Mrunal Manmay Dash

Hundreds of displaced tribals from Kutra and Rajgangpur areas in Odisha's Sundargarh district staged a silent protest holding placards at Rajgangpur bypass on Thursday. They were demanding to halt the land acquisition process by a private company for expansion of limestone mining in the area.

As per reports, Dalmia Bharat Cements Limited (DBCL) has been given the nod to expand its limestone mining activities in 800 acres of land under Kutra and Rajgangpur blocks.

However, the tribals who have been living there since ages and are set to be displaced by the mining expansion, are vehemently opposing the move by the Odisha government.

As the district is all set to host the biggest carnival of world hockey in a few days, the tribals of Kutra and Rajgangpur have made it a point to show their displeasure in the mining expansion to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik who inaugurated the brand new hockey stadium in Rourkela on Thursday.

A local, Albert Kindo said, “We are protesting here because five panchayats, including Kesramal, Balanda and Kukuda, are being handed over to the DBCL by the Odisha government. This area is renowned for hockey and a lot of great players have emerged out of here. But it is unfortunate that despite our repeated requests, the State government has turned a deaf ear to our demands.”

“We will never let the company take over our land. There are a lot of international players and Olympians who belong to this area. This is not right to start mining on our lands,” said, Imlus Bilung, a protester.

(Reported By Bijay Barua, OTV)