Probe sought into Tata Steel land compensation payments

June 4th, 2008 - 12:13 am ICT by IANS  

Raipur, June 3 (IANS) A tribal delegation met Chhattisgarh Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan here Tuesday and sought a probe into alleged irregularities in the distribution of land compensation to farmers of 10 villages in Bastar district where Tata Steel plans to set up a plant. The delegation of the All India Adivasi Mahasabha led by its national president Manish Kunjam informed the governor that district authorities had handed over about Rs.71.60 million in land compensation for 82 farmers to others.

He added these 82 farmers had refused to offer land to Tata Steel and yet others had availed compensation in their name.

The delegation sought a probe into the matter, saying the 82 farmers had complained in writing before the Bastar district superintendent of police about the alleged cheating.

Tata Steel, India’s largest private sector steel-maker, signed a memorandum of understanding with the Chhattisgarh government in June 2005 to invest Rs.100 billion to build a five million tonne per annum steel plant in two phases in Bastar district’s Lohandiguda block, 325 km south of here.

To build the plant and a township, Tata Steel needs 2,063.06 hectares land, of which 86.5 percent is privately held, 8.4 percent belongs to the government and the rest is revenue and forest land, officials say.

About 1,045 farmers of total 1,707 plot holders have so far received land compensation from Tata Steel.

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