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Balco to get possession of land, finally

R Krishna Das  |  Kolkata/ Raipur 

Vedanta-controlled Bharat Aluminium Company (Balco) will get legal possession of 600 acres of land that it had allegedly encroached upon in Korba district of Chhattisgarh.

The decision to hand over the possession of land to the aluminium major was taken in the state cabinet meeting last week. The order came after the High Court ruled in favour of Balco in February this year.

The issue of alleged land encroachment by Balco flared up in 2005 when the then revenue minister and the present home minister, Nankiram Kanwar, alleged that the company had encroached upon over 1,000 acres of government land in Korba.

The minister had also initiated action against the company. The Balco management insisted that the land in question was allotted to the company between 1968 and 1975 when the plant was under construction. The company later moved Chhattisgarh High Court.

Sources said that Balco was charged of encroaching upon about 1,700 acres of forest land in Korba, about 220 km from here. The state government later admitted that only 600 acres had been encroached while the company had taken advance possession of the remaining 1100 acres.

On February 25 this year, Chhattisgarh High Court had ruled in favour of Balco.

The court said that the land belonged to the company and it should pay the premium and lease rent to the government.

After this, the state government decided to give legal possession of land to Balco, a senior state government official told Business Standard.

The revenue department was asked to take necessary action in this regard.

The official said that the land had been reserved for forest and once the company received the required forest clearances, the department would hand over the possession of land.

The Vedanta Resources Plc, which is listed on the London Stock Exchange, had acquired 51 per cent stake in Balco from the government in 2001.

The remaining 49 per cent is held by the Government of India.

First Published: Tue, May 04 2010. 00:18 IST