'Anti-industry’ Loba welcomes DVC
The devastating floods sweeping across many districts of West Bengal have caused tremendous damage including death and loss of property. The government is still under pressure to act fast as it is getting a lot of flak from various quarters. However, amid such a grim scenario it was heartening to note how elated farmers of Lobo welcomed Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) delegates with open arms.
After five long years, a DVC survey team set foot in Lobo village to finalize details of the proposed coal mining project. The representatives were floored by the warm welcome they received from the farmers. They had gone to the village to initiate the process of identification of actual land owners. They spent the entire day moving around Fakirbera, speaking to farmers and going through their official papers of ownership deeds. DVC is already working on a plan to set office at Lobo soon.
During the Left Front regime, the government had decided to set up open mouth coal mining project at Loba. DVC got the coal mining block rights of the area. However, they entrusted another company to set up the infrastructure. Meanwhile, the-then government and the industrialist associated with the project began their farmland acquisition drive, fixing up compensation prices without bothering to consult the owners. The farmers had no alternative but to retort to protests and wage a war against the government's land-grabbing drive.
They forcefully grabbed some machines and kept them in their possession, under strict vigilance. The volatile situation at Loba compelled the then-government and industrialists involved in the project to retract. In 2012, police entered the village to recover the machines but this led to clashes with the villagers. Heated altercations led to skirmishes and bloodshed. Since then, Loba was branded as a village opposed to development and industrialization.
However, this time, when DVC officials went to the village, the picture was completely different. Local farmers came out in hordes amid steady downpour and welcomed the DVC surveyors team cordially. The leader of the team, Badiujjaman clarified they hadn't come to fix the price of the land. His team would identify the actual land owners and probe if land, bought from the original owner, had been recorded in the official books or not. We want to ensure that the full benefit of the compensation package reaches the actual owner, he assured.