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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 16 April 2024

‘Encroachers’ in coal mine area to get land deeds

The government’s decision comes after the Birbhum district administration carried out a survey of those living in the proposed area

Snehamoy Chakraborty Bolpur(Birbhum) Published 17.02.22, 01:31 AM
A stretch of land in Deocha-Pachami.

A stretch of land in Deocha-Pachami. File picture

At least 106 families living for years on government land as “encroachers” in at least three villages of the proposed Deocha-Pachami coal mine project will get freehold title deeds of plots (pattas) so that they come under the rehabilitation package for land losers announced by the state government.

The government’s decision comes after the Birbhum district administration carried out a survey of those living in the proposed coal mine area and sent a proposal to Nabanna to include the “encroachers” under the rehabilitation scheme.

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Sources said the administration decided to propose freehold title deeds of plots to these 106 families as it felt the lack of rehabilitation benefits for these families will pose a hurdle to the project.

“We have prepared pattas for all 106 families and they will be distributed soon. We have also sent a proposal to the government for a final nod to bring those families under the rehabilitation package,” said Birbhum district magistrate Bidhan Ray.

A senior official said the government had given a verbal nod to the proposal to include these families under the rehabilitation package. “It will be done. We are waiting for the final clearance from the state government. The proposal is likely to be cleared in the government’s next cabinet meeting,” said a source.

Sources said the administration was planning to get chief minister Mamata Banerjee to distribute the pattas during her Birbhum trip.

Officials said that during the survey, the district administration found that most resistance to the project came from over a 100 families without a title deeds of the land they lived on. They feared that if the project took off, land owners would get benefits but they would be driven away.

“The government doesn’t want any hurdle coming in the way of the chief minister’s dream project. At the same time the chief minister has said no land will be taken by force. So, the government is sympathetic to these 106 families living as encroachers on project land,” said a senior state government official.

These 106 families live in the three villages of Harinsingha, Dewanganj and Kendrapahari that fall in the area from where the government wants to start the first phase of the work. The coal mine project is divided into two phases. In the first, the project will cover Dewanganj-Harinsingha villages, while the second would cover Deocha-Pachami.

Apart from these 106 families, there are around 550 families that will be affected during the first phase of work.

The government has collected written consent from 411 of the 550 families. The process to give the job of junior constable to a member of each of the families has started.

However, many activists and intellectuals are opposed to the project to “safeguard the rights of the tribal residents”.

One such group started to march from Calcutta on Tuesday to stage a protest at Deocha-Pachami on February 21.

On Wednesday, a group of members of the Birbhum Land Losers’ Union agitated in front of the district magistrate office in Suri to demand government jobs for around 190 families who had given land for projects previously undertaken by the Left Front government.

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