Jharkhand to have resettlement policy for displaced people


Ranchi : The Jharkhand government plans to announce a resettlement and rehabilitation policy soon for those displaced by land acquisition for setting up industries to avoid violent clashes like those witnessed in West Bengal's Nandigram.

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The new policy, which Chief Minister Madhu Koda had promised three months ago, will be announced after an all-party meet to evolve a consensus over the matter.

"We will call an all-party meeting and invite suggestions from political leaders so that there are no hassles after the policy is announced," said Deputy Chief Minister Stephen Marandi.

"We want a policy that will satisfy the landowners and help investors to set up industries without any protests. We do not want to create a scene like Nandigram in Bengal and Kalinganagar of Orissa," Marandi told IANS.

In Kalinganagar, over a dozen tribals were killed in police firing in January 2006 while protesting the construction of a boundary wall of a Tata Steel plant.

Similarly in Nandigram, at least 14 people were killed in police firing in March in a protest against a Special Economic Zone (SEZ).

There are suggestions that the displaced people in Jharkhand be given a share in the industries being built.

"We might also ask the investors to directly negotiate with the landowners and provide them the market price," an official said.

In the last five years, the Jharkhand government has signed agreements with 64 companies in the steel, mining and power sectors. The firms are expected to pump in Rs. 2.4 trillion into the state.

Nearly 20 percent of the state's population has been displaced due to major industrial projects.