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No To SEZ And A Dalit Question

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    No To SEZ And A Dalit Question Palash Biswas Contact: Palash C Biswas, C/O Mrs Arati Roy, Gosto Kanan, Sodepur, Kolkata- 700110, India. Phone: 91-033-25659551
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 2, 2007
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      No To SEZ And A Dalit Question

      Palash Biswas

      Contact: Palash C Biswas, C/O Mrs Arati Roy, Gosto
      Kanan, Sodepur, Kolkata- 700110, India. Phone:
      91-033-25659551
      Email: palashchandrabiswas@...

      Skriti Biswas, Bengal RPI leader raised the issue from
      the dias of the two day national convention on SEZ and
      Nandigram Saturday Afternoon in Kolkata, which went
      abegging.The convention, which was to be held at the
      Salt Lake stadium initially, was evented at the Netaji
      Institute in Sealdah. No doubt, there is an urgent
      need to have a open discussion on Nandigram and every
      effort in that direction is highly welcome.We
      appreciate this convention on Nandigram at Kolkata and
      hope that better and tangible results will emerge out
      of it which will prove beneficial for the people.But
      without addressing the basic questions related to
      Caste Hindu supremacy in Bengali society, Nandigram
      resistance has to expire some day. As the mini poll
      has indicated, the CPIM`s scientific Election
      Machinery and Gestapo are quite copetent to meet
      whatsoever challanges any time , under any
      circumstances! Without a real dalit movement Left
      Front has to stay in power and Buddha is quite certain
      to romp home!


      Servihoo
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      Role of all political parties - in the Nandigram
      fiasco and other anti-land acquisition movement-
      should be analysed. It is not only CPIM, that is to be
      blamed for the controversies revolving around the
      setting up of SEZ accross the country, activist Medha
      Patkar said. Talking to the scribes on the sidelines
      of the two day National convention,Medha said that
      role played by all political parties, as far as
      framing and implementing of SEZ policy is concerned,
      needs to be assessed well.

      She said,` SABHIO PARTIES KI BHOOMIKA TALASHNI
      CHAHIYE-- AISA NAHI KI BAKEE SAB DOODH KE DHULE HAIN.
      AUR KEVAL CPIM DOSHI HAI.

      Medha, however, did not spare CPIM either. She
      criticised CPIM`s role in Nandigram and hitted very
      hard. She said,`What`s BJP we know,. But these ( the
      deaths in Nandigram) are not fake encounters as
      discovered in Gujrat . These are real encounters!

      She said very clearly,` All parties are responsible at
      one level, but in Nandigram episode CPIM is most
      responsible.’

      Participants in the convention also doubt Trinamool’s
      resistance in Nandigram. “I wonder if the Trinamool
      subscribes to the demand to abolish SEZs,” said
      Dipankar Bhattacharya, general secretary, CPI(M-L).
      The convention has four major demands — abolition of
      the SEZ Act, 2005, abolition of Land Acquisition Act,
      1894, resignation of CM Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and
      autonomy for people’s institutions at the grassroots
      to decide issues like land acquisition and
      development. The convention is being attended by
      almost 1,000 social workers besides Roy, Mahasweta
      Devi, Medha Patkar, Dipankar Bhattacharya, John Dayal,
      Debabrata Bandopadhyay, G N Saibaba, Ulka Mahajan and
      Siddiqullah Chowdhury.

      The Trinamool Congress and the Gana Unnayan O Jana
      Adhikar Sangram Samiti have been partners in the
      Bhoomi Ucched Pratirodh Committee — the forum that has
      been agitating against the state government’s proposed
      land acquisition plan at Nandigram. Trinamool,
      however, has been kept out of this two-day convention.
      Samiti representatives claimed no invitation was sent
      out separately to various organisations. Participants
      have come in on their own, after the convention was
      announced.


      Sukriti made a serious allegation that Muslims and
      dalits are being used by Caste Hindu politicians,
      intelectual and activists! As they mobilise the
      underprevileged and Have Nots against the ststepower
      with an issue like SEZ, but they are least concerned
      with socil scenetrio in Bengal and India.These people
      have no sympathy with the persecuted refugees, dalits,
      tribal and Muslims. They happen to be silent on issues
      like Sacchar Committee recommendations, citizenship
      amendment act and deportation drive, reservation and
      quota! How is this possible that they oppose
      capitalist Marxist CPIM and are quite detached to make
      any change in the social scenerio!

      Well, here you are! Mahashweta devi, Mamta Bannerjee
      and Shaoli Mitra do not stand on the same ground where
      Jamaet Ul Hind leader Sidicullah Chowdhari or sukriti
      Biswas stands.

      THe convention was highlighted as the focus was on
      international Icons like Arundhati Ray, Sandeep
      pandey, Medha Patkar, Mahashweta Devi and Dipankar
      Bhattacharya , simply because Bite Value. Sukriti has
      not any bite Value.
      Another dalit leader from Ambedkar Mission DR.
      Debashish Majumdar pointed out that Nandigram
      Rsistance is basically a dalit uprising. He said that
      the Dalits and Muslims may change the scenerio with a
      real Nationwide Dalit Movement.

      The National Convention was spectacular for large
      scale participation of Muslims, nearly half the
      delegates and dalits. A bunch of Bhumi Ucched
      Committee leaders quoted the history of peasants`
      movement and Tamralipta uprising during British Raj.

      It was the call of the day, a nationwide dalit
      Movement led by Dalits and Muslims and supported by
      democratic sections of other communities. Some other
      dalit speakers quoted Ambedkar and Guruchand Thakur
      and insisted to punish Buddhdev Bhattacharya. Bhumi
      Ucched Committe leaders demanded immediate arrest of
      Buddhadev for Nandigram Genocide. They argued, SEZ or
      no SEZ, the Genocide should not be forgotten!

      The low profile delegates also insisted to ensure a
      democratic environment in Bengal before any peace
      initiative.My dear friends, do understand the left
      strategy of survival,West Bengal's ruling Left
      Frontdesperate to seek an escape route Saturday said
      the all-party peace talks on Nandigram, which
      collapsed with Trinamool Congress chief Mamata
      Banerjee walking out of a meet after her demand to
      call the March 14 mayhem a genocide was shot down,
      would continue at all levels - the state, the district
      and the block. It is insisting to bargain with Mamat
      Bannerjee and her party TMC, isolating Bhumi Ucched
      Committee and Jamate Ul Hind. Subhash Chakrabarti, as
      the Bengal Sports minister has the final say in
      affairs related to Salt Lake stadium. Chakrabarti
      ultimately denied the convention its venue. Why? Mamat
      is not invited. It was Chakrabarti, who interuppted
      Mamata in the All Party Meeting and because of his
      comments, Mamta Walked out. Now the convention skipped
      Mamta. In Fact, the Left is trying its best to isolate
      Mamta Bannerjee from other forces of Nandigram
      resistance!
      However, the communists said the March 14 police
      firing cannot be called 'genocide' going by the
      dictionary meaning of the expression and hence it
      would not be part of the draft of the talks as
      demanded by Banerjee.

      'The Left Front today decided that the talks would
      continue not only at the state level (as demanded by
      Banerjee earlier leading to the May 24 abortive peace
      meeting) but also at the district and block levels,'
      said Forward Bloc (West Bengal) secretary and veteran
      Left leader Ashok Ghosh Saturday.

      'Left Front chairman Biman Bose would be in charge of
      the modalities of the same,' Ghosh said after a Left
      Front meeting.

      Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya, who attended
      the meeting, wanted Ghosh to take the leading role in
      the talks as before so that Banerjee could again be
      persuaded to join the talks.

      The all-party talks had collapsed on its first day on
      May 24 with Banerjee's walkout over the word
      'genocide'. She had demanded that the March 14 police
      firing that killed 14 be called genocide, but
      Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leaders shot
      down the demand.


      Renowned author and social activist Arundhati Roy has
      questioned Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee’s
      role in the Nandigram imbroglio. In the city to attend
      a two-day convention on ‘Nandigram and Special
      Economic Zones’ that began from Saturday, Roy said
      Mamata’s design in the Nandigram incident is
      “opportunistic and cynical”. Roy said the burning
      issue of acquiring land for industry in the state,
      which has stoked popular imagination in the entire
      country, has been turned into a game between the
      Trinamool and the CPI(M). “The Trinamool is no
      different from the CPI(M). They would have done the
      same thing if they were in power,” Roy said. Roy has
      criticised the manner in which local residents of the
      area have driven each other out, mutilating a
      humanitarian issue to suit political pursuits. On the
      present situation, Roy said the government is using
      all its resources to “deoxygenate” the place and the
      people. She said people will not be able to survive in
      such an environment. “How many dead people per acre is
      the government willing to accept to create SEZs? Time
      has come to decide on what we want — ten per cent
      growth or democracy?” she asked. The author said land
      acquisition cases in the entire country cannot be
      considered in isolation, hinting at the need to
      formulate a comprehensive policy on SEZs.

      Medha Patkar visits Singur
      Hooghly (Singur): Social activist Medha Patkar today
      visited the houses of two Singur farmers who had
      committed suicide after their lands were acquired by
      the state government without their consent for Tata
      Motors' small car project. Patkar went to the house of
      Prasanta Das in Khaser Bheri village and that of
      Haradhan Bag in Beraberi village. Das and Bag had
      committed suicide on May 25 and in February
      respectively.

      "The West Bengal Government and the Tatas were equally
      responsible for these suicides," Patkar alleged.

      She said special economic zones were mushrooming in
      the country and the farmers were bearing the brunt.

      The villagers asked Patkar to continue her fight
      against acquisition of farmland for industry saying
      that many people had not willingly handed over their
      lands to the government.

      Trinamool Congress chief, Mamata Banerjee, will visit
      the area tomorrow.


      Reliance Doors Open!
      Uncertainty over handing over a city market to Mukesh
      Ambani-owned Reliance Retail Ltd for redevelopment
      seemed to have ended with Left Front allies, which had
      initially opposed the idea, now waving their green
      signal to the Kolkata Municipal Corp (KMC).The
      decision was taken at the Left Front's district
      committee level meeting Friday where the Front
      partners- Forward Bloc, Communist Party of India (CPI)
      and Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) - finally
      endorsed the civic body's decision to hand over the
      Park Circus Municipal Market in central Kolkata to
      Reliance Retail for reconstruction.

      "I have explained to the Front leaders that we have
      allowed Reliance Retail for redevelopment of the
      market since they are the highest bidders in the
      global tender call. The question of allowing them for
      retail business comes much later," said KMC mayor
      Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharyya.But whether Reliance
      Retail Ltd (RRL) would be allowed to start the retail
      business in a particular portion of the reconstructed
      building would be decided later, Bhattacharyya said.

      The Left parties were principally opposed to the entry
      of Reliance in retail market.

      The Mukesh Ambani-owned RRL attended the global tender
      call of KMC - the largest civic body in West Bengal -
      for redeveloping the Park Circus Municipal market.

      According to KMC sources, RRL was the highest bidder
      that agreed to pay over Rs.30 million for the project.
      RRL was given the market building on a 99-year lease
      by the Kolkata civic authority.

      Earlier, the proposal of handing over the market to
      Reliance was deferred in the KMC Mayor-in-Council
      (MiC) meeting as the Left Front partners disagreed
      with the mayor's willingness to rope in Reliance for
      the project.

      The world's second largest professional services
      company with an annual revenue of $20 billion,
      Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, has decided to expand its
      services range in Kolkata by setting up an enterprise
      application software services delivery centre, its
      second one in India after Mumbai.
      According to Dileep Choksi, the joint management
      partner of Deloitte, one of the big four global
      consulting companies, it will start offering its full
      range of consulting business--from audit and tax
      consulting to financial advisory services--to its
      eastern region clients as well as companies located in
      other parts of India and abroad.

      While the West Bengal government is still scouting for
      100 acres for Infosys Technologies as it failed to
      acquire the land opposite to Vedic Village at Rajarhat
      in New Town within the March 30 deadline, Deloitte's
      decision to set up its own office at Sector V in Salt
      Lake Electronics Complex comes as a relief to it.

      Deloitte's entry in application software business can
      be a good news for Debesh Das, the Bengal IT minister,
      who these days is busy in fixing a meeting with
      Infosys officials so that they can have a look at an
      alternative site in and around Kolkata.

      Deloitte plans to start its full-fledged operations
      within the next six weeks with 100 people initially.
      The majority of them will be in application software
      developement, said Choksi.
      We can’t discourage investments: Buddha

      AM JIGEESH
      Posted online: Saturday, June 02, 2007 at 0011 hours
      IST




      NEW DELHI, JUNE 1: No matter the unrest in Nandigram
      or Singur, industrialisation in West Bengal will
      continue. This has been reaffirmed by chief minister
      Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee.
      Writing in the latest issue of CPI (M) organ The
      Marxist, Bhattacharjee strove to to remove doubts over
      theoretical and ideological issues gripping
      development in the state.





      He has made it clear that his government will not do
      anything to discourage foreign investment in the
      state.

      The piece is considered an attempt to bridge the gap
      between the Left Front partners, miffed with the
      Nandigram episode, and the CPI(M).

      Some of Bhattacharjee's party colleagues, too, have
      been critical of the "blind industrialisation" in the
      state.

      Against this backdrop, Bhattacharjee has listed his
      arguments for industrialisation and the push being
      given to investments. "The Opposition is of the view
      (and a few Left Front partners) that the foreign
      capitalists are rushing in on their own to exploit us.
      The actual picture is different. There is tough
      competition all around. We cannot discourage
      investment. Had there been an alternative to the
      present form of investment we would have opted for it.
      The idea is that we need private capital, with limits
      set, and not everywhere," Bhattacharjee said in the
      article.

      However, he asserted that his party would not allow
      FDI in the retail sector.

      Maintaining that the Left Front government is "closely
      watching" the changes in Communist-ruled countries in
      Asia and Latin America, the chief minister said the
      model set by them is not being followed in West
      Bengal.

      "It will be a mistake to follow a specific model," he
      said. He has also said that the Left would have to
      strive for a "workable alternative."
      http://www.financialexpress.com/fe_full_story.php?content_id=165946


      CPI(M) unimpressed with PM's social charter
      New Delh: The Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's advise
      to corporates to fulfil their social responsibilities
      has not impressed the CPI(M), which has asked him to
      drop the liberalisation agenda altogether rather than
      making such "pious" and "meaningless" appeals.

      Noting that asking capitalism to cease exploitation
      was like "asking for the moon", it said what was
      required is a "change of course" in the focus of the
      economic policies from being "solely preoccupied with
      corporate profits" towards improving people's
      welfare".

      "Such pious declarations and appeals to a change of
      heart cannot and will not meaningfully alter the
      situation which the prime minister himself described
      as progress (having benefited) India and not Bharat,"
      an editorial in party organ People's Democracy said.

      Though the prime minister's advise seeking a
      partnership with industry to achieve a more equitable
      and inclusive growth cannot be faulted, all appeals to
      a change of heart is not only "meaningless but is
      empty rhetoric" as exploitation under capitalism is
      inherant, it said.

      "Liberalisation with a human face, however, desirable
      it may be, can never be achieved as these two simply
      do not go together. If the objective is to improve the
      human livelihood, then liberalisation agenda needs
      necessarily to be abandoned," the editorial said.

      Observing that all expressions of concern at the
      vulgarity of conspicuous consumption may be
      well-intentioned, the party sought to know the reason
      for the growing divide and glaring disparities between
      the "shining India" and the "suffering India".

      If the PM's declared objectives are to be realised,
      then "what is required is a change of course in
      economic policies; the abandonment of the neo-liberal
      policy framework and a shift in the focus of economic
      policies from being solely preoccupied with corporate
      profits towards improving people's welfare," the
      editorial said.

      The editorial, however, said there was no need to
      grudge the success of India's billionaires, whose
      combined worth of USD 191 billion is equal to
      one-fourth of the country's GDP, but reminded that
      there was a need to look at the other end of the
      spectrum.

      Claiming that the government spending in social sector
      has decreased, it pointed out the neglect of public
      health, rising malnutrition among children and adults,
      prevalence of child labour and illiteracy and growing
      unemployment as examples of the hiatus between shining
      and suffering India.

      "Inclusive growth means the continuous economic
      empowerment of our people. This, in turn, means much
      larger expenditures and public investment in the
      social sector. This is what was promised in UPA's
      Common Minimum Programme.

      "However, the total expenditure on the social sector
      as a percentage of GDP declined from 28.26 in 2001-02
      to 27.19 per cent in 2006-07," it added.


      --------------------------------------------------------------------------------


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      Tension grips Barakar following BCCL eviction notice

      Express News Service

      Kolkata, June 1: Tension and uncertainty prevailed in
      the Barakar area after the visit of BCCL officials
      early in the morning and a notice of eviction for the
      residents of the adjacent area was circulated there
      again. Burdwan district administration officials said
      that earlier a notice for eviction was issued in April
      by the BCCL. Uday Sarkar, sabhadhipati of Burdwan
      zilla parisad, said that he was not yet informed on
      the development on Barakar coal field area. He asked
      the administration to look into the matter.

      Rumours were doing the rounds in the Barakar coalfield
      area that thousands of people would have to leave
      within a short period. Alokesh Roy, SDO, Asansol said
      that during the day he received several phone calls on
      the matter.


      The BCCL had taken the initiative to evict the
      residents from the Barakar coalfield area which had
      been sinking owing to illegal mining being undertaken
      there for a long time. The authorities had failed to
      check illegal mining resulting in recurrence of
      incidents of subsidence in the area in the past one
      year. The BCCL authorities, therefore, decided that
      for the safety of the locals the area needs to be
      evacuated. But locals were reluctant to move out
      without proper compensation and a rehabilitation
      package.

      Gopinath Nigam, ADM Asansol, said that he tried to
      contact the BCCL chairman at Dhanbad for discussion.
      But he could not be contacted. He said that the
      district administration asked the BCCL authorities to
      discuss with the state government the rehabilitation
      and compensation package for the residents. It is an
      enormous task to relocate thousands of people from
      Barakar to some other place. If the authorities take
      the step to evict the residents from the area the
      district administration would have to be involved. But
      the BCCL authorities did neither contact the state
      government nor the district administration during the
      past one year regarding the rehabilitation package for
      the people residing in the area.
      http://cities.expressindia.com/fullstory.php?newsid=239161


      SEZ are here to stay, says Kamal Nath
      From our ANI Correspondent

      Mumbai, May 29: Union Commerce Minister Kamal Nath
      today said the Centre was reviewing land buy policy
      for low-tax Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in view of
      widespread opposition.


      Nath, however, said the policy per se will remain, but
      there would be no compulsory acquisition of lands for
      SEZs.

      "The Central Government has one clear thing on SEZs,
      that they are here to stay. There would be no
      compulsory land acquisition," Nath told reporters on
      the sidelines of an India-Gulf Cooperation Council
      meeting.

      The government has faced protests from farmers and
      landowners over its plans to acquire land to develop
      hundreds of SEZs - large, tax-free industrial enclaves
      - around the country to boost exports and economic
      growth.

      In West Bengal, 14 people were killed and more than
      100 injured in March in protests against a proposed
      chemical hub in Nandigram.

      On rupee's appreciation, Nath said it was a matter of
      concern, as it could spell doom for exporters and
      manufacturers as well.

      "This is rational phenomenon that is happening and the
      government is aware of it and government is seized
      with the problem, that is all I can say," said Nath.

      The partially convertible rupee has risen more than 9
      percent this year on robust capital flows into Asia's
      third-largest economy.


      Citu backs CM’s chemical hub plan
      http://www.telegraphindia.com/1070530/asp/bengal/story_7849886.asp
      Calcutta, May 29: Citu today pledged support for
      Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s dream project, the chemical
      hub, and dubbed those opposing it on the ground of
      displacement of villagers anti-development.

      “(Social activist) Medha (Patkar) and others who run
      foreign-funded NGOs are opposed to development. We are
      also concerned about farmers and environment. But we
      want industry for the creation of jobs. Chemical
      industry has good prospects in Bengal and the hub is a
      new concept. The state must develop it,’’ Citu
      president M.K. Pandhe said today.

      Despite the setback in Nandigram, where the hub was
      originally planned, the chief minister is firm on
      setting it up close to the neighbouring Haldia port
      and has sought a political consensus on the project
      through an all-party meeting.

      Pandhe said the state government is “open to
      discussions on all aspects”.

      Mamata Banerjee has opposed the project, which
      invol-ves acquisition of farmland and displacement of
      villagers.

      Jamait-i-Ulema Hind’s Siddiqullah Chowdhury, who was
      at the forefront of the Nandigram agitation, today
      vowed to “fight against all special economic zones,
      including the chemical hub’’.

      An outfit formed by Jamait and some Naxalite groups
      will hold a convention on SEZs in the city on June 2
      and June 3. “Medha Patkar and author-activist
      Arundhati Roy will attend it,” Chowdhury said.

      Citu members from other states quizzed their leaders
      on Nandigram on the third day of the union’s general
      council meeting at Salt Lake Stadium.

      The CPM’s West Midnapore secretary, Dipak Sarkar, who
      has been in charge of East Midnapore since the
      violence, tried to explain to the comrades what went
      wrong in Nandigram.

      “The questions he had to answer ranged from those on
      land acquisition and farmers’ compensation to the
      alleged police excesses,’’ a state Citu leader said.

      New Citu general secretary Mohammad Amin said in a
      report on the political fallout of Nandigram that
      “though the chief minister admitted that the firing
      was a mistake and ought to have been avoided”, it “was
      not against peaceful villagers, as the case is made
      out to be’’.

      Amin supported the right of employees in information
      technology to organise unions and resort to strikes
      and said Citu will not chart a different course in
      Left-ruled Bengal.

      Bengal Citu leaders said they were fighting for
      infotech employees’ rights, such as minimum wages and
      provident funds, and pressuring their employers to
      abide by labour laws.

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      Why No Land for
      Modern Days Temples?
      http://www.radianceweekly.com/Industrialisation.php?content_id=404&issue_id=57
      By: SOROOR AHMED


      Industries are our modern days temples. This was the
      philosophy enunciated by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. The
      first Prime Minister of the country has the credit to
      lay the foundation of the first-phase of
      industrialisation of the country, especially during
      the Second Five Year Plan. Nehru used the religious
      diction to introduce modern industries in the country
      as he was aware of the ground reality. Not only the
      people of the country are religious-minded the Father
      of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, used religious
      connotation to counter the British 'industrial
      imperialism'. Thus to remove the misgivings about the
      post-independence industrialisation Nehru equated
      industries with temples. As the people do not hesitate
      in donating money and land for the construction of
      temples he called upon them to show the similar zeal
      towards setting up industries. By doing so they got
      job as well as money as compensation for land acquired
      for this purpose.


      It is not that there were no industries in India
      before independence. There were some industries on the
      western coast of India, viz. West Maharashtra and
      Gujarat. Larsen and Toubro, Unilever (later Hindustan
      Lever), Wimco and many more were in existence decades
      before independence. Mumbai, Kanpur, Ahmedabad,
      Kolkata, Surat, etc. emerged as textile and jute mills
      centres.

      A British industrialist Josiah Marshall Heath tried to
      set up an iron and steel plant in 1830s but he failed
      in his attempt. And in 1875 a small steel factory came
      up in Barakar in Bengal.

      Jamshedji Tata did try to come up with a steel plant
      in 1880s but failed in his attempt because of the
      non-cooperation of the British rulers. However, when
      in the earlier years of the 20th century he got the
      support of the then Viceroy Curzon a steel plant came
      up in Jamshedpur. The Viceroy even offered to get
      built a 45-mile long rail track from the mines to the
      proposed factory.

      Curzon took this step because by the end of the 19th
      century Belgium and then subsequently Germany became
      the largest suppliers of iron and steel to India
      though till 1880s the United Kingdom used to
      monopolise it. As rail and road construction was at
      its peak in British India iron was much in demand. The
      British were developing this infrastructure to take
      away raw material from India and to sell their goods
      to the interior of the country.

      So when Nehru introduced industrialisation his
      emphasis was more on the core sector. Thus several big
      steel and heavy engineering industries came up in the
      country. Most of them were in the mineral-rich region
      of the country as transporting raw material was no
      easy job.

      In all these different phases of industrialisation
      land acquisition did not become as big an issue as
      now. However, in the liberalisation era nobody seems
      to be asking the big question as to why more and more
      people are coming out against the construction of
      modern day temples? That too when the people, as such,
      are becoming more religious or at least ritualistic.
      Why the people are facing – or have faced – bullets
      and batons in Kalinganagar, Nandigram, Singur,
      Ghaziabad, Gopalpur, etc and not parting away with
      their land for the construction of industries. After
      all unlike the real temple – where the people do not
      expect any compensation – the government is prepared
      to give money for the land.

      Tracing the answer to this knotty question would not
      be an easy task. But one thing is apparently clear: it
      is a case of once bitten, twice shy. The people have
      learnt the bitter lesson of industrialisation and
      displacement. They have now become wise and know as to
      who are the real beneficiaries of the
      industrialisation. They are least interested in
      accepting the government version that
      industrialisation is essential for the development of
      the country. The government and the entire media
      machinery – which is now mostly in the hands of
      private sector – may argue in favour of the steel
      industries but in the far off nooks and corners of the
      country nobody seems to be prepared to lend their ears
      to this type of arguments.

      There is another angle too. In 1950s and 1960s the
      people showed more eagerness in giving land to the
      government for building public sector industries.
      Today when the same government is asking them to give
      their land to the private industries or multi-national
      companies they are prepared to sacrifice everything.
      It is not that in the past the government move to
      acquire land for public sector undertakings has not
      been resisted. In some cases the people did oppose the
      government too, but not as strongly as the private
      industrialists today.

      It is also a fact that the construction of the
      Bhakra-Nangal Dam in Punjab did not generate such a
      prolong protest and opposition as in the case of big
      dams over Narmada or Tehri.

      Is it that the common mass has become much more aware
      and do not want to be cheated again. They are now
      calling the bluff. While farmers do get some
      compensation the others – such as landless labourers,
      petty businessmen – who get displaced from the area
      get nothing: neither money nor job. In the past the
      government had been extremely slow in rehabilitating
      them. Once deprived of the economic activities many of
      the displaced people either turned into criminals or
      became cannon-fodder for the parties like Jan Sangh to
      achieve their goal. These displaced adivasis were used
      by the Sangh Parivar to trigger communal riots in the
      industrial belts of the country in 1960s, 1970s and
      1980s.

      So if the government had failed to fully satisfy the
      people affected by industrialisation how can these
      private industries do any good to them, that is,
      rehabilitate them.

      Similarly, people are now aware that the big dams are
      becoming counter-productive too and often cause river
      water dispute among the states.

      Besides, it needs to be noted that in the earlier
      phase of industrialisation most of the industries came
      up in the mineral rich region in the forest and
      plateau region of the country. From agriculture point
      of view the land may not be very fertile and even
      sparsely populated. Yet there were problems of
      displacement. On the other hand today the private
      sectors are seeking fertile land in the densely
      populated region and that too when the pressure on
      land has doubled due to the

      palashcbiswas,
      gostokanan, sodepur, kolkata-700110 phone:033-25659551



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