The Telegraph
Saturday , February 16 , 2013
Since 1st March, 1999
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Relief for landlosers

Paradip, Feb. 15: Authorities have initiated the process to redress the plight of labourers of the betel vineyards dismantled for the Posco steel project.

The plight of labourers came to light yesterday during the visit of chairman and managing director of the state-run Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation, which is acquiring land for the Posco project.

“We are sensible towards the plight of labourers, who have lost their livelihood after the vineyards, in which they used to work, were demolished for land acquisition process. The administration has completed exercise of enumerating the workers. Compensation and monthly subsistence will be given to them at the earliest,” said chairman and managing director of the corporation Vishal Dev.

There was a healthy interaction with people, who are losing out land and livelihood sources because of the project. People’s demands for revised compensation and resettlement plan are under consideration of the government. It will be settled within the ambit of the Odisha Rehabilitation and Resettlement Policy, he said.

The jobless workers are entitled to dual benefits till the project comes up. They are entitled to 20 per cent of the compensation award made to their respective vineyard owners. Besides, each worker will be disbursed Rs 2,250 monthly subsistence allowance till the steel plant is complete.

Nearly 700 betel vineyards have been pulled down and the land has been acquired for the steel project. The landowners were compensated at Rs 11.50 lakh per acre. Owners of over 700 betel vineyards have received compensation to the tune of Rs 13 crore. But, those working in these vineyards, have not yet been compensated for the loss of livelihood.

“We have lost our daily income sources. The vineyard, where I used to work, was dismantled two years ago. My owner was monetarily compensated, but I was not. I am landless. Now, I am working at an oil refinery project as a daily labourer,” said Agani Biswal from of Nolia Sahi.

The project area coming under Gadakujang, Nuagaon and Dhinkia gram panchayats accounts for about 1,300 betel vineyards of which, 726 vineyards have so far been pulled down for acquiring land for the steel project. The rest of the vineyards, located in Gobindpur under Dhinkia gram panchayat, are yet to be acquired in the face of resistance from people.