Curfew on tribals

For protesting road construction for steel industry hub

By Ashutosh Mishra
Published: Saturday 15 May 2010

“We are tribals and we love our land and our forests that are a part of our culture,” said Kalundia while adding they would not give up their land at any cost. Another bbjm  activist, Dabur Kalundia, alleged the road is being constructed to give police easy access to the villages and suppress the agitation. “Several roads exist in the area. We don’t see the need for a new one,” he said.

The police superintendent said it was not for the villagers to decide if road should be constructed when they have been compensated for land acquired. But the tribals said most families were forced to accept compensation when the state acquired 5,261 hectares (ha) in Kalinga Nagar between 1992 and 1996 for the industrial complex at the rate of Rs 37,000 per 0.4 ha. Subsequently they were given an ex-gratia amount of Rs 63,000 per acre. Villagers said they are also threatened by goons close to politicians who favour the industrialists. State bjp president Jual Oram was pushed around by a pro-industry mob when he led a party delegation to meet Baligotha villagers on April 5. Additional district magistrate Ranjit Mohanty said there was no reason for villagers to oppose the road as it will make the steel plants more accessible and help development.

Earlier, in 2006, 14 tribals were killed in police firing during a protest against industrialization.

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