Questions on Land Acquisition and Tribal Self-Rule Raised in the People’s Parliament

2 March 2012, Ranchi

On 2 March the Jansatyagrah Samvad Yatra reached, the capital of Jharkhand state, Ranchi where various social groups had jointly organised a ‘People’s Parliament’. Addressing the Parliament Smt Hemlata of Palamu said that the greatest challenges faced by the Jharkhand government are non-implementation of pro-poor laws such as the Santhal Pargana Tenancy Act, Chotanagpur Tenancy Act, Tribal Self-Rule and Forest Rights Act. In these areas where violence and exploitation is at its peak the state administration has come to a stand still. Shri Kumar Chand Mardi of ‘Gaon Ganrajya sanghatan’ said that all the tribal people’s organisations are uniting to jointly oppose the proposed amendment to Chaotanagpur Tenancy Act. He said Jharkhand is home to mere 26% tribal population that is primarily living in regions that are most affected by industrialization and mining. The state of Jahrkhand could have had a tribal policy honoring the tribal population and ensuring justice but under pressure from the corporate lobby the government has given top priority to its industrial policy. In reality this is an insult to the movement that
was waged for the creation of the state of Jharkhand. Senior Social Activist Shri dayamani Barla said that the government on the pretext of ‘Operation Green Hunt’ is creating an environment of fear and terrorism in Saranda and other regions of Jahrkhand so that they can force the tribals to move out of theseresource rich areas. He said that the government policies are aimed at creating divisions within the tribal society and the opportunity presented by the People’s Parliament should be used, by all the groups and organisations, for starting a decisive movement. Shri Deepak Rai of the ‘Visthapan Virodhi Manch’ said that government has begun its repressive program in the Karnpura Pargana where thousands of farmers have united and are fighting against N.T.P.C. and other coal mining projects of the government. Touts and middlemen hired by the corporations are using violent means to grab land from the poor and the administration, despite repeated complaints, is standing still without any action against those who are using violence. Smt NIrmala Murmu of Dumka district said that there isn’t a site in Jharkhand where the
Gram Sabhas have not opposed then setting up of industries and mines both on ethical and legal grounds. She added that the companies could be made more responsible and answerable for their actions if the government used the conditions imposed by the Gram Sabhas for their functioning but no political party is able to clarify its stance in support of the rights of the poor. Shri Sangram Hembram of ‘Bhumi Raksha Manch’ said that the Land Acquisition Act should be cancelled and in tis place the government should enact a Land Protection Act because on the one hand indiscriminate transfer of agriculture and forest land for industry is taking place and on the other the laws for land distribution and protection are not being followed. He wanted to know why governments did not acquire land for distribution to the landless tribal and dalit families? If land can be acquired for profit and revenue considerations than it can also be acquired for the purpose of social justice and the government is morally answerable for this discrepancy in its functioning. MLA of Palamu region Smt Sudha Chowdhry said that there is a need for a forum that can be used for discussions with the people’s movements and their energy used for implementing programs of poverty elimination. Towards the end of the meeting all the representatives of people’s organisations and village leaders together announced their participation in the decisive movement starting 2 October 2012.

One response to “Questions on Land Acquisition and Tribal Self-Rule Raised in the People’s Parliament

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