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regular-article-logo Friday, 12 July 2024

Encroachers resist bid to construct boundary wall for SAIL’s Durgapur Steel Plant

The protesters blocked the road that connects a large portion of Durgapur town with NH2 for over seven hours after the CISF allegedly baton-charged the encroachers. They also set one traffic post on fire and did not allow any political leaders, who arrived at the spot, to join them

Abhijeet Chatterjee Durgapur Published 15.09.23, 09:56 AM
The protesters block NH2 in Durgapur on Thursday.

The protesters block NH2 in Durgapur on Thursday. Picture by Dipika Sarkar

At least half a dozen people were injured in Durgapur when Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) on Thursday allegedly resorted to baton charge to disperse encroachers preventing officials of SAIL’s Durgapur Steel Plant from carrying out a groundbreaking ceremony (bhoomi pujan) before constructing boundary wall on its occupied land.

The encroachers alleged that the DSP management did not inform them about their move earlier and demanded rehabilitation as they had been staying on the land for decades.

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“The DSP management had earlier promised that they would hold a discussion with us on proper rehabilitation before evacuating us. But today (Thursday), they suddenly came to construct the boundary wall. We will not allow them to take possession of the land where we have been staying for decades,” said Ratan Singh, one of the protesters.

He said at least 10,000 people, who are labourers hailing from Bihar and Jharkhand, had been living on the land at Tamla in wards 32 and 33 of the Durgapur Municipal Corporation for years. The DSP management did not prevent them from setting up homes, he added.

The protesters blocked the road that connects a large portion of Durgapur town with NH2 for over seven hours after the CISF allegedly baton-charged the encroachers. They also set one traffic post on fire and did not allow any political leaders, who arrived at the spot, to join them. The road is mostly used by industrial vehicles which were stranded because of the blockade.

Sources said the CISF later rescued the steel plant officials and left the place in the face of resistance. “The CISF assaulted us, including women, when we approached a DSP official for discussion before the bhoomi pujan. Six of us were injured,” said Singh.

A large contingent of police led by assistant commissioner of police Suman Jaiswal arrived at the spot and held a discussion with the protesters. Jaiswal said the DSP management had not informed the police about the plan to construct the boundary wall.

Sources said the steel plant management had gone to perform the puja around 7am.

The DSP management said over the past few months, they had served two notices to the encroachers, asking them to vacate the land to facilitate the construction of the boundary wall.

Officials said the DSP had decided to reclaim the vast amount of unused land of the company in Durgapur town and adjoining areas.

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