Another update from Independent Media of Kalinga Nagar issue. Today, on 7th Jan, the whole of Orissa came to a shut down becasue of bandh calls given by opposition on Kalinganagar episode. What seems to be more positive is that lot of common people participated in a spontaneous way- clearly what has happened has horrified large number of people.
Independent Media update 7/01/2006
1. On Kalinga Nagar
The situation in Kalinga Nagar continues to be tense; though groups and delegations visit the aggrieved tribals frequently everyday most of who seem to have sympathy for them because they lost a few lives in the police firing.
"There are very few people and groups who seem to have sympathy for the cause for which we have been fighting ultimately resulting in the barbaric massacre of our oppressed and tortured tribals", says Raju Kulundia, a leader of the movement. Reacting to the announcement of the government that, the compensation for any loss of life to be raised to Rs 5,00,000, and to the transfer of the district collector and SP, Raju said, "the government is responding to the call for Orissa Bandh on 7 th of January given by the opposition political parties. Our demands have been so clearly conveyed to the government and if the government has any sincerity to fulfill those demands they should talk straight. Do they think that their money will make us forget the crime they have committed? New people may join as collector and SP but what will they do unless the people who matter in Bhubaneswar don't take any decision to solve our genuine demands? When the government decides to shift officers committing massacre from the place of the crime to defuse tension instead of punishing them, it only confirms our apprehension that government had taken a conscious decision to kill people. They have decided to suspend the doctors for chopping of the hands of the dead they say. If you are so concerned for crimes committed to the dead what are you doing to the people who have killed our brothers and sisters? As we have already said, 5 of our co-fighters were only simply injured. The police took them away and killed them out of anger. Now they are trying to shift the burden to the doctors."
Chakradhar Haibru, the president of the Visthapan Virodhi Manch also had the same reactions. The leaders are disturbed and hurt because there is made rush to the area of NGOs, political parties and civil society organizations that are trying to dilute the main demands of the Visthapan Virodhi Manch by raising irrelevant issues such as rehabilitation and resettlement. About the bandh call given by the political parties, Mr. Haibru said, "we would not watch them on the 7 th of January. We would like to see what they are doing after 7th. It is now the duty and responsibility of all groups and individuals to see to it that the sacrifices made by us (the adivasis) don't go waste. It will pain us if an impression is created that the tribals in Kalinga Nagar got killed because they demanded more compensation or better rehabilitation package. The issue is quite different from what is presented in media".
As reports reach our media office, the Bandh today is going on in the whole state of Orissa. All political parties including the congress and the left have joined the Bandh. There is an apprehension that since Congress is involved in the Bandh, there could be incidences of violence in certain places. The Kalinganagar massacre has already evoked good response in Delhi. Several academics, students and activists (From Delhi University, JNU, AIIMS, Supreme Court) have come out in the streets of Delhi protesting the tragedy. They have been led separately by the CPI ( ML) New Democracy, AISA. Reports of protests are also reaching us from Jharkhand, Chattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh. Within Orissa, the Samajvadi Jan Parishad activists have led the demonstrations in different places in Western Orissa ( on the 6 th of January), while in South Orissa, Lok Sangram Manch is leading the protest movement in Gajapati district and Surada of Ganjam district. The CPI( ML ) Liberation which was the first group to launch a demonstration in the capital following the firing incident is also organizing Bandh in several places including Bhubanesar. The CPI and CPM groups along with OGP, Janta Dal ( S), Samajvadi party are taking active part in the Bandh on the 7th of January. The CPI ( ML) is also organized a protest programme in Puri on the 6th of January. The Lok Sangram Manch has given a call to Band South Orissa on the 11 th of January. They were the first organization to give a call for a similar bandh following the killing of three tribals in Maikanch on 16th December 2000 in similar situations by the Navin Pattnaik government.
In separate interviews to Independent Media, eminent activist Prafulla Samantara and communist leader Radhakant Sethi ( Ex-MLA) have accused a section of prominent NGOs in Orissa as, " they have been trying to take undue advantage of their proximity with BJD leaders and are offering themselves to work as brokers for the government to dilute the movement ". They were citing the TV interview of a prominent NGO leader of the state "who hardly knows the people and their issues but has claims of solutions to the Kalinganagar problem". They have appealed to every one who is trying 'to act smart and sees a prospect of funding and state patronization in the KalingaNagar tragedy" to desist or face the anger of the people.
Letter of Bisthapan Birodhi Jan Manch to Orissa Pollution Control Board
The Stand of Bisthpan Birodhi Jan Manch as reflected in their letter to State Pollution Control Board, which contradicts the views expressed by all mainstream political parties, groups and NGOs. The letter was written as a reponse to the public hearing for environmental clearance for the TATA Steel Project.
The letter has been handed over to us by Shri Haibru for circulation and clarifications of their stand
Chakradhara Haibru, President
Bistapan Virodhi Janamancha, Sukinda
At- Ambagadia, P.o.- Gobarghati
State Pollution Control Board, Orissa
A/118, Nilakantha nagar, Bhubaneswar- 12
Sub: Objection to proposed TSL Project at kalinga NAgar in response to the Advertisement of The Sambad of 8.10.05 of State Pollution control Board, Orissa No-30717 dtd. 6.10.05
On the above said subject we beg to submit our objections.
The objections are made after examining the REIA of the proposed 6MT Steel Plant of TSL at Kalinga nagar. The objection of the people should have been sought before signing of the MOU. The State Govt. has agreed to the project of TSL as early as 17 November 2004. The affected people are asked to give their objections if any, after a year. In the meanwhile TSL has completed their survey work and are constructing boundary walls in spite of the protests of the affected people .
175 MW CAPTIVE POWER PLANT IS OBJECTED
A few weeks ago, the State Pollution Control Board, Orissa has done a public hearing for 4×125 MW Thermal Power Plant of TSL as part of their 6MT Steel Project. What would happen to Sukinda and its environment? The Thermal plants of NTPC and NALCO have spread the fluoride-related diseases among the population and domestic animals in Talcher, Anugul area. Even the agricultural fields and river water have been heavily contaminated by fly ash and bottom ash. The Thermal Power Plants with their fly ash shall equally damage the human habitation of Sukinda area and Kalinga Nagar.
The Coke ovens of TSL and that of other plants under construction shall add to the air pollution. Presently the Coke Ovens of Nilachal Plant is causing serious pollution of the air by their emission over an area of 6km. radius. The inorganic and chemical wastes of several pig iron and steel plants shall only cause diseases and bring death to thousands. So the project of TSL is strongly objected.
THE CORE ZONE OF TSL IS NOT WASTE LAND
The core zone of TSL consists of green hills with rich forests, tribal settlements of more than ten thousand people spread over two gram panchayats, agricultural lands, ancient tanks, grazing fields, village common lands and roads. The total area of waste land is less than 5 acres on the Northern side. Why the core zone is described as WASTE LAND ignoring the ground reality? This is most objectionable.
WASTE LAND IN THE BUFFER ZONE
The report on the project states that, out of 314 Sq.Km. a total area of 63% is waste land. This makes it an area of 197.93 Sq.Km. Then nearly 3 lakh people are living mostly in the waste lands. More over, it must be accepted that most of the agricultural land within200 villages situated within the area on waste land. Also it nust be accepted that the forests, green hills including the protected and reserve forest the stretch of Brahmani river and Kharasuan river, natural water streams, the plantation sites mostly waste land. This is wild assertion. Let the Govt. Forest Records, Revenue Records, Central Govt. Survey maps and Census Records be examined to find facts. Total waste land in the buffer zone constitute less than 2%. 35% of the area is of forest and hills with wild animals of rare species. Agricultural land, human settlements urban area infrastructures constitute 55%. The rest area includes quarries, wet land, sand banks and river.
BRAHMANI RIVER WATER
Brahmani river water is heavily polluted by industrial pollutants of Rourkela and Talcher – Anugul area. For this central Pollution control Board has declared it 'C' class.State Pollution control Board has declared a stretch of Brahmani river from Kamalanga o Bhuban as 'D' class. The industrial pollutants contain radioactive inorganic toxis materials like Uranium. Thorium and several types of harmful chemicals in its water which has affected the aqua life of Brahmani up to the mouth, where olive ridly and crocodiles are protected. The suppression of facts in the report is objected.
GROUND WATER TABLE
In rainy months ground water Table swells in some parts of Sukinda area above the ground level and continue to floe for weeks. This is observed in some parts of foothills of Barasuli and other hills area. But during Jan-June months in all parts of the area the ground water level falls to 10 to 30 mtr. The facts are not placed by the report correctly when they speak that ground water table varies from 0.8 to 9.2 mtrs.
EXPLOITATION OF GROND WATER
Two years back there was no large scale exploitation of ground water. But presently there are more than 50 deep bore wells in Kalinga Nagar. Some supply 24 hour water to pig iron plant- VISA and JINDAL, have 24 bore wells among them. 9 bore wells are used by other projects for their construction work. 12 bire wells supplement pipe water from Brahmani to Nilachal Plant and Mesco Plant. Even Brahmani surface water is supplemented by deep bore wells of IDCP. If this is not large scale exploitation of ground water within 40 Sq. Km. of Kalinga Nagar, than what it is?
CLIMATE OF KALINGA NAGAR AND THE ADJACENT ZONE
Sukinda and its adjoining area had never a humid tropical climate. Its climate is dry monsoon. Day time temperature in April-May hovers between 37 0C-390C. The humidity is around 40%. The lowest temperature in Dec-January is recorded as 150C. the report has placed disinformation about the climate of the area.
ECOLOGICAL NATURE OF THE STUDY AREA
The project area is not waste land-it must be pointed out again. 75 Sq. Km. of hills with forests spread over the area contiguous to TSL projects on the south and south west direction. 10,000 people, their agricultural land and common land are within the core area. 20% of the Project area has quality forest where timber species like Sal, Kuruma, Vandan, Ashan and Piasal, besides Mahula, Kendu are plentily available in these parts.
RARE PLANTS SPECIES
Local tribal people gather herbs and roots from the local forests which they use for treating successfully a wide range of illness. Tribals from outside Sukinda – from Dhenkanal and Keonjhar come to these parts of forests to collect necessary herbs and roots. It must be noted that these forests are under full protection of 40 Tribal villages of the locality since 1946, where hunting and cutting of trees is strictly prohibited by the community decision of the tribal people.
WIDE FAUNISTIC SPECIES
Within 5/6 Kmtr. of the project area the forests of Nakasa, Natimara, Barsuli, Bhitarmanika and Sunajhar have some rare species of wide life in good number. They include leopard, deer, scaly ant eater, pangolin, python, cobra, giant boa. The rare wild dogs (Rama siali) are seen in packs. There are large numbers of wild boar, wild goats, deer and several types of monkeys in these forests. It may be repeated that, this has been the habitat of so many types of animals in a non protected govt. forests for last 60 years.
Within the buffer zone of the project, the total population is more than 3 lakh in 314 Sq. Km. area. 3 lakh populations are definitely higher in comparison to the State's average population density. But the report has wrongly stated that the population is only 44 thousand. The tribal populations within this zone are nearly 60 thousand. Let the Census report of 2001 be checked up.
DIRECT AND INDIRECT EMPLOYMENT AND BENEFICIAL IMPACT TO HUMAN ENVIRONMENT .
The report tries to impress that, by the coming up TSL project, direct and indirect employment would be generated and the impact will be beneficial to human environment. We belief, the report tries to point out that, the people in the buffer zone shall lead a developed and prosperous life – with better food, better health, better housing conditions, education and cultural facilities. This is a false picture for the vast majority of the working people on the area
The 'Secretive" expansion plan of Kalinga Nagar by the Govt. of Orissa, moving to acquire nearly 200Sq. Km. for the industrial complex, infrastructure and other purposes shall make all the peasants in this zone land less. Most of them will be turned home less and shall seek shelter in Govt. colonies. There will be acute shortage of water, wide spread air pollution by the effect of industrial complex . In the meanwhile prime agricultural lands are being purchased by some Pvt. Companies through illegal deals making the peasants landless. The Govt. officials are conniving with the land dealers for the acquisition of land from poor peasants.
Most of the tribals who face displacements are without lawful rights on their homestead land and agricultural land. So the compensation package of 10 decimal plot in rehabilitation colony with 50,000 Rupees to construct one room pucca house does not make them secure even for a day . Because they don't have regular work to make their earnings. Cut off from their traditional life, traditional occupation of agriculture and food gathering, these people cannot by any strech of imagination be capable to earn enough in the colony to wait for a job in the plants. After all, they are not eligible to get preferential treatment in the job market of Kalinga Naga r. They are not land losers per Got. criteria. We have our lessons from the plight of the displaced people living in Gobarghati rehabilitation colony, who earn their living, men women and children, in crusher plants. They weep for their present misfortune and curse the Nilachal Plant Authorities for whom they lost their home and lands.
We the tribals 10,000 in number and the 50,000 other tribals in the buffer zone are against the displacement from our homes and agricultural lands. So also the 50,000 Dalit people are against the projects in Kalinga Nagar. In this connection we don't agree to and accept the 'development' dream put before us by the report. We are not prepared to be home less, land less, job less. We don't want to lose our traditional culture life.
In this situation we submit our objection to TSL projects in Kalinga Nagar. We request the authorities to study the points and contentions made above and take proper steps in the interest of the poor tribals, the Dalits and the people in general living within a radius of 30km..
Bistapan Virodhi Janamancha, Sukinda
Excerpts from Dr.Sankarsan Acharya Citizens for Development and Pro-Prosperity.Com
We are reproducing here excerpts from what Dr.Sankarsan Acharya from the (Citizens for Development and Pro-Prosperity.Com) USA has written and circulated in a network maintained by him and also from the letter Addressed to the President of India:
"By just reacting to the people clashing with police at Kalinganagar will obfuscate the paramount truth underlying the tragic massacre. What is happening now is just like what East India Company (EIC) was doing to Indians. The EIC was paying pittance to indigo and opium farmers to procure the produce to sell in China for exorbitant profits. The profits were shared among EIC stakeholders, viceroys and the Crown. Opposing Indians were subjected to cannon fire. At one stage, the Chinese refused to buy anything from the imperials. Then the British government used Indian soldiers to wage war against China!
Now the decision makers of the State (union and state governments) are paying $0.075 per tonne of iron ore to public exchequers. The miners get this iron ore for $.075 to sell it for at least $45 per tonne in international markets. The State disposes off at least 63 million tonnes of iron ore like this per year. The $0.075 per tonne received by public exchequers is insufficient to even pay salaries and pensions of government staff. Do you see why our government employees are paid little and infrastructure is crumbling?
The $45 x 63 million per year goes to palaces of Indian miners, decision makers and mafia, including police officials and district collectors. This is just from iron ore( emphasis added by us) . We have to count all other ores being exported away, public land usurped and development funds (printed/borrowed rupees) embezzled. This is why cannon fire is being unleashed against people who are opposing the robbery of even their personal possessions. The siren of industrialization and development is bogus and humbug. India does not need to import exorbitantly priced coke to make steel/sponge iron for exports. One-sixth of humanity living in India has barely 2% of global deposits of iron ore. Our current steel production is sufficient to meet domestic needs"(emphasis added).
From his letter to the President
Orissa's CM has been recklessly transferring public's iron ores to private parties for a piddle royalty of $0.075 per tonne, which is valued in market $50-110, depending on various delivery terms. This is not economic justice to public as guaranteed by the constitution of India. The CM has thus subverted the constitution of India. He and perhaps all political parties in India have no consideration whatsoever that India has just 2% of iron ore reserves, but is exporting it away to other nations in raw or some finished form.
ow the Orissa CM has massacred Kalinganagar people opposing a takeover of their private lands and dwellings (their only wherewithal) to transfer the same to some private individuals, so-called industrialists. This is blatant injustice. Public and private wealth is being looted under the garb of industrialization.
India has become a banana republic with such constitutional figures as the Chief Ministers massacring people to loot their private possessions and siphon off public wealth for pittance, in addition to being involved in other rackets and scandals, as per prominent newspapers.