The tricky business of land acquisition for Tata Steel's plant in Chhattisgarh's Bastar region is likely to be over by the end of the year with some plot holders already receiving compensation cheques, a senior official said.
A section of the 1,707 plot holders had agreed to give up their land for the project in Lohandiguda block of Chitrakote assembly segment, about 325 km from Raipur, said district collector Ganesh Shankar Mishra.
"The protest has started melting with over 150 plot holders of four villages owning about 70 hectares receiving cheques of over Rs 3 crore (Rs.30 million) on Thursday," Mishra told IANS over the phone.
Tata Steel, India's largest private sector steel-maker, had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Chhattisgarh government in June 2005 to invest Rs 100 billion to build a five-million-tonne per annum steel plant in two phases in the hilly Bastar district.
The planned project covers 10 villages where 1,707 plot holders, mostly tribals, have to agree to hand over 2,063.06 hectares to the company for the plant and the township.
Out of the project's total land requirement, 86.5 per cent is privately held, and the rest belongs to the government's revenue and forest departments.
According to Mishra, cheque would be distributed for the next few days with the takeover process likely to be completed by year-end.
He said the administration had made arrangements for opening zero balance bank accounts for those receiving cheques.
In September this year, the state government had announced a compensation package for the project and said Tata Steel would pay Rs.100,000 per acre of barren land, Rs.150,000 per acre for mono-cropped land and Rs.200,000 per acre for multi-cropped land, besides employing one adult from each displaced family.