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Mrunal Manmay Dash

Coal mining and transportation at the Hingula mine under Mahanadi Coal Fields Limited (MCL) came to a grinding halt on Thursday after the locals of Gopal Prasad village in Talcher staged a sit-in in front of the mine.

As per reports, hundreds of locals from the nearest Gopal Prasad village crippled the mining and transportation of coal from the Hingula mines by sitting on a dharna. They demanded immediate rehabilitation and employment of the beneficiaries who have lost their land due to coal mining.

They demanded to include the 192 acre land at Phase-3 in Gopal Prasad under the rehabilitation scheme and provide jobs to each member from the 140 families evicted from the land for mining.

While no comments could be obtained from the MCL authorities, the mining and transportation of coal was badly affected by the protest.

A protester said, “The land at Phase-3 is yet to be award-passed. The MCL authorities had promised us to complete all the process and employ us, but nothing has happened till now.”

“We will not buzz from this place and continue to stage dharna unless the authorities come true on their promises,” he added.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had registered a case against four officials of MCL (a subsidiary of Coal India Ltd) and 25 companies including Adani Power Ltd, JK Paper Ltd, JSL Ltd, Jindal Steel and Power Ltd, IFFCO, Emami Biotech Ltd, ACC Ltd, Vedanta Limited among others. The case relates to the supply of coal through rail rake under Fuel Supply Arrangements (FSAs), which caused a loss of Rs 97 crore to MCL.

The CBI in its FIR had alleged that the four named MCL officials and 25 companies conspired with the intention to defraud MCL in a matter relating to supply of coal by it to the companies through rail rake under FSAs.

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