Protest stalls Essar project work in Durgapur

The Essar-Matrix project at Durgapur is under threat again. Work of the project has once again been stalled by local villagers on the complain that they have not been paid the land premium even though seven months have passed after the negotiation. Repeated stalling of work at various locations of this project has already hit news headlines in several occasions.

matix-fertilizer-panagarh
Matix fertilizer unit work in progress

Mumbai-based Essar Oil, which is already extracting Coal Bed Methane (CBM) from its Jathgoria well in Durgapur, will supply the gas as the principal fuel for the upcoming Rs 5,000-crore Matix Fertiliser plant in Panagarh. For this, Essar needs to lay pipeline from its Jathgoria unit to the Matix unit in Panagarh. In fact Essar has already started laying underground pipes between Molandighi and Egaro Mile, a 7 Km stretch covering five villages, to supply the CBM.
However, Essar does not need to acquire land on the 7 Km stretch where they are laying underground pipes as villagers will be able to cultivate the land once the pipeline is laid. Under mutual settlement between the villagers and the project authority in September last, the company was given permission to lay the underground pipeline by the land owners, on payment (one time) of a sum Rs 300 per meter for laying the pipes and Rs 66000 as annual rent for five years for 1 bigha of land.
The work started around two months ago and the company has already finished laying the pipes on 2.5 Km stretch. Local people stalled laying of pipeline yesterday alleging that the multinational company hasn’t cleared land premium dues even though seven months have passed.
In Jathgoria, the company was accused of occupying farmers’ land without paying land premium one and a half months ago. Essar officials said that since January, four such disruptions had taken place at various sites of the project.
Yesterday, nearly 50 people from Rakshitpur, Molandighi, Chua, Horiki and Lohaguri villages with alleged support of local Trinamool leaders forced the civil contractor assigned to lay the CBM’s pipeline to stop work and vacate the place. Chandi Ghosh and Biswanath Ghosh of Molandighi said: “In seven months they haven’t paid any heed despite repeated pleas to clear the dues estimated at Rs 3 lakhs as annual rent for five years against my 4.5 bigha of land.”
“The company had promised to pay us (a one-time fee of) Rs 300 per meter for laying the pipes to supply coal-bed methane (CBM) but we have not got the money yet. We had no alternative but to stall work,” said Badal Mondal, 47, who claimed to be a Trinamool supporter.
The 16 villagers arrived at Essar’s garage-cum-site office at Molandighi around 7am. “The villagers stopped our earthmoving machines when they were about to roll out of the garage and started sloganeering. Our workers did not dare to step out. I have informed my superiors,” said Rakesh Patel, the site in-charge.
Trinamool’s Kanksa block president Debdas Bakshi said: “Before the villagers are identified, we cannot say if they belong to our party.” He, however, supported their demand. “They are demanding money for (the use of) their land. The company should accept their demand,” Bakshi said.
Asked about the payments to villagers, an Essar official in Durgapur said: “We are still carrying some verification work and payments will be made soon. We will sort out the matter with villagers through discussions.”
Senior officials held a discussion yesterday evening with a section of villagers and Mr. Apurba Ranjan, the project director, said that the problems would be resolved in the next 48 hours. Mr. Robin Ghosh, chief of Corporate Communication, Essar Oils, said: “We have taken up the matter and hope it would be sorted out amicably soon.”

Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*