MCL coal production hit

Talcher: Coal production in HIngula area of Mahanadi Coalfileds Limited (MCL) in Angul district remained severly hit for three weeks due to a blockade by local people who lost their land for the Gopal Prasad West Coal Block.

Though Gopal Prasad coal block, earlier given to private companies, had been deallocated, the people claimed that they should be given adequate compensation for loss of land. The blockade entered 21st day today, police said.

As the local people do not allow movement of coal from the area, production loss due to the agitation is pegged at 10,000 tonnes per day, a spokesman of MCL said in a statement.

At least 128 Hectares out of a total of 290 Hectares of the Bhalugadia village in Gopalprasad West Block — originally acquired by the company — had been allocated along with Utkal-A block to MJSJ Ltd – a JV of MCL, Jindal Power, Jindal Steel, and Shyam DRI – in 2005.

This was subsequently de-allocated after Supreme Court verdict last year. While the Utkal-A block featured in the list of de-allocated blocks, status of 128 hectares land of Bhalugudia village lies unclear.

However, the MCL authorities claimed that 56 jobs have been offered to the families of Bhalugadia village having land under MCL. But the operations at Hingula Area were stopped by villagers demanding employment to remaining 62 families in the company whose land was reallocated to the MJSJ Ltd.

“As the affected people have not lost their land for the MCL project, the CPSU is not in a position to offer jobs to the villagers of Bhalugadia. The affected villagers land, in fact, falls under the de-allocated coal block,” the MCL statement said.

MCL which set a target of 150 million tonnes coal production during current financial year, has written to the ministry seeking clarification with regards to the status of 128 hectares known as West of Gopal Prasad (West).