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Protest over ISM power plan

Dhanbad, Nov. 30: Around 300 villagers came out on streets today to protest against a DVC move to erect electricity poles to ensure uninterrupted power supply to Indian School of Mines (ISM).

The agitation forced DVC to suspend work even as ISM held an emergency meeting with villagers’ representatives to discuss ways to resolve the impasse.

According to sources, DVC is planning to set up a 11,000volt overhead line through Dhaiya, Laboni, Dhaiya Melatand, Thakurkuli, Turi Basti and Mandal Basti — an 11km stretch — to connect ISM with its Govindpur substation.

But, residents alleged that neither DVC nor ISM took their permission for using the land to erect poles that would carry high tension wires, which they claimed would pose a risk to hundreds of local residents.

Trouble broke out this morning when a DVC contractor led a team of labourers to erect poles at Dhaiya. They also identified some spots in other villages.

As soon as they got whiff of the plan, residents from all villages assembled at Dhaiya. Tundi MLA Mathura Mahto and local ward councillors Prafulla Mandal and Paltu Mahto rushed to the spot.

Mathura said ISM should have taken permission from the villagers before using their land. “Villagers won’t be able to do anything near these electricity poles. So, ISM must compensate for the plots,” the MLA said. He added that they were not against the project that would ensure proper power supply to ISM, but it should not be done at the expense of villagers’ property.

Later, ISM director D.C. Panigrahi and registrar Col M.K. Singh held a meeting with the MLA and others.

“We are ready to sit with them and discuss compensation for ‘Right of Way’ as per rules framed by the government of India,” said Col Singh after the meeting.

Sources said the institute needed uninterrupted power supply to run various equipment and gadgets in its labs. It had already given requisite funds to DVC for the project.

ISM had earlier approached Jharkhand State Electricity Board, which expressed its inability to meet the cradle’s requirements.

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