July 11, 2014

mcl-mineOdisha Channel Bureau Angul, July 11: Mahanadi Coalfields Limited (MCL) may have to close down mining operations under its Jagannath Area in Angul district of Odisha in view of a few villagers refusing to vacate their structures in the mining zone close to edge of projects under operations and resorting to paralyse work at the two projects of one-lakh-tonne-per-day-capacity from Friday.At least 122 people in Hensmul village have refused to vacate structures/homestead land occupied by them despite continuous persuasion by the civil administration and company authorities and called for paralyzing two mega projects – Bhubaneswari OCP and Ananta OCP, according to official release issued by MCL.“The company needs urgently that land to expand Bhubaneswari OCP (25 MT annual production capacity) and meet the targeted production given to the mines under Jagannath Area, as it has almost excavated coal from the existing location,” the release said.‘’Even if villagers do not disturb our operations, but continue to occupy their dwellings in Hensmul village in the mining zone, the company would have no other option but to close down operations under Jagannath Area by October or November as there will remain no room left for mining in view of safety norms due to people’s presence in Hensmul .This may cost loss of around 120 lakh tonnes coal production during current financial year.’’‘’Company is firm on its stand that it would immediately reinstate terminated workers provided they hand over vacant possession of land and clear place for mining for the greater interest of the nation as well as their own interest.Closure of mining operations at Jagannath Area, which has the production target of about 40 million tonnes for 2014-15, would mean snapping off fuel line to the power plants in Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.The MCL, which is known for its most attractive R&R package for the project affected people, extended several offers to the protesting people during three rounds of tripartite talks between the company management, civil administration and the villagers following the termination of 122 people from company job, but all in vain.After the last meeting held on July 6, the minutes of which were circulated by the Sub-Collector, PLRAC (a committee that takes decision on the relocation site) had to decide on the resettlement site at the earliest while the job losers were to be reinstated by the company.However, immediately on receipt of minutes the company informed the Sub-Collector about the missing points of discussion, which also included immediate handing over of their vacant possessions of land to the company by the people of Hensmul village.Company had already provided quarters to 79 of these 122 and on the request of civil administration had also assured interim arrangement for the rest.However, the villagers refused to hand over their possessions to the company, thus taking issue back to square one.A total 285 people of village were provided job in the company between year 1995 to 2009 as a part of compensation package against their land and offered plots at a nearby place called Gurjang, where the Company had developed an R&R site provided by the Odisha government for the rehabilitation of project affected people.While the rest had vacated their houses/homestead land and shifted to the site, 126 refused despite final five-month notice and continuous persuasion by the company as well as local administration and continued to obstruct the mining operations.Subsequently, the company terminated service of 126 erring employees in May 2014.While four families later shifted to the R&R site and were immediately reinstated to the service, 122 continue to protest to press for their demand to be reinstated in company’s job and relocation to a particular site which is a coal bearing area in the middle of three main mining projects of the company – Bhubneswari OCP, Lingaraj OCP and Ananta OCP.The company had offered many options to the villagers, including shifting to any place of their choice other than coal bearing area and cash compensation in lieu of authorised plot at the R&R site.Director General Mines Safety (DGMS) has already raised safety concern with regard to continuous occupation of some of the villagers in Hensmul, adjoining the mining projects.Since many power plants across the country are facing fuel shortage, MCL has appealed to the protesting villagers not to resort to protests, or cause obstruction to coal mining operations and add to the woes of general people.

July 11, 2014 0 Comment

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