Jajpur: Despite Supreme Court’s order in September 2019, the Odisha Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (IDCO) has reportedly failed to reclaim 15-acre land owned by Mesco Steels Ltd at Kalinganagar Industrial Estate in Jakhapura area in the district.
As per reports, the IDCO has sent at least six letters to Mesco authorities and Kalinganagar ADM between July 24, 2020 and February 2022 in this connection but the land is yet to be reclaimed.
Locals suspect that some officials of IDCO are hand in glove with Mesco for which they are intentionally delaying the reclaiming of the 15-acre land on which a hotel-cum-guest house has been built.
Many casual workers and employees of the steel plant owned by Mesco, which has remained shut for the past five years, are leading a miserable life.
Reports said uncertainty looms large on the future of over 800 employees and casual labourers who worked in the Mesco plant.
Members of at least 172 displaced families who have lost their houses, ancestral land and properties due to the ambitious project are now staring at a bleak future with no job or livelihood source.
This development is in contrast to the state government’s claim that establishment of industries in Kalinganagar has helped solve unemployment problem in Jajpur district, said the locals.
Notably, Kalinganagar industrial complex was established in 1990s. People in the district had wholeheartedly welcomed this step of the state government for industrialization in Jajpur as it had opened the gates for employment for local youths. Mesco was the first private industrial unit which had set up its plant in the industrial estate.
Later, the industrial house obtained two iron mines under Joda mining division. Following the hearing of a case on gross irregularities by Mesco, the Supreme Court had imposed a penalty of Rs 924.75 crore on the company.
The company had to shut down as it could not pay the penalty.
Similarly, the SC had directed the administration to collect penalties worth crores of rupees from many other defaulting mining firms and shut them down. However, the amount is still pending.
On the other hand, growth of downstream industries in Kalinganagar Industrial Complex has been disappointing as companies have not received land from IDCO for establishing their units. It has happened because many companies are occupying vast tracts of land and are not handing them over back to IDCO.
Among the major land grabbers is the Mesco Group. It has taken 1,500 acres in the last 24 years.