Reported by Malay Ray
Sundargarh, Feb 6:
Protesting land acquisition for expansion of a power plant, hundreds of tribals led by Biramitrapur MLA George Tirkey today staged a demonstration at the site of Rourkela Steel Plant (RSP) in Odisha’s Steel City opposing the construction of ash pond.
Under the aegis of Sundargarh Zilla Adivasi Mulabasi Banchao Sangha (SZAMBS), the protestors shouted slogans at the site of the proposed site of ash pond of NTPC-SAIL Power Supply company Ltd (NSPCL) a joint venture power company of NTPC and SAIL.
Although, the land measuring over 148 acres of in Rourkela was acquired by RSP during the first phase of land acquisition, the locals have been opposing the construction of anash pond at the site.
Notably, the capacity of the NSPCL power plant is in the processs of being expanded from 120 mega watt (MW) at present to 250 MW in the wake of rise in volume of production of RSP. In view of the expansion, the 148 acres of land adjacent to the existing power plant was earmarked for the ash pond. Since the proposed site was outside the boundary wall of RSP, the construction was opposed by locals. After intervention of the district administration, the construction work, however, commenced from 2nd December last year with deployment of police personnel.
Earlier in the day, the locals who have been protesting the construction work at the site from the beginning under the leadership of George Tirkey, staged a protest at the site. The agitators demanded that the unutilized land be returned to the original land owners as per the provision of law since it has not been utilized for years.
Senior district administration and police officials reached the spot and held discussions with the protesters to diffuse the situation. After discussions, the officials agreed to initiate dialogue with a delegation of protesters within seven days and to stall construction work till the matter is resolved.
“They have been assured that a meeting with the district administration will be organised within next seven days, since the protesters were keen on discussion over land related matters. We also agreed to stop the construction work till that period,” said HS Behera, Sub Collector, Panposh.