Normal work has begun from yesterday (Saturday) afternoon in the Essar Oil’s coal-bed methane project at Durgapur. Work stalled at the two coal-bed-methane pits in Nachan village started normal production following assurance by the company officials that the demands of the villagers will be fulfilled with immediate priority. Work was stopped on Friday by villagers who are Trinamool supporters with three pronged demands.
In a three-and-a-half hour long tri-partite meeting at the office of the block development officer of Faridpur, Mr. Manish Sharma, a team of Essar Oil led by the project head of the Raniganj coal-bed methane block, Mr. Debjit Kar assured the villagers present at the meeting that Essar would start work of constructing a metal road at Nachan village from Tuesday. The officials said the other promises, such as construction of three more roads, drains and renovation of the local burning ghat would also be fulfilled soon.
The group of about 100 villagers who stalled work at two pits of Essar unit in Nachan village of Durgapur on 15th of this month are mostly construction material supplier and supporters of Trinamool Congress. After receiving assurances from the Essar officials that their demands will be fulfilled with immediate priority, agreed to allow the Mumbai-based company to resume work. The agitators have however threatened to stall work again if the promises given by Essar officials in the meeting are not kept.
A local Trinamool worker leading the agitating villagers under the banner of “Nachan Civil Material Suppliers’ Welfare Association, said, “We allowed them to resume work from this afternoon, but have cautioned them that if the promises are no fulfilled, we will again agitate.” The accompanying villagers said the promises were made two years ago when land was acquired for the pits, but till now the promises are not kept.
Essar Oil is extracting coal-bed methane in Pandaveswar, Andal, Kanksha and Laudoha, under which Nachan falls. The company, which has already invested Rs 500 crore to dig 130 coal-bed methane pits in the area, has been hit by chronic disruption of work since last month. Though, no Essar official in Durgapur agreed to speak o the media, BDO Mr. Sharma expressed hope that there would be no more disruption in the project.