Nagpur: The Aditya Birla Group-run UltraTech Cement Company has been charged of duping a number of farmers whose lands were purchased for setting up the factory in Mauda of Nagpur District. In a letter sent to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, the General Secretary of Nagpur District Congress Committee (Rural) Udaysingh Yadav said that the UltraTech Cement Company, in connivance of specific dalals (middlemen) as well as concerned officials, duped and betrayed the farmers by dubious means.
“The Aditya Birla Group had set up its UltraTech Cement Factory at Mauza Navegaon (Ashti), Taluka Mouda, District Nagpur. For setting up the cement factory, the UltraTech Company, slyly purchased a total of 91.86 hectares of farmers lands including 59.1 hectares from 41 farmers of Mauza Tarsa, 28.47 hectares from 23 farmers of Mauza Ashti and 4.29 hectares from 4 farmers of Mauza Navegaon. However, after completing all the formalities from the concerned Government departments and before establishing the cement factory, some influential leaders in connivance with the Company nefariously purchased the lands of farmers through specific middlemen at throwaway price instead of acquiring the lands in accordance with the Land Acquisition Act of Congress regime. Thereafter, the same lands were sold to UltraTech Company at an enormous price. With this dubious deal, the farmers were duped to the tune of crores. Surprisingly, the then people’s representatives conveniently turned a blind eye towards this looting of the farmers,” Yadav said in his letter. “Had the lands been acquired in accordance with the Land Acquisition Act, the price would have been fair and at market rate (manifold), the children of farmers and other project-affected people would have got jobs according to the provisions,” Yadav added.
The Congress leader has demanded the District Collector, who has also been forwarded the copy of the letter, to determine the quantum of manpower needed to run the cement factory including office staff, supervisors and labour force. Accordingly, the children of 68 farmers of Mauza Tarsa, Ashti and unemployed youths of project affected areas should be given permanent jobs in accordance with their qualifications and due training from Government. Some selfish political leaders, in connivance with the company, employed the youths on contract basis. What is the future of these contract workers? The Congress leader asked.
Had the lands been acquired in accordance with the Land Acquisition Act, the price would have been fair and at market rate (manifold), the children of farmers and other project-affected people would have got jobs according to the provisions. But here the farmers were cheated. A group of uncanny middlemen first purchased the lands of the farmers at throwaway price and the same middlemen later sold the same lands to UltraTech Company at an exorbitant price. Who is mastermind of the middlemen? How these dalals got so much huge money for purchasing the farmers’ lands? Where the crores and crores of rupees the middlemen got from the company have gone? All these dubious aspects should be investigated at high-level, the Congress leader said in his letter to the Chief Minister. He further said that an RTI query was put up to Mouda Tehsildar on 10.4.2015 seeking details of the sordid affairs but the Tehsildar hesttatingly submitted the details only on 7.11.2015, Yadav lamented.
Yadav demanded that the children of the affected farmers and unemployed youths of project-hit areas be given permanent jobs in UltraTech Company. The nasty land deal and the men behind it should also be investigated by the high-level team. If all the demands are not met by August 15, an intense agitation will be launched against the company and district administration, Yadav warned.
The copies of the letter have also been forwarded to Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, Leader of Opposition in Assembly, Narayan Rane, MLC and former Chief Minister, Mukul Wasnik, General Secretary, AICC and Rajendra Mulak, President of Nagpur District Congress Committee (Rural).