Land and Agriculture alone can sustain the Adivasi
Land and Agriculture alone can sustain the Adivasi
Industry has failed the Adivasi in the past and will do so in future too
What is it that keeps a people alive and well?It is not just the fulfilment of their material needs. But the source from which they fulfil their needs is as important. The age-old source of physical sustenance has been their land (jal, jangal, jamin).This land has also been the spring of a spirituality around which revolves every aspect of their life, i.e. social, political, economic, religious and cultural. The most prominent values characterizing the life of Tribal People can be summed up as:
- a basic sense of equalityamong the members of the community
-an attitude of reaching out to each other in a spirit of cooperation
-a keen motivation ofcommonality on all that nature has freely endowed, especially. jal, jangal, jamin
-a cherished process of community decision-making by consensus
-a closeness to & respect for naturewith all that it contains
All these together made their life human and humanazing.
But these very values are presently under serious threat and are in the process of being undermined:.It is not just their land which the industrialists want to capture, but by doing so they will destroy the Adivasi spirituality.
- social equality is no more a desired value
-cooperation has been replaced by competition in every sphere of life
-commonality has yielded its place to private property and privatisation
-consensus decision making has been thrown out and majority-decision holds sway
-respect for nature is over ruled by ruthless exploitation of nature
A study by the Indian Social Institute, New Delhi, found that between 1951 and 1990, about 2.13 crore persons were displaced by various projects, and that only 54 lakh were resettled. There were 85 lakh tribals among the displaced 40% of the total and only 25 lakh of them were resettled. The undeniable fact is that 75% of the displaced were not resettled.
As a result of displacement, Adivasi land owners became rickshow-pullers in our towns and cities. Industrialists make tall promises in the process of acquiring land, but once the land is in their hands, they conveniently forget their promises. Those who lost everything have to run from pillar to post to be resettled. But all they finally get is some cash compensation. This is spent soon, since the whole family is wholly dependent on it. Then, the people become beggars. To remain alive, men become coolies, rickshow-pullers and casual labourers, and women become domestic workers and coolies. This has been the story of resettlement and rehabilitation in the country!
Industrialists are motivated by profits and profits only.What happens to the poor displaced farmers is not their concern. They hide their thirst for money behind the cloak of 'national development'.They travel by private planes, live in palatial bungalows, use swanky luxury cars,and buy off government ministers and bureaucrats with the money they took from the poor.When dealing with those who demand their due, industrialists however invariably resort to police protection.
The government, for its part, far from being a neutral mediator, is partial in favour of industrialists. What happened on 2nd January 2006 in Kalinganagar, Orissa, is a typical example. The people were demanding a higher compensation for their land. Instead of heeding their demand, the Tatas came to the site to start the construction of a demarcating wall, accompanied by 11 platoons of armed police. When people objected, the police opened fire, killing 13 Adivasi land owners. They even mutilated the dead bodies.
In this process of siding the industrialists against the people, the govt is using
archaic, colonial laws such as the Land Acquisition Act 1894, which the British
rulers made to deprive Indian citizens of their land. The govt has also diluted
protective laws such as the Chotanagpur Tenancy Act, 1908,Santal Pargana
Tenancy Act 1949, meant to protect Adivasi land in Scheduled Areas.Even
progressive SC judgements like the Samata Judgement 1997, and Parliamentary
Acts like the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act 1996, have been
made ineffective by the attitude of the govt.
It is not to say that industrialisation in tribal areas should not take place at all.
Rather, it must take place keeping the Adivasi land owner at the centre of the
industrialisation process.First, the industrialist will pay a negotiable percentage
of the value of the mineral to be excavated as premium to the land-owner, and
this premium will be counted as the share-capital of the land-owner in the
Second, the industrialist will pay the land-owner a yearly rent that will be the
equivalent of the yearly agricultural produce from the land.
Third, the land-owner will continue to be the owner of the land throughout the
mining process, and at the end, the land will be restored to the original land
owner in a form and shape that it will be possible to resume cultivation.
As for non-mining industries, land for land will be the strict principle and
regulation. The govt will have to give the same quality and quantity of land or
give the equivalent sum of money so that the farmer can purchase such land.
Let us now see how industrialisation & urbanisation have betrayed the Adivasi time and again. The details given below include both the already displaced and to be displaced during the last fifty years:
No of persons
No of acres of land
Koel Karo dam
46,694 persons (35,187 Tribal)
Wild animal Sanctuary
79 Mouja villages
Hirakud & Madira Dam [Orissa]
Jamshedpur 3,564 acres; Adityapur 34,432 acres
Bokaro Steel Plant
Subernarekha Multi Purpose Project
Tenughat Thermal Power
The sad fact is that out of the 17 lakh Adivasi & Moolvasi who have been displaced during the last five decades, only about one-fourth of them have been resettled. But none of them have been rehabilitated because rehabilitation involves other dimensions such as the social , cultural, communitarian. The R & R policy announced by the Jharkhand govt falls short of people's expectations. It cannot fulfil the aspirations of the Jharkhandi People. Hence it is to be rejected.
So, if the government and the industrialists are serious about doing justice to the people who have been displaced and are to be displaced, let them first rehabilitate the 12 lakh who have already been displaced and left unsettled. After that, let them think of displacing more people by bringing in their industries and mines. In the meantime, let them not make any tall promises.