Through Express news service

ROURKELA: Hundreds of villagers led by Sundargarh MP Kusum Tete besieged Hemgir police station on Sunday demanding the release of 50 protesters held for crippling operations of NTPC’s Dulunga coal mine project.

In the past two days, a section of internally displaced people had paralyzed the operations of the coal mine project demanding a fair rehabilitation deal.

In an effort to end the protest, Hemgir police placed 50 agitators in preventive detention that day.

Tete said the unrest will continue until the administration heeds the demands of the displaced villagers. “After waiting in vain for several years, the displaced went on strike from Friday after informing the administration and the NTPC authorities.

For several years, the meeting of the Advisory Committee for the Rehabilitation and Development of the Periphery (RPDAC) has not been convened to respond to the grievances of the displaced villagers. It seems that the goal of NTPC and the administration is to take land from poor villagers using police force, ”said the MP.

She demanded the unconditional release of the detained villagers. The administration should immediately speak to the villagers and call a meeting of the PRDPP to resolve their grievances.

Sources said 28 male protesters were detained at Hemgir Police Station while 22 agitated women were in pre-trial detention at R&R Colony in Manoharpur.

The agitators alleged that some of the project-affected villagers of Dulunga, Majhapada and Beldihi, who were originally landless, were given four decimal places by the administration. However, they were later moved without proper rehabilitation. At the 2017 DPRPP meeting, they were promised two acres of land each.

Last year, two groups of married girls from displaced families twice halted operations at Dulunga mines due to the denial of rehabilitation and resettlement (R&R) benefits.

The administration undertook efforts to pay benefits to one group of married girls, but sought time to meet the demands of the other.

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