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JVM set to grill govt over Panem

Ranchi, Nov. 25: The state government can prepare itself to be cornered by the JVM over the question of fully honouring a 2006 agreement signed by Panem Coal Mines Limited to benefit displaced people in Pakur district, with party chief Babulal Marandi continuing to lead the agitation against the company.

“The Arjun Munda government is hand in glove with Panem, but we are not going to give up so easily. Munda had also strongly opposed Panem’s operations in 2004. He will have to give specific replies in the Assembly,” JVM principal general secretary Pradeep Yadav told The Telegraph.

Marandi, who has been sitting on an indefinite dharna near the company’s office in Amrapara, Pakur, for the last 10 days, was joined by supporters from neighbouring Sahebganj district today.

Senior Congress member and former deputy chief minister Stephen Marandi as well as activists of Rajmahal Pahad Bachao Andolan and other outfits have been supporting the JVM, which has stepped up its economic blockade against Panem — a joint venture of EMTA and Punjab State Electricity Board — in Santhal Pargana.

The JVM has been demanding execution of an MoU signed between Panem and the displaced people in 2006.

Marandi has also been insisting that either the company’s chairman or a member of his board of directors and a senior representative of the government should come to the spot and openly declare that the MoU would be executed in totality.

The economic blockade, which began two days ago, has not been lifted though Panem officials had met the striking politicians on Thursday.

Tomorrow, JVM’s youth wing will stage demonstrations at the headquarters of the six districts of Santhal Pargana, while its Scheduled Tribes front will protest at all the block headquarters of the region on Tuesday.

Yadav added the coal extracted from the deposits in Pakur was being weighed in Bengal in the absence of a weighbridge, which was against rules.

Further, the company received 14 per cent subsidy on diesel and sold the fuel to transporters at market prices, even as the government remained mute spectators, he alleged.

Meanwhile, Marandi has questioned how many families have so far been displaced in Pachuara and the quantum of compensation given to them as well as the pay structure of the people who have been handed compensatory jobs.