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Fruitful end to blockade talks

Bhubaneswar, March 5: The tribals of Kalinga Nagar today agreed to lift the Daitari-Paradip highway blockade after a meeting with the Jajpur district administration.

The talks hold out for hope for a solution to the deadlock that started with the death of 13 villagers in police firing on January 2 last year.

At the meeting held in Kalinga Nagar this afternoon, representatives of the Bisthapan Virodhi Jan Manch (BVJM) — the body leading the anti-displacement agitation — and senior district officials discussed several points to end the impasse.

At the end of the talks that lasted around four hours, the villagers relented after a “resolution” from the officials to consider their demands.

“They agreed to lift the road blockade after it was resolved that the chopped palms of their kin would be returned,” said district welfare officer S.P Bhuyan. He said the tribals also agreed to accept ex-gratia payment for the dead villagers and demanded compensation for 38 people who reportedly sustained injuries in the clash with police.

Jajpur collector Arabinda Padhee described the talks as fruitful. “I am hopeful that the roadblock will be lifted tomorrow,” he said.

BVJM president Chakradhar Haiburu and secretary Rabindra Jarika represented the villagers while Padhee, police superintendent Asit Panigrahi and Bhuyan were present from the administration.

Jarika told The Telegraph over phone that they would lift the blockade following the return of the chopped palms along with scientific reports and initiation of the process for withdrawal of cases against some anti-displacement villagers.

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