Raipur, Mar 2 Opposition Congress staged a walkout from Chhattisgarh Legislative Assembly over an “unsatisfactory” reply by Forest Minister Mahesh Gagda on the issue of rehabilitation and resettlement of 122 families affected by a coal mines project in Balrampur district. Raising the issue through a call attention motion, Congress MLA (Samri) Preetam Ram said Chaura village under Rajpur development block in the district, which falls under Mahan-03 coal mines area of South Eastern Coalfields Ltd (SECL), has been affected due to the mining project.

“The village having a population of 3000 is affected due to the coal mines. The state government had distributed Forests Rights certificates for livelihood to 122 families in the village, who are now facing trouble,” he said. Ram alleged that the district administration and SECL management are not paying heed to the welfare of the village. “The process to commence production at Mahan-03 mines is at final stage but so far no initiative is being taken to provide jobs to the family members of the affected families due to which they are now facing serious livelihood problems,” the MLA said.

In his reply, Gagda said there is no mining area called SECL Mahan-03 in the district. “In village Chaura, 239.573 hectares of private land of 372 owners have been acquired for mines and the process of distributing compensation worth Rs 49.65 crore is underway. “As per the documents made available by SECL, 114 people from the said village have encroached upon revenue forest land, of which, 50 hectares land of 55 farmers is coming under mining area,” he said.

The minister said the agriculture work of 38 out of 55 farmers will not be affected as some of the area has been proposed as safety zone, while the lands of only 17 farmers will come under mining area. However, the Congress Legislators were not satisfied with the reply and walked out from the House.