Bengal asks Essar Oil to compensate Burdwan villagers for land

Kolkata, Jan 30 (IANS) The West Bengal government has asked private oil refiner Essar Oil to resolve a land dispute by paying compensation to villagers in the state's Burdwan district.

"I have advised the officials to talk to the villagers and resolve dispute by paying compensation to four families," Industry Minister Partha Chatterjee said.

"It was simply a pending case regarding non-payment of compensation to the families. Essar Oil authorities have to resolve it through negotiation with the villagers," Chatterjee averred.

Villagers of Jathgoria, where the firm has six coal bed methane wells, Jan 28 detained a few officials for some time, demanding compensation for their land.

The country's second largest private oil refiner, however, said land of some villagers had earlier been taken by the panchayat for constructing a public road, which was being used by it for commercial purposes.

"Now some villagers have come up saying the road belongs to them and they want compensation," the company official, who held talks with the government, said.

"It has to be identified who the owners of the land are," he added.

About the detention of its employees by the villagers, the company, in a statement said: "We would like to clarify that this was a minor incident involving some of our employees who were constrained from discharging their duties. The local district administration was aware of the challenges we were facing."

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