Union Education Minister writes to Odisha CM seeking compensation for people displaced by Rengali dam

Bhubaneswar: Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan today wrote to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik seeking proper rehabilitation and compensation for the people displaced by the Rengali Multipurpose Project in Odisha.

The Union Minister urged the Odisha Chief Minister to fulfill the seven-point charter of demands of the displaced people.

Rengali Multipurpose Project, built on Brahmani river, is the second largest river embankment project in Odisha. The project has helped the state expand irrigation facility and augment power generation. However, thousands of people, who have been displaced by the dam project, are still languishing in miseries in the absence of proper rehabilitation and compensation, said the Union Minister in his letter.

According to the Union Minister, at least 13,000 families of 263 villages in Angul and Deograh districts in Odisha had been displaced by the dam project in 1973.

The villagers were asked to leave their ancestral land without any Palli Sabha and proper rehabilitation policy. The displaced villagers have organized several demonstrations and agitations over last five decades seeking justice. However, nothing has been done for the rehabilitation of the displaced villagers, added the Union Minister.

“Around 80 per cent of the displaced people are from the weaker sections and they did not have money to approach the judiciary,” mentioned the Union Minister in his letter.

Some of the displaced people have been holding ‘Jal Satyagrah’ since last few days and they have threatened to opt for ‘Jal Samadhi’ (watery grave) if the administration does not fulfill their seven-point charter of demands, said the Union Minister while urging the Chief Minister to look into the issue at the earliest.

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