Villagers protest land acquisition
Hundreds of villagers in Chhattisgarh’s Raigarh district opposed the acquisition of 1,700 acres of land for coal mining in the area to fuel the proposed DB Power Plant in the adjoining district of Janjgir. Ejaz Kaiser reports.india Updated: Mar 02, 2011 23:15 IST
Hundreds of villagers in Chhattisgarh’s Raigarh district opposed the acquisition of 1,700 acres of land for coal mining in the area to fuel the proposed DB Power Plant in the adjoining district of Janjgir.
DB Power is a subsidiary of DB Corp Ltd, a media conglomerate that owns newspapers, including the Hindi Dainik Bhaskar and English DNA.
The company plans to extract two million tonnes of coal every year from the Sariya coal block spread across the district’s six settlements — Taraimar, Bayasi, Medarmar, Dharamjaigarh, Dharam colony and Bayasi colony — for its thermal power plant.
“We are peace loving people but have to fight for justice. We will not allow our environment to get polluted and will never give away our land,” said Adhir Majhi, a resident of Bayasi colony.
The villagers raised their concerns on pollution, displacement, compensation, employment and even survival once the company begins mining activity in the region. The project is expected to displace 524 families from the area.
“We can happily live along with elephants, bears and other wild animals found in Dharamjaigarh but not with DB Power Plant,” said 60-year-old Sunita Tirkey.
The villagers also questioned the veracity of the environment impact assessment (EIA) draft report. They alleged that several facts were deliberately excluded from the report to seek clearance.
“Many villagers don’t understand the content of the EIA draft as it is in English,” grumbled Indu Tethwani, a local community leader.
The final report shall be modified on the basis of the issues raised at the hearing. High security arrangements were made at the venue of the public hearing, which was video-recorded. “We have deployed around 400 police personnel,” Raigarh superintendent of police Rahul Sharma said.