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Land-losers cry foul

It’s a classic lesson in mismanagement for rehab planners.

Jharia Rehabilitation Development Authority (JRDA) held a meeting with Belgarhia land-losers on Monday to address compensation for 45 acres.

Earlier, coal major Bharat Coking Coal Limited (BCCL) had taken the land to construct an open cast mine, but later gave it to JRDA to build 2,000 more homes for Jharia underground fire victims.

More than 20 displaced Belgarhia residents on Monday presented a charter of demands that included jobs, monthly compensation along with accumulated interest, a certificate from JRDA declaring them as displaced and their rehabilitation with all necessary facilities. They also asked for security of their religious sites.

The Belgarhia displaced also sought the list of 54 people who, according to BCCL, have been provided jobs in lieu of land lost, and alleged a disparity in numbers.

Nepal Chandra Mahto, a displaced resident, said: “BCCL claims to have given jobs to 54 land-losers. But, we see only 21 who got jobs.”

He added that they have demanded the land-losers’ list from BCCL. General manager (estate) S.K. Chaudhary promised to submit the roster to JRDA on Tuesday, he added.

Rehabilitation and resettlement in-charge Gopalji said he would be able to comment only after talking to Dhanbad deputy commissioner Prashant Kumar, also the ex-officio managing director of JRDA.

JRDA, implementing the Rs 7,028-crore Jharia master plan, invited residents for this meeting on April 9 when land-losers had protested on the site.

Land losers had earlier staged demonstrations in September and again in November last year to demand compensatory jobs. The issue was sorted out with the intervention of former Sindri MLA Rajkishor Mahto on February 18 and first phase of construction of 560 quarters on 7.58 acre began.