Odisha women rough up Land Acquisition Officer over delay in compensation

Nayagarh: A group of women assaulted a Land Acquisition Officer for the ongoing Khordha Road-Balangir railway line project here in Odisha today over his alleged dillidallying tactics to provide compensation.

The women waylaid Land Acquisition Officer Sanjay Pratihari while he was on his way to the office from Mishra Colony here. An altercation ensued and was later beaten black and blue with brooms and chappals.

They also smeared Sindoor (vermilion) on the government officer’s forehead, put bangles on his wrists and splashed alta (red dye) on his feet during the assault.

The aggrieved women reportedly attacked Pratihari for delay in payment of compensation to the people who gave up their land for the proposed railway project. Besides, Pratihari was accused of seeking bribe from the land owners in lieu of payment of compensation and misbehaving with women.

The women had earlier staged a dharna in front of Pratihari’s office to protest against delay in the payment of compensation, sources said.

A critically-injured Pratihari was rushed to the District Headquarters Hospital, sources added. Meanwhile, the police have detained the attackers.

The 289km Khordha Road-Balangir new railway line will connect western Odisha with coastal parts of the state.

Earlier in March this year, Railway Minister Ashwani Vaishnaw had told Lok Sabha that 6162 acres of plain land and diversaion of 1844 acres of forest land is necessary for the completion of the project. However, only 5333 acres of plain land were acquired and 170 acres of forest land was diverted.

Notably, state government was to acquire 829 acres of plain land and divert 1674 acres of forest land for the said project.

The ECoR has so far commissioned 90.43 km line from Khordha Road and around 14.58 km from Balangir. With the commissioning of Bichhupali-Jhartarbha section in August this year, it touched 115.36 km.

On the Khurda Road side, the commissioning has been done till Nuagaon station.

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