Epicentre of protest
Villagers of Chourenga have actually managed to stop a plant from coming up after nine months of protests with 85 per cent of the plant already constructed. When people came to their village asking them to sell their land for a nursery, they agreed. Land was sold at rates between Rs 6,000 and Rs 20,000 per hectare. But instead of a nursery, construction work for a sponge iron plant, owned by Raipur Sponge Iron Limited, started. Villagers were angry. More so, when they realised that the no-objection certificate for the plant had also been obtained.
The gram sabha had not given its consent to the project. However, industry and the state government claimed that the certificate had been obtained from the gram sabha. It was later found that blank spaces in the gram sabha register had been used to fraudulently manufacture the certificate.
For nine months, villagers camped, blocking the road to the plant, not allowing its management, the police, and government officials to enter. They brought the construction work in the plant to a standstill. The management and the state government did everything possible to stop the protests, but in vain. Eventually, the plant's management decided to abandon the project.