Monday, June 11, 2012

Indefinite stir in B’ngir demands Suktel project implementation

Bhubaneswar Indefinite stir in B’ngir demands Suktel project implementation
MONDAY, 11 JUNE 2012 22:02
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Demanding speedy implementation of the Lower Suktel Irrigation Project and adequate compensation to displaced people and their proper rehabilitation, members of Lower Suktel Irrigation Project Action Committee led by committee president Gopalji Panigrahi and Samajwadi Party Balangir unit president Arun Mishra, members of Citizens Committee along with villagers of Barpudugia, Kutensilet and others, on Monday launched their indefinite dharna before the Collector’s office here.
“Today, we along with the villagers of Barpudugia, Kutensilet and others, are staging our indefinite dharna, demanding speedy execution of the Lower Suktel Irrigation Project. The project has been in limbo since 2005 and no activity has taken place there. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik  announced in principle to provide irrigation facility to 35 per cent land in each block whereas the assured irrigation area in Balangir district is barely 4 per cent. Once completed, the project will provide irrigation to 80,000 acres of agricultural land in Balangir and Sonepur districts,” said Arun Mishra.
Mishra held the Government, the local MLA, the local MP and the local administration responsible for the dormant state of the project.
“This agitation will continue and we have formed committees in 22 affected villages of the project area to carry on the agitation to its logical end,” Mishra added.
The contradictory rules and policies of the Government are standing as hindrances in the way of implementation of the project. While one circular of the Government orders compensations of Rs 2,000 per tree, another circular asks people to return the money stating that they have been paid in excess of the real amount of compensation pegging it at Rs 1,100.
Moreover an earlier order of the Government allows compensation to all people above 18 years of age. Now, by virtue of another order, grandson and handicapped are being excluded, said Jayakrushana, a resident of an affected village.
Meanwhile, according to a recent socio-economic survey report, the total number of households affected has risen to over 10,000 from the previously estimated 4,064 households, further increasing the responsibility of rehabilitation and their compensation by project officials.
The cost of the Lower Suktel Irrigation Project, in the meantime has touched Rs 1,047crore on the basis of 2009 prices from Rs 217crore in 1996-97 while the project has been in dormant stage since the beginning.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had laid foundation for the project in November2001, almost 8 km away from the project area due to opposition by the displaced people. Barring the foundation laying of the spillway of the project in 2005, there has been no activity in the project area except huge irregularities of funds to the tune of cores of rupees by land acquisition officials, sources alleged.
People who are agitating for the Lower Suktel Project, are also demanding a halt to recovery of excess payment made to the people. They are also demanding implementation of the Relief and Rehabilitations policy of 2011, rather than the R&R policy of 2006.
“Since all this involves policy matter and Government decisions, I have informed the matter to higher authorities,” said Collector Sailendra Narayan Dey.

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