Will There Ever BE Any Law for the Companies?

22 February 2012, Hazaribagh

On 22 February the first halt of the journey was at village Keredari of Hazaribagh district where a public hearing had been organised by the ‘Keredari Sangharsh Morcha’. Shri Pritam Sav of the ‘Keredari Sangharsh Morcha’ said that Tandava region of Chatra district and Keredari region of the Hazaribagh district have been drastically affected by the existing and proposed schemes of industrialization. Proposed industrialization will result in complete loss of land for 76 Gram Panchayats leaving 20,000 farmers completely landless. Further 5000 acres of forestland and gairmajruha land where more than 3000 landless/homeless families live has been earmarked for acquisition. Proposed schemes and projects will mean destruction of all livelihood opportunities for more than 80 percent of the people living in the region. He said that some displaced people are going to be re-settled in village Gangura that is 32km away from the current village. In the region more than 55% people are agriculture labour and they are not part of the compensation and  rehabilitation deal that has been cracked between the state government and the company. Shri Mohammed Manjur of village Pandu said that there has been a ban on sale and purchase of land in the region since 2009. As a result people are not able to raise any money even for their social requirements. Further the claims from the region under Forest Rights Act are also not being accepted by the administration nor are they accepting any applications for new ration cards, and birth and caste certificates. The people therefore are unable to get any benefits from the government schemes and programs. Shri Kunwar Ji of village Salga said that many small companies in the region are buying land and selling it to larger companies and industries. In reality these small companies don’t have to follow the rules for compensation and rehabilitation and therefore pose as fronts for the larger companies. All this is creating a situation where violence and disputes rule while the middlemen make hey. The mandatory Public Hearings for these companies are a mere formality. During the Public Hearing for village Keredari criminal cases were registered against 23 people and many were harassed. Shri Vikki Dubey of village Balidevri said that since more than 8 percent of the farmers in the region are marginal farmers they will receive little or no compensation benefits. All the members of the ‘Keradari Sanghrash Morch’ said that they would be a part of Jansatyagrah 2012.

The second halt of the day was at village Badhkagaon where a meeting had been organised by the ‘Visthapan Virodhi Morch’. Shri Anirudh Bahi of the MOrcha said that this region of Latehar Chatra and Hazaribagh district is also known as Karanpura Pargana and will be seriously affected by the proposed industrialization. He said that 35 companies have signed MoUs with the government for setting up industries in the Karanpura Pargana region. Most of the units will be for coal mining and power plants. The region has been immensely productive in sugarcane and vegetables but now the fertile land is being acquired for industry, he said. He further added that on 15 February a Public Hearing for permission to a industrial unit had been organised at Hazaribagh Nagar Bhawan at a distance of 60k.m from the villages that would be affected by this unit. As if this violation was not enough many people such as Virendra Das, Manoj Kumar and Dashrath Ram who had come for registering objections against the unit were criminally charged and imprisoned. Public Hearings are mere administrative formalities, he said. Shri Deepak Das of the Sangharsh Morch said that the morcha is a people’s collective entirely based on people’s support and if the government does not respond to the issue that it stands for then they are prepared to walk the streets with the thousands who would be marching from Gwalior on 2 October 2012.

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The next meeting was organised at ‘Janvikas Kendra’ in Hazaribagh. This meeting was attended by the representatives of many social organisations. Shri Mahendra Rana of the ‘Lok samiti’ said that in the undivided state of Bihar the process of land reforms had been given a boost with the law for the elimination of zamindari system but after the second five year plan the focus on industrialization placed many barriers to land reforms. He said that to overcome the limitations of land ceiling act many people were buying land in different places including different states and this process could only be halted if a system of land ownership passbook on the lines of voter card is instituted. Shri Dilip Bhai of ‘Akhil Bhartiya Mahasangh’ said that the High Court judgment of 25 January in the case of implementation of Chota Nagpur Tenancy Act is commendable but the Government is adamant on amending the Act and this should be considered unconstitutional. An area of 10k.m. around Ranchi city has been excluded from the application of this Act giving rise to unscrupulous land mafia purchasing of land in more than 80 villages. Smt Vinni of ‘Ekal Nari Shakti Sanghatan’ said that  the fact that women have been denied their right to land is a serious social concern and needs to be addressed. The state government never informs the Gram Sabhas about the signing of MoUs nor what is contained in them therefore these should be considered unconstitutional and invalid, she added.

Similarly the women are never informed about the sale and purchase of lands because they have not been given ownership rights to land. This anomaly leads to their exploitation and many difficult situations. All state governments should start the process of renewal of land records and ensure that women are given joint land ownership rights, she concluded.

Industry/Company Proposed Land

Transfer (in Acres)

NTPC 5500 acres Reliance 6000 acres Nilanchal Industries 2500 acres Rongta 2500 acres Abhijit Group 1000 acres Proposed Dehri Dam

Scheme in Keredari Village 2300 acres

The transfer proceedings for the mentioned land have been started in the Badhkagaon region.

Pritam Sav, Sangharsh Morcha

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