Thursday, May 8, 2014

Farmer dies after losing land in Balangir TUESDAY, 13 SEPTEMBER 2011 22:42 SUDHIR MISHRA | BALANGIR HITS: 9

TUESDAY, 13 SEPTEMBER 2011 22:42
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Even as the district, along with other parts of western Odisha is reeling under a severe drought due to scanty and irregular rainfall resulting in loss of Kharif paddy and reports of farmers suicide are coming at regular intervals, yet in a shocking development,  a farmer Lingaraj Sahu (55) of village Ghumer in Patnagarh block died.
Earlier, Lingaraj had lost his mental balance after losing his land to a company. Ghumer village shot into limelight four years ago as the land of poor farmers were transferred to different companies in a fraudulent manner by their agents in connivance with local tehsil officials and influential people of Patnagarh to promote Jatropha cultivation.
According to sources, ten companies  New Ace Builder and Developers, New Delhi,Taj Gases Private Limited ,Agra, Enercore Diesels Private  Limited ,Delhi, Supertech Printing Private  Limited Delhi, Sparsh Medicare Private Limited Delhi, LEFIN (India) Private Limited, Delhi,  Cladyin Hoteland Resort Private Limited Delhi, Millennium Steel Cast Private Limited Delhi, Fasteck  Sofwares Private, Delhi and Siyaram Energy Private Limited, Delhi acquired total of 358.43acre of land and a total of 70 sale deeds were executed.
Nine of these companies are registered in New Delhi and only one company Taj Gases is in Agra. Moreover, the address furnished by others is their broad area and not the detailed address.
According to reports, in 2005 Mahesh Dixit of Taj Gases of Agra along with locals including Bikram Acharya and one Sushil Pradhan held a meeting in the village Ghumer where Mahesh appealed and requested villagers to give their land on lease for three years so that he could start a dairy farm and set up an incense stick factory. Mahesh took a pledge in the local village temple to win the hearts of the people. And as the gullible people were convinced somehow, they brought them to Patnagarh and registrations of their land were completed till late night and the farmers land was transferred to company overnight. Sources said Mahesh purchased land on behalf of three companies.
Lingraj lost 5 .23 of land in this process including 1.5 acres of Bahal land which was also sold in the name of Att land. When one day -he went to collect Mahul (Mahua flower) from his field, he was driven away by the company agent saying that land no longer  belongs to him . This made him further depressed.
Lingaraj was poor farmer, was who was managing his life somehow. He along with the others villagers gave his land and as he lost all his land, he became mentally unstable and died.
This company fraudulently registered people’s land in their name. This is not the only case in Ghumer village .Villagers of Jaalpali,  Aintulanga Ghunghutipali and Telkhochhapar have also lost their land in this process. Moreover reports of such companies purchasing land in Belpada and Khaprakhol have also been noticed said a social activist Promod Bagarti. Lingaraj’s mother had died two years ago in a state of extreme desperation as their land was lost forever.
The whole thing came to light after the poor villagers were refused entry to their land to collect Mahua flowers fallen there. The company officials told them that they are taking their land on lease and yet they were debarred from collecting Mahua flower fallen there.
They approached us and narrated the entire episode and urged us to take steps to get back their land, reveals Saroj Barik of NGO ADHAR, who is fighting the case for these people to get their land back.
Agriculture in the district is at the crossroads. The Government is promoting cash crops and this has provided avenues to multinational companies to grab land from gullible farmers by offering different alluring packages. See the Ghumer case.
“The company promised to set up dairy farm, incense stick so that people especially the youth would get jobs. And once the Jatropha is planted it would start giving them returns for 40 years. With the basic schemes of Government like PDS and MGNREGA in shambles in the drought prone Patnagarh, the poor farmers could not resist the ‘alluring offer’ and they become

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