Ranchi, Oct 6 (IANS) : Five days after four villagers, including three minors, were killed in police firing in Hazaribagh district, the BJP-led Jharkhand government on Thursday announced compensation to the next of kin of the killed persons.
A compensation of Rs 2 lakh each will be given to the family members of the victims and Rs 25,000 to injured persons.
Terming the compensation an insult to the families of the victims, the state Congress demanded a judicial probe into the killings by a sitting judge of the Jharkhand High Court.
Sources in the government said that the BJP government led by Raghubar Das was under tremendous pressure from within the party as well as the opposition parties.
When police firing took place on October 1, the Chief Minster was in the United States and he returned on October 2.
Hazaribagh is represented by BJP MP Jayant Sinha who is a Minister in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cabinet.
The villagers were protesting against land acquisition and low compensation being paid by the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC).
The coal blocks of Pankri Barwadih, Chatti Bariatu and Keredari in Hazaribagh district were awarded to NTPC in 2004 and foundation was laid for mining work on November 21, 2005.
A total of 8,000 acres of land needs to be acquired for the purpose, out of which 4,000 acres belong to the ‘rayats’ or contract tillers, 2,900 acres comprises forest land and 1,200 acres is government land.
The land acquisition was estimated to affect 8,745 families and 13 million tonnes of coal was expected to be excavated from the project every year.
The villagers said that the NTPC has not given compensation as per the 2013 Land Acquisition Act and the majority of the villagers do not want to relinquish their cultivable land.