Subarnarekha project oustees on war path

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Baripada, May 08 (UNI) The multi-crore inter-state Subarnarekha Irrigation Project(SIP) oustees, mostly tribals, have threatened to launch a massive stir along with the oustees of Jharkhand to protest the injustice meted out to them.

A group of SIP oustees from Jharkhand who joined their counterpart from Orissa under the banner of ''Janabadi Abhijan'' and Jharkhand-based ''Visthapit Mukti Vahini''(VMV) said they have no option left but to launch the agitation.

Former Baripada MLA Kishore Dash and the State Convenor alleged that the nearly two-decade old SIP, works for which started in 1986-87, has turned into a white elephant with some vested interests and contractors churning the cream out of it.

The oustees uprooted from their birthplace were still in the wilderness as their social and economic rehabilitation have so far remained elusive, Mr Dash said.

Talking to newsmen here yesterday, the former MLA said a conspiracy has been hatched to suppress the oustees' movement through various repressive measures.

The Rs 790.30 Crore project (as per the Planning Commission approval in December, 1995) was designed to irrigate 1,09,627 hectares of land in the two contiguous districts of Mayurbhanj and Balasore.

The cost, meanwhile, has escalated further between 1995 and 2008, the former MLA said adding that Orissa will get its share of 119.50 cusecs of Subarnarekha water from the Ichha dam and Galudih barrage through the 56.04kms long Galudih Right Bank canal through Jharkhand state The 'snail's pace' progress in last twenty years, however, does not reflect a rosy picture of any benefit coming to the people in the foreseeable future, Mr Dash said, and demanded that the state government should publish a white paper on the present status of the inter-state project.

VMV representative Arvind Anjum said the oustees of both Orissa and Jharkhand would jointly launch a massive stir to realise an ''oustee-friendly'' rehabilitation package.

He warned that in case the oustees' demands are not mitigated they would stall the construction process of the project.

UNI XC-DP KK DB1559

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