Sundargarh 5th May 2018:TheMahanadi Coal Field Ltd(MCL) coal mines displaced and affected people of the four G.P. i.e., Tumulia, Sumura Gaopalpur and Balinga in HemgirTahasil called off their 5 days protest dharana started from 30th April on 4th May after the assurance of MCL in the presence of the district collector. A joint meeting of the 50 leaders of the affected villages and MCL authority was held on 4th May at 2 pm in Pragati Mandam, Sundargarh under the chairmanship of the district collector Surendra Kumar Meena. The MCL authority and the district administration have promised to solve all the immediate demands of the affected people within a period of 3 months.
Hundreds of affected people including workers of mines of 4 GPs were sitting in hot summer protest dharanain front of Kulda mines gate at village Tumulia. All the PRI members Hemgiri Block including,block Chairman Mrs. SudharaniRaudia, ZillaParidhad member Mrs. PurabiNaik. PanchayatSamiti member JyotirmayiNaik, KumudBandhuPradhanTumuliaGP Sarpanch, KhyamasilMajhiGopalpurGP Sarpanch,Mrs.ChandrakantiNaikSumara GP Sarpanch, UjagarBaigaBolinga GP sarpanch and all wards members of four GPs took active part in the protest dharana. The protest dharana obstructed the production and transportation of coal from in the Kulda mines.
It is to be noted that over 8000 hectares of patta lands in 14 villages i.e. Tumulia and Kulda (Tumulia G.P), Siarmal, Ratansara, Gopalpur, Karlikachhar, Jhuprunga(Gopalpur G.P), Tikilipada and Sardega(Sumara G.P),Kiripsara(Sangumda G.P), Garjanbahal, Bangurkela, Bolinga and Bamkibala (Bolinga) G.Ps were acquired under Section 4(1), 7(i), 9 of the Coal Bearing Areas (Acquisition and Development) Act, 1957 in 1987-89 and Finally, vide notification dated 20.03.1993 issued under Section 11 of the CBA, allrights in the acquired lands were vested in the Mahanadi Coal Field Ltd(MCL) w.e.f 17.11.1991. And since then there is ban order in land transitions in these villages leading to many problems for the locals.
Despite land acquisition in 1987/89, physical land acquisition took place in different periods of times. So also the compensation and rehabilitation took place after many years of land acquisition. Village Bankibahal compensated in 1998, Balinga compensated in 2000, Sardega and Tikilipadacompensated in 2004-05, Kulapada(hamlet of Gopalpur in 1996 and in 2014 etc. Thus compensation in many villages is under process following the constitution of Claim Commission based on the direction of SC in July 2010. Even actual survey has not been taken place in many villages. Thus due to delay and denial of proper compensation, employment and R&R to the land losers, many litigations are filed in the Supreme Court and High court.
It is to be noted that about 64.52 per cent of the Govt. land in these 14 villages is forest land where the community people have their individual and community rights recognized under FRA, 2006. Besides, Jamkani, Pandaripani, Garjanbahal,Lalma Reserve forest is surrounded all these 14 villages where community rights under FRA is recognized.As per the information provided by HemgiriTahasildar (Memo No 1846/dated 18th Oct 2016), in these 14 MCL affected villages only 602 IFR claims have been filed and 316 IFR claims reported to have been approved and no community forest rights has been recognized in the area. Even many IFR titles said to have been issued are soumoto cancelled by the district administration violating FRA,2006.
Opposition to the Coal Mine expansion
The local affected tribalsof these 14 villages have been consistently opposing the expansion of mining in the area. In 2017, with the support of local political leaders, local community vehemently opposed the Public hearing held on 25th Nov 2017 for the exapansion of Kulda mines as a result the authority had to cancelled the PH. Again around 3000 local affected people on 10th Jan 2018 opposed in the public hearing held for second time for the expansion of the same Kulda mines. Very recently, all the gramsabhasheldGopalpur, Siarmal, Tumulia, Jhuprunga, Ratansaraetc held in Feb and March 2018 unanimously opposed diversion of forest land for the expansion of Basundhara(West) and fornew Siarmal Coal mining in the area demanding recognition of IFR and CFR recognized under FRA, 2006 before forest land diversion.
The major demands are ;Compensation as per the increased price as per LAAR Act, 2013;,Assured employment to the land loser and proper R&R;,Recognition of IFR and CFR rights before land acquisition so that they can avail compensation over those land too.
The 5 days protest dharana was called off based on the assurance given by MCL authorities in the presence of the Sundargarh district collector, Shree Surendra Kumar Meenafor the fulfillment of immediate demands of the affected villages i.e.,control of blasting through DGMS by MCL, finalization of PAF list of Basundhara mines affected people, supply of drinking water in all the affected villages and to create whatsapps group to monitor the water supply, use of sparkling machine to control dust and formation of a committee to control and monitor dust, installation of solar street lights, identification and finalization of R&R colony within 45 days, periphery development and special grievance cell for MCL affected people at collector office etc.