Saturday, May 31, 2014
FARMER’S WIDOW SEEKS LAND RESTORATION Sunday, 01 June 2014 | SUDHIR MISHRA | BALANGIR | in Bhubaneswar
FARMER’S WIDOW SEEKS LAND RESTORATION
Sunday, 01 June 2014 | SUDHIR MISHRA | BALANGIR | in Bhubaneswar
Though three persons have already ended their lives, the State Government has been sitting idle on the fraudulent land transfer issue in Balangir district’s Patnagarh block.
A reflection of the plight of livelihood loss suffered by the people who lost their lands to 10 outsider companies way back in 2005-05 came to the fore again when Chhabi Sahu of Ghumer reportedly ended his life consuming poison on May 9. Two farmers of the same village had died earlier for losing land.
Chhabi’s widow Yashobanti Sahu has no other means of earning daily meals for her four children now.“I want my land taken by company be restored soon,” Yashobanti told mediapersonsn and social activists who visited her house on May 28.She informed that the rest two small plots the family had have also been mortgaged to local people. “When we are unable to earn our living, how can we pay Rs35,000 to bring back the mortgaged lands,” she rued.
It is noted here that around 10 companies from Agra and New Delhi had come to Patnagarh in 2005-06 and could take away lands from farmers on lease basis in connivance with local middlemen and some Tehsil officials.
The ten companies are the New Ace Builder and Developers, Enercore Diesels Private Limited, Supertech Printing Private Ltd, Sparsh Medicare Private Ltd, LEFIN (India) Private Ltd, Cladyin Hoteland Resort Private Ltd, Millennium Steel Cast Private Ltd, Fasteck Sofwares Private Ltd and Siyaram Energy Private Ltd belonging Delhi and Taj Gases Private Ltd belonging to Agra. They had acquired a total of 358.43 acres of land and a total of 70 sale deeds were executed.
Thanks to Saroj Barik (then working with the AADHAAR) and his colleagues who brought the whole incident into light. After the incident was published in The Pioneer, the then district Collector RS Gopalan and RDC Madhusudan Padhee had conducted enquiry and recommended strong action against the officials and middlemen. Others like Puspanjali Satpathy of Bhubneshwar and lawyer Shankar Pani brought the RDC report to limelight through RTI which was suppressed for months.
Interestingly, the official files relating to the fraudulent land grab of Ghumer and other villages missed from the State Secretariat, which remained beyond common man’s understanding. Currently, the State Crime Branch is inquiring in to the matter. The main culprits are yet to be arrested.
Meanwhile, district Collector M Muthukumar has assured that Chhabi’s family would be provided supports.“Chhabi’s family, if a BPL one, would get benefits under the National Family Benefit Scheme and his widow would be provided with pension,” the district Collector told this correspondent