Wednesday, December 16, 2015



Wednesday, 16 December 2015 | SUDHIR MISHRA | BALANGIR | in Bhubaneswar
The villagers need to cooperate wholeheartedly for the implementation of the Lower Suktel Irrigation Project, said district Collector of Balangir here. The project would affect 29 villages, but is essential to provide enhanced irrigation facility in Balangir district, he said.
Collector M Muthukumar while presiding over a meeting of village representatives of Lower Suktel project area on Tuesday urged the people to support the dam for the larger interest of the district.
Muthukumar informed that the project cost would touch Rs 3,000 crore when it is completed and the Government has already spent Rs 500 crore on it.
Since enhanced irrigation facility is necessary for drought-prone Balangir district, the implementation of the project assumes a lot of importance. The Government has targeted to complete the project by 2019, Muthukumar asserted.
Participating in the discussion, pro Suktel dam villagers from Pardhiapali complained of non receipt of total compensation payment and the risk of living nearby the project area due to blasting and other activities.
The villagers also alleged huge corruptions in payment of compensation amount. To get compensation amount one has to pay a bribe of Rs 30,000, alleged a villager in the meeting, much to the embarrassment of the district Collector.
The villagers demanded that the administration move to their village and settle the dispute by coming face-to-face with the villagers.
The concept and design of partially submerged village is totally misleading and wrong. 50 per cent of the village Barpudgia, a partially affected village, would submerge and the rest would be encircled by water once the dam is constructed. The rain water would further encircle them. In such a situation where would the people go, the villagers asked.
So it is better to have a relook on the concept of partially submerged village, pointed out Baishnab Mishra, participating in the discussion. Besides this three other villages like Dhulusar, Barpita and Chudapali would also face the same situation once the project is completed, Mishra suggested.
He also opined for onetime payment of compensation to villagers .He demanded implementation of Land Acquisition Act 2013 for speedy execution of the project.
Where is land available for displaced ST people? As per the rule a person is entitled to five acres of land. The district administration does not have information on this, said Satya Banchhor of Lower Suktel Budi Anchal Sangram Parishad.
“The members of Budi Anchal Sangram Parishad are opposing the Lower Suktel Project since the beginning. We are for zero displacement and construction of check dams to provide irrigation. We would continue to oppose the dam,” said Udaysingh Thakur of the Sangram Parishad
The Suktel project was constructed without having necessary environment and forest clearances and a case is pending with the National Green Tribunal, said Byasa Thanapati.
He quoted the NHRC directives to the district administration on police excess against agitating villagers opposing construction of the project two years ago.
The police cases against people should be dropped and a proposal to this effect should be moved to the Government, said Baishnab Mishra further.
Collector Muthukumar directed the officials to go to the villages to settle the people’s genuine concerns and stressed on taking measures to give money through E-transfer to avoid corruption.

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