The Telegraph
Friday , August 31 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Fresh hiccup for water project

The Rs 298-crore phase III of Dhanbad Water Supply Scheme, which has already suffered delay in the absence of clearance from BCCL for constructing water tanks in its coal-bearing areas, is locked in a fresh land dispute.

The residents of Patia village in Jamadoba are vehemently opposing construction of the water treatment plant of 143 million litres capacity, claiming that the earmarked plot belonged to them. The villagers have been summoned to a meeting at the district collectorate on Friday and have been asked to carry relevant documents that they claim to possess.

Notably, around 7.5 acres are required for building the plant at Jamadoba, where water from the adjacent intake well of 181 million litres — which will in turn get supply from river Damodar — will be pumped into. While the district administration claimed that around 130 acres were acquired from the villagers by the government way back in 1962, the residents said that they had been regularly paying holding tax for the land and even possessed receipts.

“We are not aware whether our forefathers sold the land to the government or not, but we have been regularly paying holding tax for the plots we own. We are not averse to the government constructing a water treatment plant in the area, but we will not part with our land unless we are paid adequate monetary compensation and employment according to norms,” said a villager.

Circle office of Dhanbad Vishal Kumar, who has been entrusted with the task of checking the records vis-à-vis claims of the villagers, said though it was true that some paid taxes and also possessed receipts, it still did not prove that they owned the land.

“Some error must have occurred as the records had not been updated since the land was acquired. The villagers have failed to produce any other documents other than the tax receipts at the earlier meetings. Hence, we have invited them to another meeting to produce documents,” Kumar added.

Prabhat Shankar Prasad, sub-divisional officer of drinking water and sanitation department, the implementing agency of the project under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission, said the villagers forced work to stop during the initial stage. He, however, is pinning hope on the meeting that is expected to resolve the issue.

Although there is no dispute concerning around 2.5 acres out of the required 7.5 acres, work can’t begin unless the entire land is available.

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