The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Singur fuels unrest at IISCO site

Burnpur, June 14: Villagers of Purushottampur in Burnpur today prevented IISCO authorities from taking possession of about 240 acres acquired in 1989, demanding compensation to match that of Singur.

The villagers’ resistance has blocked work on the Rs 10,000-crore expansion and modernisation of the IISCO steel plant in the Asansol sub-division.

About 350 families of Purushottampur argue that the compensation they got in 1989 for their non-agricultural land was inadequate. They are now demanding revised compensation to match that of Singur and also a job for a member from each family at the plant.

“Singur and Nandigram have shown us the way. We will give our land only on our terms,” said Akhil Chandra, a 40-year-old grocer and member of the Purushottampur Land-Losers’ Committee.

The villagers moved the high court in January. On June 11, the court dismissed the committee’s petition challenging the legality of the acquisition. Today, about 200 villagers chased out executives of the steel plant when, armed with the high court order, they went to inspect the site, about 250 km from Calcutta.

IISCO has paid the government Rs 40 crore for 305 acres in the Purushottampur, Nagrasoda and Hirapur mouzas. “We paid the government Rs 88 lakh as advance in 1989. We paid another Rs 39.12 crore in September 2006,” said an IISCO official.

Asansol sub-divisional officer A.P. Roy said: “We started distributing compensation cheques to the villagers from September 2006. The land-losers of Nagrasoda and Hirapur accepted the cheques but those of Purushottampur refused.”

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