National Alliance of People’s Movements
Jattha Update-29th January-4th day
Nandigram or Singur, Narmada or Damodar, The Reality Is Same:BrokenPromises, Violated Rights And Private Profits At Public Costs.
Reaching Bokaro on the third day of the tour, Jattha members visited the villages, including Mathuri and Kanari affected by the Bokaro Steel Plant.While in total 33,000 acres of land was acquired by SAIL, much of it without even following the process laid out under the British Day old Land Acquisition Act. During the acquisition process, more than 7000 acres of land was forcibly acquired by the authorities as the land acquisition process was left midway, but the acquisition done. In another instance of violating the rules, survey has been initiated for over 4600 acres of land but then the acquisition has
already been accomplished.
One could understand why people from the affected areas have been opposing the steel plant. The villagers shared many such instances where their lands and livelihoods are being snatched away under the pretext of setting of the plant. One was to witness for one more time, the sham of rehabilitation. The beautifully drafted policies and entitlements that remain only on paper and are not implemented anywhere. The displaced in this case were entitled for land worth one-tenth of acre and house plots. While the titles of the plots have not been transferred to their name, they are being asked to deposit money in order to receive house plots. One was to witness another instance of corruption, when the locals shared in details the modus operandi of how bogus names were included in the list of affected families, in this case 13,000, and now they have been given sundry jobs at the plant site, while the real affected families are to still await the fulfillment of the promises of providing jobs. Jattha members expressed their solidarity with the affected populations in the form of speeches and a song was sung by Sandhaya Devi.
Similar was the plight of the affected people of Tenu Ghat dam, a part of the Damodar Valley project, implemented long back but rehabilitation of the affected, still an unaccomplished task. At the periphery of the Plant are residences of those who work at the site. Employed as contract labourers, they are exploited and not given their due. Krantikari Mazdoor union is working with them on the issues of implementation of the labour welfare legislations such as Contract labour act, Minimum Wages Act etc.
A delegation, consisting of local activists accompanied by Jattha members Sandeep Pandey. Romabahen, Nand Lal, residents of Nandigram, met District Collector and confronted him on the above mentioned issues. It was decided to have a meeting again in the last week of February and if no decisions taken, an indefinite action programme will be initiated, in which affected people from other areas will also join.
On 29th, the jattha reached Ranchi where Jangal Bachao Andolan, Ulgulan Manch, Jharkhand Mine Areas Co-ordination Committee had organized a public meeting. It was addressed by veteran leader Ram Dayal Munda, Radha Rani of Nandigram, Sultan Meenal Panda from Singur, Romabahen and others. Speaker after speaker lamented the fact how Corporations and companies are in connivance with the governments, were encroaching upon people’s rights and resources. Social Activist, Medha Patkar gave a call of working towards the implementation of Article 243 of the Constitution, which would be a step towards Gram Swaraj.
The issues related to the mining undertaken by Uranium Corporation of India Ltd
were also raised by the local people. Sandeep Pandey shared how the Indo-US nuclear deal was to exaggerate these problems and convert the country into a military zone. The Jattha marched from Ranchi to Jamshedpur, where they joined the in-definite dharna of the local people. A mass meeting was held later on.
The Jattha will be moving on to Raigad on 30th, Chhattisgarh and to Reva by 31st.