Land acquired for Tata Steel’s delayed projectMarch 16th, 2008 - 3:43 pm ICT by admin
Raipur, March 16 (IANS) Long delayed by protests over land acquisition, Tata Steel’s 5 million tonne steel plant project in Chhattisgarh’s Bastar region is now moving ahead with 1,000 farmers surrendering nearly 1,050 hectares. “The government has paid compensation of Rs.347.5 million till February-end to 1,009 plot holders to acquire nearly 1,050 hectares of farm land in Lohandiguda block in Bastar district,” a source in the industry department said.
The official said: “Tata’s project has been delayed but it was purely because of farmers’ protest. Now they are offering land in exchange for a dream compensation package. The government is speeding up the land takeover.”
India’s largest private sector steel maker, Tata Steel, signed a memorandum of understanding with the Chhattisgarh government in June 2005 to invest Rs.100 billion to build a five MTPA Bastar plant in 10 villages of Lohandiguda block of Chitrakote assembly segment, some 325 km south of capital Raipur.
Out of the project’s total requirement of 2,063.06 hectares, 86.5 percent is privately held, 8.4 percent belongs to the government and the rest is revenue and forest land.
In September last year, the state government announced a compensation package for the project and said Tata Steel would pay Rs.100,000 per acre of barren land, Rs.150,000 per acre for mono-cropped land and Rs.200,000 per acre for multi-cropped land, besides employment to one adult from each displaced family.
The steel major has also promised up to 2.47 acres of land under a ‘land-for-land compensation scheme’ for those who are losing 75 percent to 100 percent of their land.
The source remarked that land takeover is almost over in eight villages and the farmers of two remaining villages were willing to accept the compensation amount despite being provoked by the Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Mahasabha, an umbrella organisation of tribal groups.
The Mahasabha is campaigning against Tata Steel and other industrial houses, accusing them of “meaningless industrialisation in Bastar at the cost of driving out thousands of impoverished local tribes from their ancestral houses and lands”.