Rashmi Rekha Das

Protesting the construction of a fertilizer company on land acquired by mega steel plant of Tata Group, as many as 100 villagers barged into the construction site on Tuesday at Kalipalli area near Chhatrapur in Ganjam district on Tuesday.  Tension ran high at the locality after a scuffle broke out between police and villagers.

According to sources, Deepak Fertilizer started its construction work a few days back. The construction work was in full swing in the past two days. However it did not go well with the villagers and they held a meeting before forcefully entering into the site despite resistance from police officials, administrative officials and company workers.

The protestors reportedly broke the police cordon and took possession of the site.  All they wanted to halt the construction of the fertilizer company there. Because they believe that the environment will be polluted after setting up of the company. Also, residents will fall ill due to release of contaminated water and air.  

It is pertinent to note that the government had acquired about 6,000 acres of land for the setting up of Tata’s mega steel plant in 1995-96. Then the land owners readily agreed to part with their arable lands as the proposed plant was expected to not only create employment but also help improve the financial condition of the local people. 

Meanwhile, 26 years have passed but the construction work for the proposed plant has not progressed beyond a boundary wall. With the proposed plant appearing to be far-fetched, a great deal of resentment has already been there among the landowners and local residents. 

Amid this, the recent announcement of the government to return only 206 acres of land to their owners has only added fuel to fire. 
Tehsildar said, “As per the court’s order, we were carrying out construction work when they barged into the site.  Discussion is the only way to sort out the issue.”

Additional Superintendent of Police PK Dalai official said, “Around 400 residents of Kalipalli villagers entered into the company site and stopped construction work there. Due to the scuffle, sub-divisional police officer among four jawans sustained injuries.