Reported by Ranjan Rath
Kashipur(Rayagada), Nov 7:
Accusing double standards by Utkal Alumina International Ltd (UAIL) in the recruitment of local tribals, hundreds of tribal people from Rayagada and Kalahandi districts in Odisha staged a mass dharna near Kashipur on Thursday.
According to reports, the tribal people from Maligan, Kupakhala, Surugunja, Barjakhala, Bhejapadar, Kebidi and Dangasakhala villages of Rayagada district and Kendumundi, Odri, Surajgarhat and Durmusi villages of Kalahandi district congregated at Maligan village of Kashipur block in the Rayagada district.
Talking to OST, the tribals alleged that the authorities of Utkal Alumina, during acquisition of land for bauxite mining at Baphlamali hill, had assured them that they would provide jobs to the local tribals in the plant.
“Leave alone the jobs, the tribals, who had lost their livelihood after their land was acquired by the company, have not been allowed to work in its mining area even as daily wagers till date. Besides, the company has not taken any step for the development of the areas in its periphery”, they added.
They also alleged that the company has fraudulently taken possession of the forest land allotted to them by the state government in 2005.
The construction of the UAIL plant had begun at Doraguda in Kashipur block in 1992 but it is yet to be fully operational. Presently, only one unit of the plant has been operationalised.
It may be recalled here that three tribal protesters were killed in police firing during a demonstration against the setting up of the plant at Maikanch village of Kashipur block on December 16, 2000.
While the company is all set to fully operationalise the plant after 22 years, the affected tribal people are now bracing up for a massive protest against the “duplicity” of the company unless it fulfils the promises it had made earlier.