Tata Steel facing farmer's opposition over steel project in Chattisgarh

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Dhura Village (Chattisgarh) Feb 5 (ANI): Tata Steel, India's largest steel maker in private sector is facing farmers' opposition over a proposed Rs.100-billion steel plant in the naxal affected Bastar district of Chattisgarh.

The farmers are not willing to part with their land.

The company has offered rupees one lakh per acre for barren land, rupees 1.5 lakh per acre for single cropland and rupees two lakh per acre for a multi cropland, besides job to one adult from each affected family.

The steel major has also promised one acre and maximum 2.47-acre land under 'land for land compensation scheme' for those who have given away 75 per cent to 100 per cent of their holdings.

Reports say that Tata Steel has paid nearly Rs.368.3 million to 1,064 farmers through the State Government

In June 2005, the steel major signed an agreement with the State Government to set up the plant, with an annual manufacturing capacity of five million tones.

However, some farmers are now opposing the project and refuse the compensation being offered to them.

"I will not protest against it. I simply don't want to give my land to anybody at all.," said Toka Ram, a villager.

Some villagers said the land was being forcibly acquired.

"I don't want to give away my land. Where would we go after giving away this land? We have to take care of our kids. This is our forefather's land," said Maghu Ram another villager.

However State Chief Minister, Raman Singh spoke in favour of the project claiming it to be beneficial for the future generations and for the development of the backward Bastar region.

"Nearly 70 to 80 per cent villagers have accepted the money after giving away their land which means that these people want it. But the rest of 20-25 percent are being made to understand that this would be for their own benefit. They will get employment themselves and for their children as well, they will get better compensation and they will even get new land and houses. This scheme will prove fruitful for their upcoming generation," said Raman Singh. By Amit Kumar (ANI)

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