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Odisha CM urges Centre to denotify unutilized land acquired by MCL

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Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government urged the Centre to denotify the land acquired by Mahanadi Coalfields Limited (MCL) for coal mining in Angul and Jharsuguda districts.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today wrote a letter to Union Coal Minister Piyush Goyal in this regard demanding to denotify the land notified/acquired under CBA (A&D) Act, but not required for coal mining for next five years may be denotified.

“More than 23,300 hectares of land has been acquired under the CBA (A&D) Act for coal mining projects of the MCL in Angul and Jharsuguda districts alone. Of this, only about 10,700 hectares of land has been utilized so far and 3,400 hectares is planned to be utilised within next five years. Out of the balance area of 9,250 hectares, there are no plans for utilisation of 3,600 hectares even in the next ten years,” Naveen pointed out in the letter.

He said: “The MCL takes up rehabilitation and resettlement of land losers only at the time of its actual utilisation for mining purpose. After vesting of land under the CBA (A&D) Act with the MCL, the land losers are forced to wait indefinitely for rehabilitation and resettlement. These persons are neither able to avail the facilities of development schemes nor can construct structures for their accommodation until they are actually rehabilitated and resettled.”

Naveen said the farmers have been facing problems, whose lands have been acquired under the Coal Bearing Areas (Acquisition & Development) Act (CBA (A&D) Act) for coal mining by the Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd. (MCL), a subsidiary of the Coal India Ltd. (CIL).

“In order to ameliorate the hardships caused to such land losers, it is suggested that land notified / acquired under the CBA (A&D) Act, but not required for coal mining within next five years may be denotified,” the CM added.

Patnaik also requested the Centre that until completion of the rehabilitation and resettlement of all the land losers, the Coal Company should take the responsibility of the local development works and provision of basic amenities for the persons living in the area.

“Further, compensation for all the civil structures constructed by the land owners till the date of displacement should also be paid by the Coal Company,” the CM said in his letter.