Talcher: The people of Balungakhamar village under this block in Angul district have been robbed of their peace of mind and source of sustenance ever since their 199-acre village was acquired by MCL authorities, a report said.
They have not only lost their ancestral fertile land for a song, but have also become jobless after their dreams of being absorbed by the company got shattered.
The land losers have been leading pitiable lives after acquisition of the village by the mining authorities between 1989 and 2005 in pursuit of coal, it was learnt. According to reports, most of the 200 families living in the village have left the place with no solution to their problems in sight.
But a few are yet to detach themselves from their roots. Neither have they got compensation nor job in the company after losing their land. At least 35 families still live in the village expecting assistance from the company despite having no access to basic amenities.
“We have no electricity connection at our homes while muddy water frequently enters our houses in the rainy season. Besides, coal dust generated by the plying of hundreds of heavy vehicles on the coal corridor have made out lives miserable,” Kandarpa Behera, Chatura Nahak and others, who live in a hazardous state near MCL’s OB dump, said.
On the other hand, only 50 persons have got jobs in the company after repeated demonstrations while the land losers have got a maximum compensation of `40,000, it was learnt. Despite such injustice meted out to them, the oustees continue to live in unhygienic conditions expecting job and compensation for their off-spring, said a land loser Nilakantha Behera.
“My fate has been sealed under red tape at the company’s head office. At present I am working as a daily labourer under a contractor whereas I should have got a job about three years ago after losing my forefather’s land,” Nilakantha lamented.
Similarly, the land of Athani Behera (60), whose family has been living in the village for over a century, has been acquired by MCL.
As the company decided to pay only Rs 48,000 for eight rooms, Athani didn’t receive the compensation saying the amount was too less to plan something for survival.
The family has decided not to vacate the land until their last breath unless a member gets job and proper compensation for their land, it was learnt.
It is alleged MCL authorities don’t bother to recognise the problems of the villagers after acquiring their land.
Company’s land acquisition officer Majhiram Pradhan couldn’t be contacted over the issue. PNN