KORAPUT: Production was hit at Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Sunabeda, on Thursday after hundreds of tribals staged an agitation in front of the factory’s main gate accusing the PSU of neglecting peripheral villages. The Sunabeda unit of HAL produces engines for MiG and Sukhoi aircrafts.
Employees failed to enter the factory as agitators stopped them from entering their premises. They even blocked the roads leading to the factory by felling trees. “We have approached the administration and HAL authorities to fulfill our demands but each time we returned with only assurances. So, this time we are determined and will not call off our agitation till written assurance is given to us,” said convenor of HAL Displaced Persons Association (HALDPA) Sadhu Chhatria.
The agitators allege that while 5,000 families of at least 22 villages were displaced and had lost their land in the mid-sixties when 3121.15 acres was acquired for establishment of HAL, the PSU has adopted only eight villages for development work.
The agitators are demanding overall development of all the 22 affected villages, employment to at least one person of each displaced household, education facilities in peripheral villages, return of land acquired for HAL but lying unused.
A senior HAL official said 800 employees out of 3,700 had managed to get inside the factory before the arrival of the agitators but were unable to come out as the protesters block their path. There was no sign of the agitation being called off till late in the evening. District officials said talks are on with HAL authorities and the agitators. “Officials are trying to pacify the agitators and we are hopeful of solution,” said collector (Koraput) Sachin Jadhav.