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Mrunal Manmay Dash

The Lanjiberna mining expansion proposal of the erstwhile Odisha Cements Limited (OCL), now Dalmia Cement (Bharat) Ltd (DCBL), in Rajgangpur and Kutra blocks of Sundargarh district hit another roadblock when tribal villagers took out a huge protest rally at the district Collector’s office on Friday.

Sources said villagers of the Gram Panchayats, led by the Rajgangpur MLA CS Rajen Ekka and former MLA George Tirkey, opposed the land acquisition for the project.

As per reports, the administration has begun the process of acquiring land in Kutra, Alanda, Keshramal, and Jhagarpur Panchayats under the Rajgangpur block for the expansion of lime stone mine leased to OCL.

Speaking to OTV, MLA Rajen Ekka said, “If the government wants to allot tribal land to the company, then it should do it as per the provisions under the Constitution. We have raised this question in the Assembly, submitted memorandum to the Governor. A case in this connection is sujudice as well. We will intensify the stir if our demands are not met.”

Bibal Tappo, a protester said, “If the government thinks that we do not abide by the rule of law, then they can shoot us on our chest. But we will never hand over our land to them.”

In October 2018, the administration had held public hearing of the Odisha State Pollution Control Board for DCBL’s mining expansion proposal. But it was disrupted midway by tribals. Administrative sources said the company cannot move ahead with its mining expansion proposal as Gram Sabha approval for land acquisition and pollution clearance are mandatory.

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