Balangir, Jan 19:
Protesting against acquisition of land for the Lower Suktel project without any prior notice, members of an affected family in Pardhiapali village in the project area staged a dharna before the residence of Balangir district collector on Saturday.
Talking to reporters here, the family members alleged that the police forcibly took possession of their land and destroyed the brinjal that they had grown. They said the police also damaged the paddy that they had stored in the yarn.
“We were not informed beforehand either by the district administration or the police about the acquisition of our land. They took the action when we had gone to another village to attend a social function. The police on the other hand, arrested other members of our family”, a grief-stricken family member Gyana Gadatya said.
The family members also took strong exception to the silence of the social activists. “Had they been active, they would have protested the ruthless act of the police,” they pointed out.
The family members, however, withdrew the dharna after the district collector M Muthukumar told them that he had sent a team of officials to inquire into the damages and take necessary steps accordingly.
Earlier in the day, hundreds of villagers of Pardhiapali staged a road blockade near Banadurga temple stalling the project work.
It may be mentioned that the police had arrested four persons on Friday after they tried to obstruct the project construction work at the dam site at Pardhiapali. Of the four arrested, police later handed over a juvenile to the Child Welfare Committee. Besides, a woman, also arrested by the police, was released on bail on Saturday.
According to Balangir SP Ravi Prakash, the two others would be released soon.