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Work on Utkal Alumina refinery resumes

BS Reporter  |  Kolkata/ Berhampur 

The civil construction of the Rs 5000-crore alumina refinery project of Utkal Alumina International Limited (UAIL), a subsidiary of the Aditya Birla Group (ABG), near Kasipur in Orissa’s has resumed after being stalled for about two months.

The construction work of the 1.5 million tonne alumina refinery project was marred by the agitation of the displaced and affected people of the project.

These people had demanded higher compensation, job for at least one member of the affected families and peripheral development activities by the project developers. “We have decided to suspend our agitation for about four months after a senior leader of the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) who is also a Rajya Sabha member assured us to solve our problems.” said Kasti Turuku, president, Basachyuta Prabhabita and Khyatigrastha committee. “We have been assured that a package on peripheral development of the project area would be prepared after a comprehensive survey”, he added.

The project affected people had demanded Rs 3.44 lakh per acre of land and a job for at least one member of the affected families. However, the company offered Rs 2.10 lakh per acre of land.

About 2.300 acres of land was acquired by the company for setting up of the 1.5 million tonne alumina refinery project. The people of about 108 villages in three blocks would be affected by the project. The project work was stalled since June 3 this year, when the project affected people staged dharana in front of the project site and did not allow the contractor to carry on work.

Following the recent withdrawal of the strike, the company is keen on expediting the work and aims to start production from the plant by July 2011.

“We want to expedite the work and complete it in a stipulated period of time”, S K Misra, chief executive of the project told Business Standard. The company had already spent about Rs 1,000 crore on the project and had committed an additional investment of Rs 4,000 crore.

First Published: Tue, August 04 2009. 00:26 IST