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Water plant takes off

Construction of the much-delayed Jamadoba water treatment plant kicked off on Tuesday with Dhanbad deputy commissioner Prashant Kumar performing bhoomi pujan amidst protests by a section of Patia villagers.

The 143-million litre capacity plant, part of the Rs 298-crore Phase III of Dhanbad Water Supply Scheme under JNNURM, will be established at a cost of Rs 33.3 crore. Once completed, it will provide drinking water to far-flung areas of Dhanbad that were left uncovered under the first two phases of the project.

A few residents of Patia village led by BJP leader Chanda Devi opposed the bhoomi pujan, arguing that while some of them, who had to part with their plots for the plant, had been promised jobs, other land losers had not been compensated.

A firm Kumar, however, made it clear that jobs and compensation had been given at the time of acquisition way back in 1963 and there was no question for offering fresh employment. “Those not satisfied can go to court,” he said.

As many as 11 villagers had staked claim to the 10-acre plot that had been earmarked for the plant. At a meeting with the villagers on October 12, district officials decided that only five would get jobs according to existing rules that say that one person per 2 acres was entitled to employment as compensation. Two villagers — Shaktipado Turi and Manoj Turi — were selected for jobs at implementing agency Larsen & Toubro while names of three others were to be decided by a committee.

But the DC promised that Patia would be developed as a model village and residents would be entitled to benefits like Indira Awas Yojana. “Two roads will also be constructed as part of infrastructure development. We will also ensure electricity and healthcare services,” Kumar said.

Apart from the DC, sub-divisional officer Lal Mohan Mahto, ADM (law and order) B.P.L. Das, Dhanbad circle officer Vishal Kumar, Jharia circle officer Rinku Kumari, SDO of drinking water and sanitation Prabhat Shankar Prasad, managing director of Mineral Area Development Authority Alok Trivedi and additional collector Vinay Kumar Rai were present.