Eyeing coal project, Bengal bought land embargo

Kolkata / Suri (Natural Energy News): The Bengal government has withdrawn financial restrictions on land acquisition and purchase, which it had earlier imposed under the austerity campaign.

To flag off the Deucha Panchami coal project in Birbhum ahead of the 2021 assembly elections, CM Banerjee said the ban was lifted a week ago. The coal block has reserves of 2.1 billion tonnes and the project is expected to generate employment for 1 lakh people.

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On 2 April, the state made it clear that it would not undertake any new projects. However, an official said that Embargo has been withdrawn in public "public interest" and the Finance Department will approve it.

Banerjee sent Chief Secretary Rajiv Sinha on a field visit to Deucha Panchami in July, ostensibly to assess potential hiccups as to how the takeover hurdle could be circumvented. Sinha held a meeting with the villagers and assured them a rehabilitation/rehabilitation package.

The mining activity in the coal block is expected to give a boost to Birbhum's economy and will be the largest industrial project before the 2021 elections. The Center provided allocation to Bengal in September 2019 and the state government is planning 11,222.5 acres of land in phases. A Nabana official said that the government planned to start land acquisition/acquisition after Durga Puja.

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The state has already formed Bengal Birbhum Coalfields Limited (BBCL) to complete the project under the Power Development Corporation. A Nabana official said an investment of Rs 15,000 crore was required to develop the coal block and a large part of it would be spent on land acquisition and development.

Neither the tribal landowners nor the non-tribals are enthusiastic about handing over their ancestral plots to the government, prompting the latter to slacken special rehabilitation packages. Anticipating resistance, the state also plans to employ a section of local landowners.

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The most commonly affected are Mouza Hatgacha, Chanda, Alinagar, Harinsingh, Nischintapur, Dadyaganj, Bahadurganj, Kabilnagar, Saluka and Maqdumnagar. A senior official said that all villagers "who are living on the project land will be rehabilitated and the CM has made it clear that there will be no forcible acquisition". A land official refused to give an accurate estimate of the acreage, stating that the government wanted to progress in the required stages.

A member of the Panchami Mine Owners Association said, "We are not against coal mining here, but demand adequate compensation for the stone units and their labourers."

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