/ Environment / Green Jharkhand: Sold Out

Green Jharkhand: Sold Out

Peoples Voice on July 13, 2016 - 11:26 am in Environment

Stan Swamy

Corporates invited to make green Jharkhand into a desert, devoid of nature and people

The Chief Minister of Jharkhand, announced the formation of Jharkhand Investment Promotion Board (JIPB) on 8th July 2016 in Mumbai. He said, “Jharkhand is ushering in an era of industrial growth and is geared up to showcase its enormous potential to the national and international investment communities in order to attract suitable investments. Formation of the Jharkhand Investment Promotion Board is a step towards this goal and we are confident the JIPB will help in facilitating new investments in sunrise sectors and make Jharkhand one of the global destinations of choice for investors.” [NRI News 25×7 July 08, 2016 In: National Business]

He assured the ‘Industry Captains’ “Jharkhand, which was known for issues related to law and order and also for Naxal menace, is now a thing of the past. The state is quite safe for investors and even for the common man,” [Business Standard, Sanjay Jog | Mumbai July 9, 2016]

Several industrialists attended the inaugural meeting JIPB. Those present at the meet included top Captains of Industry. [Hindustan Times, HT Correspondent, 9 July 2016]

The Question is: how have the ‘Captains of Industry’ played their ‘investment’ role in the tribal belt of Central India so far?

The straight forward answer is it has been disastrous.

In collusion with State Govt, Local Administration, Police & Paramilitary Forces,

The ‘Captains of Industry’ are irreparably dividing Adivasi Communities by buying off some members with a few thousand rupees, make them their dalals to forcibly acquire the land of Adivasi people for mining, infrastructure projects;

The ‘Captains of Industry’ are maneuvering the statutory ‘public hearings’ through which the consent of the people (70% for public and 80% for private industries) is a legal requirement for acquiring their land. Most such hearings are fake as they are held at short notice and at far away places in contravention of law, surrounded by a fear-provoking police force making it very difficult for affected people to openly express their opinion. If some managed to express their dissent, they are brow-beaten and threatened by dalals and goondas who are brought in from outside; so the formality of ‘public hearing’ is done but the reality is otherwise. There are instances where, fearing people’s objection to the hearing, it has been held within closed doors keeping the chamchas inside and the affected people outside. Thus a pretence of abiding by the law is done. The Captains of Industry are guilty of this crime.

The ‘Captains of Industry’ are conniving with local administration and police to silence the people when they hold public meetings / satyagrahas to protest against forcible acquisition of their land. The police bounce on the crowd lathi charging men, women, children with absolute brutality. There are situations where whole villages have been surrounded by police/para-military forces, houses are forced open and any and everyone inside thoroughly beaten up. The ‘Captains of Industry’ may not be physically present in the perpetration of these atrocities but certainly are behind it.

The ‘Captains of Industry’ are being coopted by  the local administration and police to go after the human rights activists, intellectuals, writers, journalists who lead or give voice to people’s movements and  struggles, labelling them as Maoists / Naxals. Very many of them have been put in prison, false cases foisted on them. The plot is to remove / annihilate the leaders of resistance movements. Thousands of them are languishing in jails with cases which never reach the trial stage. Research studies show that only a minuscule percentage (3 to 5 %) have had any relation with any extremist outfits! Their only “crime” is they resist and helped others to resist the unjust, illegal displacement and dispossession of mainly Adivasis and Dalits by snatching their natural resources. Tragically, the ‘Captains of Industry’ are behind this sordid affair.

The ‘Captains of Industry’ make much of fulfilling their “Corporates Social Responsibility”. What they are doing now under that label is at best a consolation prize, bread-crumbs falling from the rich man’s table. The true CSR would be to welcome the land-owners from whose land all the mineral wealth is taken out to be ‘share-holders’ in the company. That will give them an assurance of economic betterment and social respect and dignity. Why are the ‘Captains of Industry’ so vehemently opposing this proposal?

In such a scenario, further destruction of natural resources and displacement of people should be resisted by all means. When the very existence of the Jharkhandi people is at stake, we ought not keep quiet because the investment process may not be directly affecting us. It is time to call ‘Enough is enough’ and that we all stand by our people and help strengthen their resistance to the unjust, illegal plunder of our natural resources by investors whose sole intent is profit and more profit. Let the secular political parties, workers unions, people’s movements forget their little differences and join hands to form a formidable force. It is most urgent that the educated urban middle class is shaken up from its slumber of unconcern and inaction.

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