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Tension mounts at Lower Suktel Site

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On the fifth day of resumption of the controversial Lower Suktel irrigation project work at Magurbeda village in Balangir district, two women protesters and some police constables were injured during the protest on Friday as per reports. According to Police when the anti-project protesters tried to intervene and broken the police cordon they became bound to take action.

Earlier on the second day, police had taken into custody 68 protestors, out of whom 14 people were forwarded, but they were later released on bail.

The project work was started amid heavy security arrangement and in presence of Balangir SP R Prakash near Magurbeda village in Balangir district on 8th April 2013.

On Tuesday morning, when the survey work began, thousands of villagers from Magurbeda including women and children rushed to the work site and staged a demonstration.

Congress leader Hemanta Panda said to TNI, “The state government actually does not want to complete the project, rather I think the local representatives are just trying to get attention of the public for the upcoming election. The proof is that, while the limitation period (that the Central government had fixed) for construction of the Lower Suktel Project was end of March 2013, why it started the work after that?”

“Now the project will again be sent to the Central government for not only monetary sanctions, but also for other clearances including environmental pollution, Forest rule’s requirements and other permissions, and after it will again be revived, then only the project can be started. How can the state government start the project before that?” he asked.

Lower Suktel Project, which was approved by the Central government on 4th February 1997 with a budget of Rs. 217.13 crore, has not been completed till now amid controversy.

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