Villagers of Phulbari, Barapukuria block highway
Hundreds of villagers of Phulbari and victims of Barapukuria land subsidence yesterday blocked Dinajpur-Bogra highway protesting government plan for setting up an open pit mine in the region.
The hour-long programme halted the district's road communications with several other districts while about 500 passenger buses and vehicles remained stranded on both sides of the highway.
National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Seaports, Phulbari unit organised the blockade at 11:00am.
Around 2000 villagers of Phulbari upazila and Barapukuria of Parbatipur upazila, along with banners gathered on the highway. They chanted slogans against the move for open pit mining.
At a rally at Dhakamore, the speakers urged the government to implement their 6-point demand signed on August 31, 2006 after the August 26 Phulbari carnage.
Three people were killed as the law enforcers opened fire on the agitating crowds on the day.
The rally also demanded long-term crop compensation for the victims of land subsidence around Barapukuria Coal Mine, their rehabilitation and introduction of rationing system.
The leaders of the committee also announced roads and railways blockade programme in the district for six hours on March 28 if their demands are not met by March 27.
Convenor of central committee Engineer Sheikh Md Shahidullah, convenor of district committee Altaf Hossain, among others, spoke on the occasion with convenor of the Phulbari unit of the committee Saiful Islam Jewel in chair.
Local committee member SM Nuruzzaman said the government committed 6-point Phulbari agreement but it is yet to be implemented fully although four and half years have passed after the agreement.