15 February 2012, Singhbhoom
On 15 February 2012 the first halt of Samvad Yatra was made at village Samutola in the Jamshedpur region of Singhbhoom district. A ‘Solid Waste Management Plant’ has been proposed on the 40 acres of government land in village Samutola despite written objections by the Gram Sabha. Village leader Shri Rangame Lugria said that this decision was taken in secret by the government in 2011. In January 2011 when the company started its survey proceedings the villages stopped them and registered their opposition to the plant but permission was given by the administration without seeking due approval from the Gram Sabha of the village. Councillor Smt Sumitra Saha said that the villagers organised themselves to oppose the plant by Tetratech India Limited and in the process false cases were registered against A.K. Hembram and Shashi Kumar Sinha of the movement. Gram Sabha member Shri Muni Hembram said that on 4 November 2011 for the second time the village gram sabha passed a resolution opposing the setting up of the plant and submitted the same to the district administration but till date no action has been taken on it.
The second halt of the Samvad Yatra was made at a Public hearing organised by ‘Jharkhand Mukti Vahini’. Speaking at the hearing Shri Arvind Anjum of ‘Jharkhand Mukti Vahini’ said that prior to independence in order to provide drinking water to Jamshedpur town ‘Dimna Jheel’ had been formed by displacing 12 tribal villages that have not been resettled till date. The displaced communities have occupied 102 acres of land and are in constant dialogue with government for their settlement on this land. Many applications have also been given to the Tata Company in this context but till date no action had been forthcoming. The villagers have begun an indefinite dharna on 13 February 2012 for a decisive action on the subject. He announced the support of ‘Jharkhand Mukti Vahini’ for Jansatyagrah 2012.
The next halt of the Samvad Yatra was at village Turambi, located 20kms from Jamshedpur district head quarters, where open cast mining is being carried on by Uranium Corporation of India. Resident of the village Shri Arjun Samat said that 304 acres of land has been acquired for this project and this includes 28 acres of common property land belonging to his village Turambi. The entire common property land of the village has been acquired and the explosions for mining are causing great damage and discomfort to the people living in the village. Many submissions have been made to the company on the subject but no action has been forthcoming till date. He said that the village has been declared ‘specially protected area’ by the General of Mines Safety and ISM Dhanbad but even so all the houses in the village today have cracks resulting from the constant blasting for mining. All the mining activity is also having detrimental affect on the people living in the village. He said that many false cases have also been registered against many people in the village and 4 people have also been sent to prison. Action has also not been forthcoming from the district administration despite the registered opposition during the public hearing that was held in 2004. He said that a public hearing was organised in the company campus on 17 October 2011 and this is unconstitutional since a public hearing can only be held in a public place. He expressed hope that these issues would be raised before the state government through the Samvad Yatra and the people would ultimately be freed from this rather unfortunate situation.
The next halt of the samvad Yatra was made at Chaibasa village of Eastern Singhbhoom district where a public meeting had been organised by ‘Ichat Bandh Virodhi Sangharsh Morcha’, ‘Johar Gram Ganrajya Sanghatan’ and ‘Birsa Sanghatan’. Addressing the meeting local lawyer Shri Chandrabhushan said that the purpose of the Chotanagpur Tenancy Act and Ssnthal Pargana Tenancy Act was to protect the rights of the tribal communities but despite these acts in Jharkhand state more than 200,000 acres of land has been transferred and now the government is scheming for bringing in amendments to these acts. He raised a valid question when he said that despite being a tribal majority state why the government had failed to formulate a tribal policy till date? Shri Sadhuji of ‘Ichat Bandh Virodhi Morcha’ said that the erection of Ichat dam posed a danger of displacement to 120 villages in the area. He said that all the villages rose in protest against this project inn 1991 and have continued to resist its revival since thus saving their lands, forests and water resources. He said that the tribal society has always opposed the sale and purchase of land as a market commodity because for this community land is the only proof of their society, culture and identity. Shri Harish of ‘Jharkhand Vishom Party’ said that on 25 January in the case of a PIL filed by Shri Talkhan Murmu for the implementation of Chotanagpur Tenancy Act the High Court has given strict orders for its implementation but the state government wants to dilute its impact and for this reason is planning to hold a meeting of the ‘Adivasi Mantrana Parishad’ where in the objective is to spread contrary rumours about the judgment. He said that all the movements in Jharkhand are forming a united front to counter these actions by the government. Together all the movements have asked the government to strictly implement the Chotanagpur Tenancy Act and the Santhal Pargana Tenancy Act while canceling all the land acquisition and transfer proceedings undertaken in the past. On behalf of the ‘Jharkhand Bachao Aandolan’ he announced complete support for Jansatyagrah 2012.