Employees of Sugar Company in Odisha Demand Land Promised 50 Years Ago

Reported by

Shazia NigarLand Conflict Watch

Last updated on

August 20, 2021

Location of Conflict

Rayagada

Rayagada

This is a Left Wing Extremism Affected District

This is A Schedule Five District

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Other Kind of Industry

Sugar

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

1440

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

318

ha

Starting Year

State

Odisha

Sector

Industry

Former employees of the Jeypore Sugar Company (JSC), who had paid a deposit for residential plots spread over 787 acres of land in Rayagada, are demanding that the stipulated land be allotted to them. They have also demanded that a part of the unused land should be used for developing civic amenities. JSC was set up in 1936 and attracted migrant workers from other districts. In 1971, 300 employees of the company deposited INR 300 each for residential plots that the company promised to allot to them. However, JSC became dysfunctional in the 1980s, and the employees did not get their due. Despite repeated attempts stretching over decades, during which many of the former employees died, JSC has been unresponsive to the demand for housing. In 1992, the Revenue Officer of Rayagada had instructed JSC to return 507 acres to its former employees under the Land Ceiling Act. The JSC appealed to the subdivisional magistrate and additional district magistrate, and both the authorities upheld the Revenue Officers order. JSC then took the matter to the Orissa High Court, where the case is pending. In June 2019, family members of the former employees organised themselves as the Retired Employees Union and staged a blockade in front of the JSC office reiterating their demand for housing allotment. Prior to the protest, the Union members had unsuccessfully tried to meet the JSC managing director in Chennai. The Union had also staged a peaceful protest outside the gates of the defunct JSC factory. Rayagada tehsildar Umashankar Sahu met the protesters and promised to take up the issue with the Advocate General of the Orissa High Court for further action. Apart from the lack of response from the JSC, the conflict is complicated by the stand of the queen of Jeypore, who claims that the land in question belongs to the royal family. The queen told the media that the land was leased out to JSC, which fraudulently made the Record of Rights in its name in connivance with the state revenue authorities. The royal family is preparing for a legal battle and is willing to distribute the land for both civic amenities and housing for JSCs former employees.

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Demand for promised land, Demand for legal recognition of land rights

Demand for promised housing

Region Classification

Urban and Rural

Type of Land

Common

Type of Common Land

Non-Forest (Other than Grazing Land)

Total investment involved (in Crores):

Type of investment:

Year of Estimation

Has the Conflict Ended?

No

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict

Land Ceiling Laws, Land Reform Laws

Legislations/Policies Involved

  1. Urban Land (Ceiling and Regulation) Act, 1976

    Section 3: No person is entitled to hold vacant land in excess of the ceiling limit; Section 5: Any vacant land sold or otherwise transferred by a landholder must be taken into account while calculating the excess vacant land they hold for the purposes of the Act; Section 10: State government may acquire vacant land held in excess of ceiling limits; Section 23: State government may pass an order to allot any vacant land acquired by the state government (in excess of the ceiling limit) for providing residential accommodation.

  2. Odisha Land Reforms Act, 1960

    Section 37B: Persons are not entitled to hold land in excess of the ceiling area; Section 39: Principles for determination of ceiling area; Section 52: Provisions of the Act apply even when land is acquired by any person after the 1973 amendment and the total land held by such person exceeds the ceiling limit.

Whether claims/objections were made as per procedure in the relevant statute

What was the claim(s)/objection(s) raised by the community? What was the decision of the concerned government department?

Legal Processes and Loopholes Enabling the Conflict:

Non-implementation of land-reform laws , Non-implementation of land-ceiling laws, Delay in allotment and possession of land/property

Legal Status:

In Court

Status of Case In Court

Pending

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

Name of the adjudicatory body

Name(s) of the Court(s)

Orissa High Court

Case Number

OJC No. 2914 of 1985

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

Whether criminal law was used against protestors

Official name of the criminal law. Did the case reach trial?

Reported Details of the Violation:

Date of Violation

Location of Violation

Nature of Protest

Blockades, Protests/marches

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Rayagada Revenue Office

PSUs Involved in the Conflict:

Jeypore Sugar Company

Did LCW Approach Government Authorities for Comments?

Yes

Name, Designation and Comment of the Government Authorities Approached

The researcher sent an email to oriray@nic.in but got no response. Repeated calls and emails of LCW to JSC also went unanswered.

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?

Name, Designation and Comment of Corporate Authorities Approached

Other Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Resources Related to Conflict

  • News Articles Related to the Conflict:
  • Documents Related to the Conflict:
  • Links Related to the Conflict:
No Images Available

Documented By

Shazia Nigar

Reviewed By

Shazia Nigar

Updated By

Shazia Nigar

Edited By

Shazia NigarLand Conflict Watch
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