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Ramakanta Biswas

Nabarangpur: Residents displaced by Indravati reservoir project in the district on Wednesday gheraoed the administrative office of the hydroelectricity project and warned the authorities of escalating their protest in case their demands are not fulfilled within the stipulated time period.

The protestors threatened that they will not hesitate to release water from the dam into the river as part of their protest if their 14-point charter of demands is not fulfilled within the next 15 days.

"About 20,000 displaced residents will assemble and close down the intake gate of the reservoir at Mahulpatna and also open the gates of Indravati, Deopalli and Muran dams and release the water into the river," said the secretary of Budi Anchal Gana Parishad.

According to sources, as many as 6133 families had to resettle after being displaced due to the construction of the project almost 30 years ago. Though the State government had announced Rs 16 crore for rehabilitation, the evictees allege that they are yet to get any compensation. The locals also alleged that they have not been granted their land deeds of the place where they currently live.

"A provision of Rs 16 crore allocated in the budget for us remained just in pen and paper. Nothing has been done for us so far. If our pleas go unheard, we will launch a massive protest in coming days and disrupt the electricity project by closing the intake gates," said Iswar Suna, president of Budi Anchal Gana Parishad, Khatiguda.

The council has also submitted a memorandum of demands at the Upper Indravati Hydro Electricity Project office.

Gagan Bihari Sahu, executive engineer of Upper Indravati Hydro Electricity Project, Khatiguda, assured that the demands of the residents will be fulfilled soon.

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