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Payloader runs into protest

Six out of 30-odd condemned and illegally occupied quarters of Tata Steel were pulled down at Vidyapati Nagar in Sidhgora, on Monday owing to strong resistance from squatters.

The two-room single-storeyed SR-type quarters — allotted to and vacated by company employees following retirement or transfer — are being encroached upon by residents of Harijan Basti for sometime.

Armed with an order from Dhalbhum SDO Prem Ranjan and a payloader, Jusco general manager (town services) Dhananjay Mishra and a bunch of officials and policemen reached the area around 11am. Barely had the team begun demolition when 200 local residents gheraoed them.

“Humlog yahan par dashko se reh rahein hain. Bina court ke adesh ke humlog quarters todhne nahin denge. Company ka manmani nahin chalne denge (We have been staying here for decades. We will not budge from here until the court gives order. We will not let the company dictate us),” said Baiju Mukhi who was leading the protest.

The agitating mob claimed they had not been given any notice to vacate the quarters by either Tata Steel or the East Singhbhum administration.

Mishra said they were carrying out the demolition after permission from the SDO and for the safety of people.

“After a survey, these quarters were found to be unsafe. Not a single house has been allotted to any new occupant in the recent past. Slum dwellers are risking their lives. The quarters may collapse any day,” the Jusco official added.

JNAC official D.K. Pandey, appointed magistrate for the demolition, said the drive would continue till May 3.


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