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Protestors block production at Mahanadi’s Hingula fields demanding jobs

A group of people who have lost land for a coal block allocated to public-private joint venture MJSJ Ltd in Odisha has been blocking operations at the Hingula area of Mahanadi Coalfields, a unit of state-run Coal, demanding employment.

Production loss in the past 15 days of protest is pegged at 10,000 tonnes of coal per day, as man and machinery are sitting idle at Hingula, a mine with 12 million tonnes of annual capacity, an official statement said.

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It said 128 of the total 290 hectares of the Bhalugadia village in Gopalprasad block, originally acquired by Mahanadi Coalfields, were allocated in 2005 to MJSJ, a joint venture of Mahanadi Coalfields, Jindal Power, Jindal Steel and Shyam DRI.

The allocation was cancelled last year by the Supreme Court. The status of the 128 hectares of the Bhalugadia village is unclear.

While 56 jobs had been offered to the families of Bhalugadia village, 62 families, whose land was reallocated to MJSJ, are staging the protest, the statement said. “MCL (Mahanadi Coalfields) is not in a position to offer jobs to the villagers of Bhalugadia whose land falls under the de allocated coal block,” it said.

The Coal India subsidiary is targeting 150 million tonnes of coal production this financial year. It has written to the coal ministry seeking clarification on the status of the 128 hectares.

Mahanadi Coalfields produced more than 121 million tonnes of coal in the last financial year, ended on March 31.


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