Farmers demand share in proposed SEZ

Farmers who had lost their fertile land because of now-shelved mega steel project of Tata Steel in Ganjam district of Odisha held a demonstration at district headquarter town Chatrapur on Wednesday demanding share in the proposed SEZ on the same land.

They had got united under the banner of ‘Gopalpur Tata Steel Prakalpa Prabhabita Chasi Manch’ for a list of 11 demands. Their major demand was if the company is not coming up with the project for which their land had been acquired, then the government should press upon it to return the land to the farmers.

Former Chatrapur MLA and peasants’ leader Biswanath Sahu led the demonstration. They took out a rally and held a public meeting near the office of the sub-collector. Then a delegation of agitating farmers met the Ganjam District Collector with their list of demands. The Collector promised them to inform the State government regarding their demands.

Tata Steel had acquired 2,970 acres of land in Ganjam district for a mega steel plant project that did not materialise. At present Tata Steel is establishing an SEZ on this land.

Their other demands include payment of Rs.15 lakh per acre as revised compensation package for all the affected farmers.

They want all youths who had been provided technical training by Tata Steel to be provided permanent jobs by the company. They also demand de-notification of all land that is not needed for the SEZ so that cultivation could be taken up.

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