The INSAF (Indian Social Action Front) organised an independent People's Tribunal on February 7th & 8th to hear the many individuals, groups, movements which are resisting displacement through inducement and cajoling. The members of the jury consisted of some eminent personalities: Justice Sachar, Supreme Court Advocates Sanjay Parick, Mihir Desai, other well-known personalities Vrinda Grover, Arjitha Dutta. After listening to the people for a day and a half, they went over to the Governor of the State and made some important points very clear. In the name of the people who stand in danger of losing their land and hearth, they urged the Governor to decisively act in favour of the people whose sole source of sustenance and well-being is their land. After meeting the Governor, they came to the people and told them the main points of their observations and recommendations. Finally, they also met with the Press & Media persons.
Following is a summary of the points the respectable members of the jury made:
- no one has the right to displace people without their consent.
Land should not be handed over to the company without the consent of the Gram Sabha. The obvious reason is land is the sustenance of rural people, and to decide not to give his land is the full right of the land owner.
The jury took serious objection to the current practice of the companies making a list of the land they want to acquire, get the signature of the Dep. Commissioner of the district and go to the people and tell them that the govt has approved acquisition. This is completely illegal and invalid. The jury has asked the Governor to stop this deceptive practice of the companies and the DCs.
- So far, 101 MoUs that have been signed between the govt and various companies. To the extent they have been signed without getting the consent of the Gram Sabha and the Panchayat, are illegal and invalid. The PESA clearly prescribes that before any project is planned, the local Gram Sabha and the Panchayat must be consulted.
- in case a people in a particular situation agree to give their land to a company or govt, there should be a transparent rehabilitation package for people before they are displaced.
The practice of companies acquiring land through inducing and threatening people is condemnable.
There should be no displacement , and if it has to be, it should be minimal
The Jury took serious exception to the way people have been forcibly displaced without first rehabilitating them.
- Revitalise the Tribal Advisory Council of the state and follow its recommendations. It is a serious neglect of constitutional provisions that industrialisation in Scheduled Areas is being carried out in complete disregard of the Vth Schedule of the Constitution.
Jharkhand was created for the development of the tribals and their culture and any development should take care of these.
We will have to honour regional and community ethos while designing any development action plan.
The jury was of the opinion that a uniform model of industrialisation for the whole country is not sound. The tribal people with their own indigenous economic, social, cultural traditions must have a different form of industrial development.
- Sustainable development can be the only model of development
Sustainable development for bettering the quality of life as it did not include unmindful exploitation of resources at the cost of livelihood of people. What is happening is the opposite. Unmindful exploitation of natural resources such as water, forest, fertile land, clean air is what is taking place at the moment. What used to be pleasant green scenery is being reduced to dry deserts.
Happily, the observations and recommendations of this respectable jury of the People's Tribunal will give a new and added strength to the resistance movements in the tribal region of the eastern part of the country. It also reminds the ruling class and the ruling parties of their serious obligations to the tribal people.
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