Himansu Shekhar Rout

Coal extraction and transportation in MCL-owned Hingula mines at Talcher came to a halt on Monday as over a hundred unemployed youths from nearby Gopal Prasad village staged a sit-in in front of the mine's gate.  

As per reports, local youths have been demanding jobs, rehabilitation, and relocation of their families from the coal-bearing area. They said the MCL had notified the village for acquisition as part of its expansion project 14 years ago.

Agitating youths and villagers alleged that MCL is not relocating over 400 families of Gopal Prasad village even 14 years after its notification. No steps are being taken for their settlement and jobs for youths, they complained.
Prashant Behera, one of the agitators said, “The MCL authorities have been giving us assurances time and again on jobs and relocation. But nothing is being done. In 2010, the MCL authorities visited three villages including Gopal Prasad, Malibandh, and Kusumpal. They told us that the villages would be relocated and residents would be given jobs. A notification was issued for relocation. Thirteen years have passed, but no steps have been taken for relocation or jobs.”

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He also alleged that no mining is being done in the two other villages, but the people are being provided all facilities.

Rajendra Singh, another agitator, said, “We had several meetings with MCL and the district administration about our demands in the past. The MCL authorities have been trying to evade the issues.”   

However, no response was received from MCL authorities.