Villagers stage fast unto death demanding rehabilitation

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Kendrapada, Nov 28 (UNI) Hundreds of villagers, including women and children, of sea erosion prone Satabhaya and Kanhupur today began an indefinite fast in front of District Magistrate's office here protesting against the delay in their rehabilitation.

The villagers criticised the step-motherly attitude of the district administration and the state government in expediting the modalities like enumeration of the affected sea erosion prone villagers of Satabhaya and the land acquisition for the resettlement colony.

Earlier, the Satabhaya Rehabilitation Committee, spearheading the agitation, had served a notice to the district administration to undertake the resettlement colony project by November 27 and threatened to launch fast-unto death if the administration failed to take up the much ambitious resettlement colony project at Bagapatia for them.

According Satbhaya sarpanch Shasmita Das, the state government in a high level meeting chaired by the Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on August 12 last had decided to shift the 483 families of the two sea prone villages to a safer place forthwith.

The state government also identified four alternative sites such as Magarkanda, Rabindrapalli, Dantiapada and Padmanav patana for rehabilitating the displaced villagers and directed the District Magistrate to make a field visit and convince the people about the project.

District Magistrate Sisirkanta Panda had visited the place and selected Bagapatia for constructing resettlement colony for the families. But three months had already passed yet no concrete steps had been taken to shift the villagers, Ms Das said.

The villagers had taken a vow before their presiding deity 'Maa Panchbarahi that they would continue their fast-unto death stir till their demands were fulfilled.

When contacted the District Magistrate said some locals had encroached the land, while others had claimed their right over the land at Bagapatia where the resettlement colony would be set up.

He said the district administration had given a proposal to the state government for land acquisition and waiting for the state government's approval in this regard.

Mr Panda had urged the agitators to withdraw their stir and assured them to expedite the project after the state government provided money for land acquisition.

But the villagers have refused to withdraw their agitation.

UNI XC-DP SJC JT RN2010

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