New Delhi, Dec 24 (PTI) Over 1,700 tribal farmers in Chhattisgarh worst naxal-hit Bastar area will get back more than 1,700 hectares of land acquired for now-abandoned Tata steel project, state government officials said Monday.

Newly elected Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel has directed officers concerned to take necessary steps in this regard, they said.

“A cabinet meeting will be called soon where the final decision will be officially taken,” a senior official said.

Ahead of Assembly polls in the state, Congress president Rahul Gandhi had last month announced that the land acquired for the project would be returned in case his party was voted to power.

A total of 1,764.61 hectares of private land, owned by 1,707 tribal farmers of ten villages under Bastar region was acquired for the steel project, that was to be set up in Lohandiguda area, the official said.

However, the company had in 2016 reportedly decided to drop the project apparently due to law and order problem coupled with protest from locals.

The land, thus acquired by the government, was not returned to the farmers, he said, adding now the chief minister has decided to return it to the owners.

The decision is an important step to restore confidence of tribals in government that is a prerequisite to address naxal issue in the state, another senior state government official said here.

Chhattigarh’s Bastar area is considered to be one of the worst-hit naxal region in the country.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.