HYDERABAD: The issue pertaining to the land
acquired for setting up a steel plant by the National Mineral
Development Corporation (NMDC) in Nagarnar in the
predominantly tribal district of Bastar in Chhattisgarh is
snowballing into a controversy.
Rebbapragada Ravi, Executive Director of Samata, a
non-governmental organisation (NGO) working in the field of
tribal rights and environment for the past 17 years, around
50,000 villagers belonging to Nagarnar, Kasturi, Maganpur and
Amanguda gathered in a grand assembly of gram sabhas on
March 2 and 3 to oppose the land acquisition.
to The Times of India over phone on his way back from
Bastar, Ravi said that the situation in the district was tense
as a large contingent of police was preventing supporters of
the tribals from entering the village.
He accused the
police of illegally detaining members of voluntary
organisations, including eight belonging to Samata.
Ravi said that a group of NGOs trying to enter the
area were attacked by the plantâs supporters, who belonged to
mainstream political parties. He said the confrontation is
between tribals, who would lose their land and consequently
their livelihood land, and those belonging to the neighbouring
towns interested in the development of the area
In their resolution contend that the consent of the
gram sabhas, which is mandatory according to the Constitution,
had not been taken in the appropriate form.The guidelines of
the Centre with regard to relief and rehabilitation were also
violated.The gram sabha demanded that the locals be given a
share in the proposed industry as per the 5th schedule of the
However, the NMDC Corporate
Communications general manager Kumar Raghavan denied the
accusation that the company had used any fraudulent means to
acquire the land. He said that the company had followed all
required procedures in acquiring the 500 acre for the proposed
Rs 300 crore plant. He also said that the company has paid
necessary compensation to the state government and all
necessary guidelines have been followed.
is between the government and the locals and has nothing to do
with NMDC, he said.