Coal India unit fears output loss in Odisha
Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd. (MCL) in Odisha could suffer a production loss of about 10 million tonnes in this fiscal year if villagers living in its key mining area do not vacate their land by October, a company official said Wednesday.
The MCL, a unit of the state-run Coal India, with its headquarters in Burla town of Sambalpur district, about 340 km from here, urgently needs land in Hensmul village in Angul district to expand its mines as it has almost excavated coal from the existing location.
The company provided jobs to all the 285 residents in a phased manner between 1995 to 2008 as a part of compensation package against their land, company spokesman Dikken Mehra told IANS.
They were also offered plots in nearby Gurjang area, where the company had developed a rehabilitation and resettlement site provided by the Odisha government for the affected people at the cost of Rs.3.9 crore.
While 163 residents vacated their homestead land and moved to the new site, 122 people refused to do so despite continuous persuasion by the local administration and the company, Mehra said.
They first wanted their relocation to a particular site, which is a coal bearing area in the middle of three main mining projects, Mehra said.
The villagers submitted a memorandum to the local authorities Tuesday, seeking their relocation to a new site. They have also threatened to shut the local mines and launch indefinite strike from July 25 to press their demand, he said.
The company does not have any objection to the new site but the villagers will have to wait for almost one year as official formalities need to followed, Mehra said.
A part of it is forest land and it is mandatory for the company to obtain forest clearance which would take time, he said.
The delay in shifting of the villagers may result in loss of around 10 million tonnes of coal from the Bhubaneswari open cast mines in the current financial year, he said.
This means a loss of around Rs.100 crore royalty to the state of Odisha and irreparable loss to the entire nation in manifolds, including short supply of coal to the power plants, he added.
(Posted on 23-07-2014)