Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Cuttack, Aug 12:
The Odisha High Court has issued a notice to the state government in connection with the ongoing land acquisition for the Bhushan Steel company for expansion of its plant at Kantabania in Dhenkanal district.
A division bench of the court comprising Justice Pradip Mohanty and Justice Biswajit Mohanty issued the notice to the Revenue secretary, chairman of Odisha State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB), Dhenkanal collector, land acquisition officer, Dhenkanal, IDCO managing director and chairman of Bhushan Steel in response to a writ petition filed by Chakradhar Behera, Somnath Behera and Jaladhar Behera.
Besides, the court also issued notices to the aforesaid officials and the Bhushan chairman while admitting a Misc case filed by the petitioners for a stay order on the ongoing land acquisition at Sarpa and Metikapasi mouzas of Meramundali block.
It may be mentioned that the state government had signed a MoU with the Bhushan Steel company for a 3 million tonne integrated steel plant at Kantabania in 2005.
Later, in 2008, the state government had signed another MoU with the company for its expansion in view of its capacity enhancement from 3 million tonnes to 6 million tonnes for which the Revenue department had issued a notification on September 6, 2011 on acquisition of 93.450 acres of land in Sarpa mouza. This was followed by another notification issued on December 9, 2011for then acquisition of 144.350 acres of land in Metikapasi mouza.
However, protesting the notification, the petitioners had moved the High Court alleging gross violation of section 6 (1) of the Land Acquisition Act since the land earmarked for acquisition was fertile agricultural land.
The petitioners had prayed to the court to direct the state government to cancel the acquisition of the land as well as the MoU it had signed with Bhushan Steel.