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Master plan earns angry slogans

The state government’s efforts to put in place a master plan for Greater Ranchi faced stiff opposition from twin quarters on Tuesday.

Members of Jharkhand Rajya Kisan Sabha and Master Plan 2037 Sangharsh Morcha members assembled outside the Ranchi Municipal Corporation (RMC) and raised slogans against the revised draft, which has recently been floated on the state website.

The master plan proposes to extend RMC’s jurisdiction by bringing 54,561 hectares under its fold. This will cover 153 villages spread across six blocks around the capital. The proposed area includes vast swathes of agriculture land and is likely to affect 11 lakh villagers.

“The Supreme Court has ruled that agriculture land cannot be taken away without the consent of farmers,” protested Praful Linda, the secretary of the Kisan Sabha.

“Besides, the area includes tribal land, which is protected under the Chotanagpur Tenancy Act,” he contended.

When pointed out that the government had invited objections and suggestions from people, Linda said the last date for the same was December 14. “The time given for the purpose is not adequate and the notice was not widely publicised,” he added.

Asked what if villages were included within the RMC jurisdiction, excluding agriculture land, the protesters said they would gain nothing, rather they would lose out on government sops.

Once included in the municipal area, villagers will have to pay civic taxes. They raised doubts on whether the RMC would be able to provide them with amenities.

On the contrary, if they remained in rural areas under the control of block offices, they would continue to receive benefits of welfare schemes, the protesters argued.

“We have started distributing forms to villagers so that they can lodge their objections to the proposed master plan. We will submit the same to the chief minister,” Linda said.

The state unit of CPM has extended its full support to the Kisan Sabha. “We are not against development but the same should never be done at the cost of farmers,” said the party’s state unit secretary Gopi Kant Baxi.

He added that the party would do a survey before planning its own protest.

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