Sambalpur: The state government has recently announced that land pattas will be provided to 2,000 families displaced by Hirakud dam in Jharsuguda.
Following this announcement, people displaced by the dam project in Sambalpur, Sundargarh and Bargarh have accused the state government of discrimination towards them.
It may be noted here that in 2001, the state government had announced to provide 10 decimal of land to all the oustees of the Hirakud dam.
It was alleged that the government has remembered its announcement now, after 19 years. Hirakud Budi Anchal Sangram Samiti, an outfit for displaced people, staged protests in front of the RDC office here Thursday.
The activists of the outfit lambasted the state government for neglecting their cause. They alleged that applications of all the displaced families in Jharsuguda for land have not been considered for allocation.
The outfit claimed that 2,719 displaced families from Sambalpur, 3,100 from Sundargarh, 650 from Bargarh and 10,465 from Jharsuguda had applied for homestead land.
“As per official announcement, all oustees would be provided with 10 decimal of land. However, only 2,000 oustees have been identified for the land allocation,” they rued.
The outfit also pointed out that the government has asked the oustees to furnish land records as old as 65 years and other documents to avail the benefits.
Most of the displaced families do not have those documents to prove their claims, while heads of many displaced families have died long back, the outfit said.
“Such an announcement for land pattas is nothing but a farce. This is a lollypop. Another 20 years will pass by, but nothing will happen in reality,” fumed Gopinath Majhi of Hirakud Budi Anchal Sangram Samiti.
It is worth mentioning here that the government had identified 26,501 families as displaced by the Hirakud dam in 1955-56. The outfit alleged that then only 13,470 families were rehabilitated, while only 50 per cent of the compensation was provided to them.
In 1987, the then minister Jugal Kishore Pattnaik, replying to a question in the Assembly on the rehabilitation and resettlement, had said that 9,913 oustees had not been paid compensation.
After repeated demands and agitations, the government provided only Rs 10,000 as compensation per acre to 3,540 oustees each.