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Bokaro land-grab lens on oil majors

Bokaro, Dec. 12: Bokaro Industrial Area Development Authority (Biada) has launched a big campaign to crackdown on some companies that have been occupying its land illegally for years.

To begin with, Biada on Thursday measured plots allotted to Jaypee Cement and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation (HPCL) and found that both had grabbed extra acres.

According to Biada secretary Robin Toppo, HPCL had encroached upon 2.5 acres near the 69.62-acre plot that was granted by the development authority sometime in 2007.

Similarly, Jaypee Cement, which was given 62.79 acres in 2009, made illegal constructions on around 15 acres. “None of the two companies paid for the extra land,” Toppo pointed out.

Sources claimed that HPLC and Jaypee Cement were not exceptions, and several others were occupying Biada land without valid documents.

Prominent among them are Indian Oil Corporation, Amsteel Castings Limited, SAIL-Bansal Service Centre Limited, Kastron Technology, Patliputra Trust and Bokaro Timber Limited.

Biada officials claimed that these companies together had encroached upon around 40 acres, land worth several hundred crores. They added that Biada would carry out survey of plots for the next few days and then take action.

Biada managing director Uma Shankar Singh said notices would be issued. “We are video-recording the measurement drive for proof. We will serve notices to the violators. If they do not remove encroachments on their own, we will initiate legal action,” Singh said.

Singh, who is also the deputy commissioner of Bokaro, said there were allegations of encroachment against many other companies. “Some influential people of Jharkhand are also under the scanner. Action will be initiated against all,” he added.

Incidentally, a cash-starved Biada has swung into action to reclaim its land after Singh took charge as its new boss in the last week of November.

S.K. Prasad, head of public relations at Jaypee Cement, refused to comment.

Hindustan Petroleum’s senior official R.K. Singh, too, maintained studied silence.

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