Dam-hit villagers in 6-hour dharna

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  • Published 16.04.11

Jamshedpur, April 15: More than 100 people due to be displaced in the wake of Chandil dam’s proposed height increase, staged a six-hour dharna in front of the office of Subarnarekha Multipurpose Project (SMP) superintending engineer today, demanding rehab packages.

Protesters, led by Mukti Vahini functionary Narayan Gope, convened in front engineer Ashok Kumar’s office around 10am, and demanded rehab packages promised by the state. Later, agitators also handed him a memorandum.

“Last year, the SMP authorities tried to raise the level of radial gate from 177m to 183m, but they had to shelve plans after vociferous protests from local villagers. Our stand on the issue is clear. The height of the radial gate should not be raised until rehab packages promised by authorities come into force,” said Gope.

Officials concerned should expedite the process, so that the displaced get rehab within three months, he added. “We don’t want the authorities to force the issue upon us during monsoon,” Gope said.

He added though 18 rehab officers had been roped in for Chandil and Ichagarh blocks, no work had been done. “It is just an eyewash,” he said. Gope also wondered why there were different compensation packages for the displaced across states. “People being displaced here (Chandil dam area) are entitled to only Rs 1.89 lakh, while those displaced in Orissa are receiving Rs 5.75 lakh. Why this anomaly?” quipped the NGO leader.

Kumar said few villagers come to claim compensation in camps as they don’t want to leave their homes. “Our next compensation camp will on April 20-30,” he said.