Hindustan Times (Ranchi)
Residents of Giddijhopri clash with police as they try to stop work on a water treatment plant in their village. Work started on Friday after the CM took note of report that Jamshedpur SDO Suraj Kumar had to face sedition case when he tried to expedite the Bagbera-Chotagovindpur water supply project.
JAMSHEDPUR: Work on the World bank-funded water treatment plant in Giddijhopri village started on Friday amidst heavy deployment of security forces, a day after Dhalbhum SDO was charged with sedition by a village headman opposing the project.
Chief minister Raghubar Das took serious note of the case and intervened, ordering security for the Rs 237 crore BagberaChotagovindpur water supply project.
Tribal village headman, Sukhram Kisku had on Wednesday charged the SDO Suraj Kumar with sedition in a Jharkhand court, accusing him of using force to implement the water project in the hamlet, situated on vacant government land.
He and the villagers contended that Giddijhopri is in a Schedule 5 area — a tribal reservation — where the gram sabha or village council is empowered to safeguard and preserve traditions and customs of the people, their cultural identity, and community resources.
“We’ve succeeded in digging 70 metres of the 520 metre-area for the construction of the boundary wall between 2 pm and 4 pm today,” Prabhat Kumar, executive engineer, drinking water and sanitation department (DWSD), Jamshedpur division, told HT on Friday evening.
“We’ve submitted today’s status report to the deputy commissioner (DC) Amit Kumar and requested him for continuous deployment of police forces for the next 15 days till the completion of the boundary wall,” he said.
A security contingent of 88 personnel from Jharkhand Armed Police (JAP), Rapid Action Force (RAF) and women constables led by DSP (law and order) Vimal Kumar stood on guard at the project site.
DWSD junior engineer, assistant engineer, the SDO and other officials were also present.
Kumar said the Chief Minister had set a deadline for starting the work by July 15 amidst the opposition by villagers.
“We’ve got the CM’s order and will complete boundary wall in the next fortnight. If adequate security is available, we hope to complete the construction of the plant and 10 water towers in a year’s time,” Kumar said.
The project proposes to build a water treatment plant at Giddijhopri with a capacity of 30 million litres per day (MLD) and another at Govindpur of 46 MLD. It aims to provide 135 litres of piped drinking water per person per day to over 2 lakh people in 111 villages on the fringes of the city.
The intake well is being built where rivers meet in Sonari that will be linked to Chandil Dam, for round the year water availability.
Kumar also said that about 20 women from the village came to the site asking where their cows and goats would graze if the plant was set up at the vacant government land that they also use for defecation.