Lower Suktel Action Committee starts Jal Satyagraha

Bolangir: Protesting the alleged apathy of Odisha Government towards lower Suktel project displaced, the Lower Suktel Action Committee started its indefinite ‘Jal Satyagraha’ from Khagsabahal in Bolangir. The committee demanding compensation to displaced according to 2013 rehabilitation and resettlement policy and completion of the project in stipulated time, decided to go on with its stir as a two-hour long meeting ended inconclusive on Sunday.

According to reports, people from as many as 14 villages under the project area are taking part in the movement. On the first day, the protesters are observing satyagraha in river Suktel near Khagsabahal village, today. They also took part in a bike rally earlier in the day.Till last reports came in, the agitators continued their indefinite stir braving heavy rain in evening as well.

Yesterday, the members of the local outfit met district Collector, Bolangir SP, chief engineer of Suktel project and land procurement officer and held discussion on the issue.

The action committee has also expressed its discontentment over the slower pace of Suktel project despite sanction of huge funds by the government. It also held a week-long fast-unto-death in 2012 as the project work was stalled without any specified reason. While the project got Rs 217 Cr fund in 1999, the same was Rs 1042 Cr and Rs 2448 Cr in 2009 and 2016 respectively.

“We have been protesting since 2012 to demanding compensation guidelines under the 2013 rehabilitation and resettlement policy, and completion of the project within the deadline,” said Chairman of Lower Suktel Action Committee Gopalaki Panigrahi.

“I will protest indefinitely. I have no concern for my own life. The only thing that I am concerned about is how we all displaced people get our compensation as per the 2013 guidelines and the displaced persons are properly rehabilitated,” said Convenor of the Lower Suktel Action Committee Bikramanand Bahidar.

Meanwhile, 2 platoon police force and a medical team have been stationed at the satyagraha site to deal with any eventuality. On the other hand, Bolangir Collector has made an appeal to the committee to call off the ‘satyagraha.