Balangir: People affected by Lower Suktel Irrigation project expressed resentment over the restart work of the project that has been remaining stopped since July this year.
Angry villagers picketed the District Collector Arindam Dakua and Chief Construction
Engineer Prabhat Rout while they had gone to the project site for the restart work. Agitated villagers, including women, gheroaed the two officers and others who accompanied them and stopped them from restarting the project work.
The villagers demanded onetime settlement of compensation as per the Land Acquisition Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act 2013.
“Our demand include implementation of Land Acquisition Act 2013 and payment of compensation as per the rules in the act, onetime payment of compensation rather than by installments, rehabilitation of homeless people on priority basis, providing record of rights of land to the displaced people, treating of Mahua trees as fruit bearing tress and payment of compensation for their feeling accordingly,” the villagers said.
They warned that they would not allow the project work until their longstanding demands were fulfilled. The officials had to return red-faced following the protest of the affected villagers.
Dakua and Rout had gone to the project site to plan the restart work. As soon as the news spread nearly 200 villagers gathered at the site and gheroaed the two officers.
A resident of Kuntapali, one of the 26 villages that are likely to be submerged due to the project said “It is unfortunate that the administration is trying to restart the work without taking us into confidence. We have certain demands that the administration must consider before resuming work of the project.”