Land acquisition for BALCO opposed

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Raigarh, Apr 9 (UNI) More than 5,000 people of three villages in Dharamjaigarh tahsil of Raigarh district have launched an agitation following the Chhattisgarh government's move to acquire their land to hand it over to the privatised Bharat Aluminium Company Limited (BALCO) for coal mining.

Residents of Baisi, Baisi colony and Taraimal have launched a sit-in dharna in their villages after the authorities issued a notification for land acquisition and invited objections from the public.

Mr Panchram Sahu, a former Sarpanch of Taraimal gram panchayat, said people were agitated over the state government move to acquire 'fertile' land for open cast mining of coal. ''The move to acquire 1027 hectares of land would not only displace people of three villages but also destroy their crops'', he said.

Pointing out that majority of the population in these villages were refugees from Bangladesh, he said these people had worked hard for many years to convert barren land to a cultivable one and were now growing vegetables and other crops.

''The people are not ready to leave the villages and handover the land for mining operations'', he said.

The villagers were taken aback after the authorities pasted the notices on every house in the villages, he added.

Dharamjaigarh sub-divisional magistrate I S Agrawal said a notification under section four was issued, inviting objections as required under the law for initiating the process for land acquisition.

''We have received a large number of written objections which will be examined before the government takes a final decision'', he added.

UNI XC JJ SP SB GC1458

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