Tatas may complete Chhattisgarh land acquisition by year-end

Monday, 29 September 2008, 04:01 Hrs
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Raipur: Indian steel major Tata Steel is likely to complete by the year-end land acquisition for a 5 million tonnes per annum integrated steel plant in the central India state of Chhattisgarh as about 80 percent acquisition is already over, top government officials said here Friday.

"Tata Steel has completed about 80 percent land takeover in the state's southern Bastar district and the process is on to complete the remaining 20 percent acquisition latest by December," top officials in the state government's industry department told IANS.

India's largest private sector steel maker Tata Steel had signed a deal with the Chhattisgarh government in June 2005 to set up a plant in the state with an investment of 100 billion.

The project needs about 5,098 acres of land in Lohandiguda block in Bastar district. The site is located close to the state's most picturesque and famous sightseeing site, the Chitrakote waterfalls on Indravati river, about 325 km south of state capital Raipur.

Officials said that out of a total of 5,098 acres, 86.5 percent (or 4,410 acres) is private land owned by roughly 1,700 farmers in 10 villages, while 428 acres or 8.4 percent is government land and the rest 260 acres or 5.1 percent is revenue and forest land.

"The land takeover was delayed as the Communist Party of India leaders misguided the farmers," the sources said.

"We actually wanted land takeover on a consensus basis and now the majority of farmers have agreed to happily accept the dream compensation package and job offers in the proposed plant," they said.

But a senior local CPI leader and former legislator, Manish Kunjam, who is leading the anti-Tata protest in Bastar, told IANS by phone: "Local authorities have been acquiring land for the Tatas through all sorts of manipulation."

"Land of about 100 farmers has been taken over through forgery and providing them false information and assurances." Kunjam said.
Source: IANS
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