Saswat Singhdeo

Sundergarh: Tension erupted near Orissa Cement Limited (OCL) campus in Rajgangpur today during the public hearing on mining area expansion following which one person suffered injuries.

According to sources, some protesters tore important papers and ransacked property when the public hearing was underway.

Earlier in the day, thousands of tribal residents had staged protest outside the OCL campus opposing public hearing on mining area expansion.

While the tribals demanded for a public hearing in the affected area of Lanjiberna village, local administration was adamant about its decision to hold the hearing at Dalmia Private Industrial Training Institute in Jhagarpur.

Later, the protesters led by Birmitrapur MLA George Tirkey staged protest in front of Gate no 3 of OCL after being driven out of the campus by police.

As per reports, 25 platoons of police were deployed to maintain law and order situation in the campus.

Earlier this year, in August, a clash had erupted between supporters and opponents of the public hearing on mining area expansion of OCL in Jampali Stadium area of Sundergarh.

Opposing the hearing, hundreds of locals wielding swords and axes locked up two gates of the stadium. Terming the hearing ‘unconstitutional’, the agitators alleged that the gram sabha was not consulted ahead of the public hearing.

As per reports, the OCL proposes to enhance limestone production from 4.2 Million Tonnes Per Annum (MTPA) to 9.5 MTPA and plans to extend its operation over 873 hectares covering nine villages of the district.

Earlier on May 17, the National Commission for Schedule Tribe (NCST) had written to the Governor’s office to allow public hearing only after a social impact assessment study in the area and approval of the affected gram sabhas.