Dam protest grows louder

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  • Published 14.06.10

Jamshedpur, June 13: With political parties like JD(U) and Ajsu showing solidarity with around 5,000 people residing in the villages near Chandil dam, the protest against the “unjust and untimely” move of Subernarekha Multipurpose Project (SMP) authorities to evacuate them has gained momentum.

The parties extended a helping hand to the project affected people after the SMP authorities issued noticeS to the villagers to vacate their homes before June 30 two days ago. JD(U) district president Khagen Mahto and Ajsu district president Praveen Mahto have threatened to launch a massive agitation if the SMP went ahead with its evacuation plan.

“It is a mindless and heartless move. You cannot just ask people to vacate their homes at short notice without even making proper arrangements for their rehabilitation,” said the JD (U) leader.

He added that the SMP authorities had committed a “blunder” by serving notice to people living under Chandil dam command area. “If the authorities try to evacuate villagers forcefully, the situation might blow out of proportion and there might be law and order problems,” he cautioned. The leader urged other like-minded parties to extend a helping hand.

The Ajsu leader has also come out in favour of the villagers and termed the evacuation notice as “anti-people and unjust”.

The JMM leader and former MLA from Ichagarh, Sudhir Mahto, has also joined the league. “I will go to Governor M.O.H. Farook and urge him to stop the evacuation process,” said Mahto.

SMP decided to evacuate people as it is planning to close the radial gates of Chandil dam from June 30.

“At least 50 villages in Chandil and Ichagarh blocks of Seraikela-Kharsawan district will eventually get submerged if the radial gates are closed,” said a member of Bistapit Mukti Vahini, a local NGO, adding that the gates were never closed since the dam came into existence in 1980 fearing this.

A meeting of representatives of the NGO and chief engineer of the dam will be held in Jamshedpur on June 18.