living with her two daughters Meenakshi and Sasmita and Durgabati in an asbestos house built over a government land.
The two had built the house with the money earned by working as labourers. Their house was demolished to pave way for expansion of the plant.

When contacted, special land acquisition officer Nihar Das said the sisters do not come under the purview of 1989-rehabilitation and resettlement package of the Centre as they were staying in a house built over a government land. They also do not figure in the earlier survey carried out for displacement, Das added.

An official of Tata Steel’s public relation department, on condition of anonymity, said the two sisters had spent over Rs 1.5 lakh in construction of the house and the company was willing to pay them ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh to construct another house outside the boundary of the plant.

However, they refused to listen and demanded compensation under the 1989 rehabilitation and resettlement package which will be decided by the district administration, the officer said. PNN