Monday, 30th October 2017

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Despair here, hope there

Sindri residents are hopeful the planned town would regain its glory days with the new Rs 6,500 crore HURL fertiliser factory

By Praduman Choubey in Dhanbad
  • Published 13.05.19, 12:13 AM
  • Updated 13.05.19, 12:13 AM
  • a min read
Madhusudan Mahto shows a crater near his house in Katras, Dhanbad, on Sunday. Picture by Shabbir Hussain

Sindri and Katras are both townships in the same district but their destinies could not be more apart, it became more evident on polling Sunday.

Under Dhanbad LS seat, Sindri residents are hopeful the planned town would regain its glory days with the new Rs 6,500 crore HURL fertiliser factory. Under Giridih LS seat, residents of Katras live in the dread of their town crumbling, thanks to subsidence.

In Katras, the very air smells foul and acrid, thanks to fire and smoke. Santosh Kumar Murmu, who lives just 200 yards away from underground fire-hit Angarpathra railway station of Katras, said they were original raiyats of the area. “My family owned 8 acres but we have not been given compensation by BCCL. Instead, BCCL is giving us notice to vacate our home, which has developed cracks due heavy blasting being carried out by private company Maa Ambe Coal (outsourced by BCCL).”

In his early 20s, Murmu is a young and aware tribal man, a UG student of Hindi at Baghmara College who works part-time as a labourer. “A demographic survey of residents our area was done by Jharia Rehabilitation and Development Authority two years ago but we did not get anything.”

His Kurmi neighbour Madhusudan Mahto, 55, said power lines of their homes were cut by the BCCL last month. “As far as I know, nine raiyats here owned 27 acres, 56 decimal. No one got compensation.”

Rajkumar Dubey, 26, said they feared the “partial restoration” of Dhanbad-Chandrapura railway lines would end soon after elections.

In Sindri, Vikas Mishra, 37, and a techie in IBM Bangalore, who voted in his hometown, said Sindri’s greenery and cleanliness were way better than Bangalore. “There’s no waterlogging in Sindri, drainage is that good,” Vikas said. “I grew up in airy quarters, played on open grounds. There’s the FCI hospital, sports infrastructure of Kalyan Kendra. Great town to raise kids,” he said as his father Shashi Bhushan smiled.

Kalyan Bandyopadhyay, retired station master in Sindri, hoped that HURL would bring back “the golden days”. “The FCI closed in 2002. The planned town had lost its glory. I give full credit for the revival (HURL) to Modiji.”