Bhubaneswar, Aug 24:
Hundreds of people displaced by the Multi Purpose Hirakud Big Dam Project held a protest rally at PMG sqauer here under the banner of Budi Anchal Sangram Samittee (BASS) and demanded the immediate rehabilitation and resettlement of around 26,561 families of 369 villages displaced from undivided Sambalpur district. Waving banners and placards, they raised slogans against the state government for reneging on the commitments made by it in this regard.
“The State Government had promised to issue land titles to all the Hirakud Dam displaced families and to take up joint survey of the un-surveyed villages in 2008. It had also directed the concerned district Collectors to issue homestead land titles and to pay all unpaid compensations to displaced families by June 30, 2012. However all these promises have remained just promises and have never been met,” said Gopinath Majhi, the General Secretary of BASS.
“Till date, as many as 9944 displaced families have not been paid any compensation whatsoever. Due to our consistent struggle, state government had announced payment of ex-gratia compensation to 3540 families in March 11, 1993 and sanctioned Rs 2.66 crore for them, leaving out 6404 displaced families. However, many families even among these 3540 families have not yet received the compensation amount.” Basudev Bhoi, president of BASS informed the media.
Later BASS member submitted a memorandum to Revenue Minister SN Patro and requested him to resolve all outstanding issues of Hirakud displaced families and to fulfil all promises the State Government had made to them from time to time. The demands made in the memorandum included settlement of promised 10 decimals of homestead land to all displaced and affected families, conversion of Deputy Commissioner (DC) patta issued to the Hirakud Dam displaced families into permanent patta, survey and settlement of 34 un-surveyed villages lying above 632 Reservoir Level (RL) of the Hirakud Dam, payment of un-paid compensation to Rayats, Jhankar, Choukidar, Dhoba and Nariha etc and settlement of periphery land laying in between 630 to 632 RL.
The families, displaced in 1955-56 by the Hirakud Big Dam project, settled in many parts of Jharsuguda, Sambalpur, Bargarh, Sundargarh and Sonepur districts – some of them even in neighbouring Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand. Out of these 26,561 families displaced, around 11, 000 families settled in the periphery of the Hirakud Reservoir.