New Delhi: Action taken by the Angul district administration to clear encroachments from a government land acquired long back by Mahanadi Coalfields Limited (MCL) for coal mining has given a new lease of life to an open cast mine in Talcher. The 6 MTY capacity Jagannath open cast mine in Talcher coalfields had so far been counting days because of the unavailability of land for mining due to illegal obstructions being put up by the vested interests.
Jagannath coal mine incurred huge losses
For about last one year, Jagannath coal mine, under MCL’s Jagannath Area, was unable to advance due to illegal obstructions caused by illegal occupants of government land, causing loss of coal production and off-take to the tune of 2 million tonne during the current financial year.
15 families moved to temporary accommodations
With the active help of the police, under the supervision of the Superintendent of Police, Angul, at least 15 families illegally occupying the Jagannath coal mine near Rakas village were shifted to temporary accommodations at the Central Colony, before clearing about 15-acre government land which was acquired by MCL. The state-run company also arranged for the transportation and fooding of the evicted families.
Compensations offered by MCL
In March this year, MCL had sanctioned ex-gratia in favour of these landless families as per the provisions of R&R policy of the state @ Rs 1.2 lakh per family, equivalent to the prevalent rate of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana/Biju Pucca Ghar. In addition, MCL has also provided Rs 1 lakh to each family for relocation.
“However, a local political activist, Murlidhar Sahu, along with his few supporters, launched a protest at the site and created obstruction in the work of the government authorities, following an eviction notice under section (12) of CBA Act, 1957, served to the illegal occupants in July this year,” a statement released by MCL said.
Protests halted operations at Talcher coalfields
After the police detained the protesters to complete the eviction work on Jagannath coal mine, all coal mines in Talcher coalfields were forcibly closed by local political affiliates on October 18.
All the mines in Talcher coalfields remained shut during the night shift, causing a loss of around 50,000-tonne coal production and 40,000 cubic meter overburden removal, and about 50,000-tonne coal supply to consumers was also hampered due to the stoppage of dispatch operations.
Operations yet to be resumed fully at Talcher coalfields
However, operations at the mines in Talcher gradually started on October 19 except at Jagannath opencast project and the Balram opencast project where work closure due to a stalemate between Danara and Solada villages has been continuing.
Due to this, the coal supply of about 15,000 tonne to various consumers is being affected daily from the Balram OCP.