Groundwork in progress for setting up 2000 additional flats in Belgarhia on Tuesday. Picture by Gautam Dey
Belgarhia, the model township set up to house underground fire affected families from Jharia, is becoming bigger.
Construction of 2,000 additional flats at a cost of Rs 68.03 crore began on a 7.54 acre plot amid tight security on Monday. This apart, tender for construction of a temple at a cost of Rs 34 lakh was floated on February 16, while a contractor has been selected to construct a mosque at a cost of Rs 18 lakh.
Rehabilitation and resettlement in-charge of Jharia Rehabilitation and Development Authority (JRDA) Gopal Ji said plinth-laying for the construction of new flats began at plot number 55 after successful talks with local villagers who had so far been opposed to the project.
The villagers had protested against levelling work and bhumi pujan that took place on September 12 and November 28 last year respectively. They claimed that their land was acquired by BCCL back in 1986 for a coal dumping site, but they were never given adequate compensation or jobs. The enraged villagers had even damaged construction equipment during their protest on September 12.
ďAs all issues have now been settled after talks with villagers mediated by leaders like former Sindri MLA Rajkishor Mahto, the construction of 560 flats out of the total 2,000 will take place,Ē said Gopal Ji, adding that the remaining flats would come up in a phased manner.
Notably, 1,040 families from underground fire affected areas of Jharia coalfield region including Bokapahari, Ghanudih, North Tisra, Luj Pit and Gwala Basti have so far been rehabilitated in 2,352 quarters in Belgarhia constructed on 45 acres. During the rehabilitation process that began on March 25, 2010, each family was allotted two single-bedroom flats of 18sqm area each.
The 2,000 new flats for which e tenders were issued on December 9, 2011, would be larger. They would be two-bedroom flats covering an area of 25sqm each.
ďThe construction work for the flats, which are to be built in the ground plus three pattern, has to be completed within two years,Ē superintending engineer of JRDA Sunil Dalela said.
Regarding the construction of the temple, which will come up on a 22 decimal plot, Dalela said the project is to be completed in 13 months.
Sources in JRDA said the agency for construction of a mosque at Belgarhia had almost been finalised. Om Prakash Singh and Company had been selected for the project and work order would be awarded soon, following final approval of JRDA chairman Nitin Madan Kulkarni.