The administration has clamped prohibitory orders under section 144 of Crpc in Gevra, a coal mining region in Korba district, in the view of a protest call given tomorrow by the villagers affected by various projects of the South Eastern Coalfields Limited (SECL).
The opposition Congress has extended its support to the protest alleging that the administration is supporting SECL to suppress the voices of protesters.
"The prohibitory orders were issued by Korba Additional District Magistrate A Lakra yesterday to thwart the possibility of unlawful activities in Gevra region on account of the announcement of protest given by villagers of Bhathora and other villages on May 2," said Darri City Superintendent of Police (CSP) D R Porte.
The prohibitory orders will be effective from May 2 till further directives, he added.
"Local people have been informed about the orders and no protest or 'bandh' will be allowed to take place during this period. "If anyone tries to violate the law, strict action will be taken against them," Porte added.
Villagers and farmers of at least 30 villages affected by Gevra and Deepka projects of SECL had announced launching of a huge protest at Gevra and blocking transportation of coal from the mining site to power plants for fulfilment of their demands under the amended Land Acquisition Act.
Meanwhile, the main opposition Congress has extended its support to the protest, saying the ruling BJP cannot snatch the democratic rights of the people to protest.
"The villagers, belonging to Bhathora, Naraibodh, Raliya, Bhilaibazar and other villages, have decided to fight for their rights, demanding justice for land acquired by SECL and get employment, rehabilitation and compensation," Congress MLA from Korba seat Jaisingh Agrawal told reporters.
The villagers, who got displaced due to the projects, have raised their problems before the SECL management in the past but failed to get positive response, he said.
"Now villagers have no option other than to block the coal dispatch to get their demands fulfilled. Instead of convening a meeting with affected villagers, the administration has imposed section 144 branding displaced people as anti-social elements," the MLA said, adding local Congress leaders and workers will participate in the protest.
"There is a right to protest in democracy. The administration is supporting SECL to suppress the voices of protesters," the legislator said.