Wednesday, February 02, 2011

A Tale of Four Satyagrahas, 20-31.1.2011

About 40000 persons belonging to 9000 families live in Taraimar, Baysi and Rupangar panchayats, and Baysi and Dharam colonies in Dharamjaigarh block of Raigarh district. More than half of them are tribals; they have lived here since time immemorial. The rest are Bangladeshis; Mrs. Indira Gandhi settled them here after the Indo-Pak war of 1971. To their misfortune, the land that they live on- or more precisely, what lies underneath it- has been designated as “Durgapur-II-Taraimar coal block”; all of it has been allocated to BALCO, a former PSU (public sector undertaking) sold to Mr. Anil Agrawal of Sterlite company in 2001. Over the next century, Mr. Agrawal hopes to dig out 8 million tons of coal every year from this land to fuel his 2 thermal power plants and coal washery. He believes that the people who live here will go away quietly. In this, at least, Mr. Agrawal is mistaken.

Over the past two months, Mr. Agrawal’s agents, which (alas) include the state and district administrations besides local goons and conmen, have been ‘persuading’ landowners into selling their lands to them for as little as Rs. 15,000/acre. Most continue to resist. This was evident at yesterday’s public hearing at Taraimar: a tribal youth shouted that if his land was taken, he would join the Naxalites; when the district SP (Superintendent of Police) told him that he would personally shoot him if he did so, the young man said that he didn’t care because he had nothing left to lose. But I am getting ahead of myself. The Tale must begin elsewhere, in the neighboring district of Janjgir.

1. Narihara Satyagraha, 20.1.2011
Janjgir is perhaps the most fertile land of Chhattisgarh. It is bang in the heart of the Hasdeo-Mahanadi-Bango riverine basin. In a state where farmers have to contend with just one crop (kharif) every year, those in Janjgir harvest three, thanks mostly to the Hasdeo-Bango canal (built in a record two-year time, by my father’s government in 2003). Not surprisingly, the largest agricultural fair of the state- the Jajvalya Krishi Mela- is held here every year. However, unlike adjoining Raigarh, this district doesn’t have mineral deposits. But its proximity to Raigarh’s coal deposits and ample water supply make it an ideal location for setting up thermal power plants. During the past 7 years, Dr. Raman Singh, the state’s chief minister, has signed more than 50 MoUs with various companies to set up thermal power plants in this district, which would cumulatively produce no less than 50,000 megawatts of electricity every year.

This would, no doubt, transform Janjgir into the power hub of the nation- except that even if all available water of this district- including underground water- were to be pumped into power plants, it would still produce not more than 12,000 megawatts. By blindly green-lighting power plants that far out-exceed the natural capacity of this district, Dr. Raman Singh has condemned Janjgir- and its 2 million mostly Dalit inhabitants- to what can only be described as purgatory; hell-fire.

A week before last, I tried to walk from Narihara, where KSK- a Hyderabad-based construction company- is erecting its Wardha Power Plant, to Rogda, where farmers were mercilessly lathi-charged by policemen that very morning. We were arrested. Later that evening, I snuck into Rogda: the villagers ran into their houses when they saw us at first; it was only when they were told who I was that they came out to talk to us. There is a dam in Rogda; since 1962, it has been irrigating not less than 800 hectares of land. (Curiously, in the EIA- Environmental Impact Assessment- submitted by KSK to MoEF, this dam has been declared non-functional!) The day before, KSK simply poured earth into the dam, ‘killing’ it forever (this is exactly how the villagers described it). When the villagers came to know of this, they resisted, only to be ruthlessly beaten. (In the police report, it was the villagers who attacked the hapless police; what the police were doing there in the first place, God only knows!)

I am happy to report that since our Satyagraha at Narihara, the villagers of Narihara-Rogda have succeeded in stopping all ongoing work at Wardha Power Plant; this has forced the company back to the negotiating table. I am told that KSK is now promising to build a state-of-art hospital and college for them, and also increasing its previous offer of acquiring land from Rs. 5,00,000/acre to Rs. 15,00,000/acre.

2. Sarguja Satyagraha, 21-22.1.2011
From Janjgir (Akaltara block), I traveled to Sarguja, our northernmost district bordering Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa. Two hills sacred to tribals- Samripat and Mainpat- are full of bauxite (not unlike Niyamgiri in neighboring Orissa); HINDALCO and BALCO companies have been systematically digging them up for almost 2 decades. The ore is taken to their aluminum plants Renukut in UP and Lanjigad in Orissa. The people of Sarguja have a simple demand, best summed up in a slogan given by Amarjeet Bhagat, a local MLA: “plant nahi to bauxite nahi”. This means that if the companies want to continue to mine bauxite, then they must set up their aluminum plants within the district itself; this would, at the very least, help generate employment for local youth, businesses for local entrepreneurs and other necessary educational and healthcare infrastructure for everybody. In pursuance of this demand, all transportation from the two bauxite mines was stopped; 4 days later, BALCO sent a letter to the District Collector stating its willingness to set-up an aluminum plant in Sarguja (while also using it to make certain very unrealistic demands of their own!).

3. Kudurmal Satyagraha, 23.1.2011 and 30.1.2011
Before returning to Taraimar in Dharamjaigarh, I should like to stop at Kudurmal, a not-so-quiet little village on the banks of Hasdeo in Korba district. It’s almost as if one has walked into an ongoing earthquake: stones of all sizes and shapes fall from the sky accompanied by terrifying blasts of dynamite; walls of each of the 137 houses are cracked, 3 have crumbled to dust, the Shiv Linga at the village square has been split in two. Most alarmingly, the sacred shrine of Kabir, who lived and preached here more than 500 years ago, as did his descendants, is about to fall to pieces. Given its unique place in history, it has officially been declared a protected monument under the Protected Monuments Act. None of this, however, has deterred contractors of LANCO Power Company from blasting stones less than 1 meter from the village. Two days ago, the local youth of the district pitched a tent and started a Satyagraha right next to the blasting site: they will continue to pray and fast till the unlawful blastings have stopped, and the damage done to people’s homes and the shrine repaired.

4. Dharamjaigarh Satyagraha, 24.1.2011 and 31.1.2011
On my way to attend the public hearing at Taraimar, the Additional SP of Raigarh stopped me: I was told that my presence at Dharamjaigarh- and more specifically at the public hearing- would disrupt peace and order. When I denied this and insisted on proceeding, I was arrested once again, in abject violation of my Fundamental Right guaranteed by Articles 14, 19 and 21 of our Constitution, and rushed to Raigarh, where I was locked up in Room No. 4 of the Circuit House till the time the public hearing at Taraimar was over late last night.

Had I been allowed to speak, this is what I would have said:

• First, I would have challenged the holding of the public hearing itself on three grounds. One, because the EIA submitted by BALCO was not prepared by a consultant accredited by MoEF; two, because the date, place and calling of the public hearing was not done by the Pollution Control Board but by the district collector (whose daughter happens to be an employee of BALCO); three, the public hearing was not held within the stipulated time frame of 45 days from submission of EIA, but more than 2 years later.
• Secondly, the content of the EIA itself is a bundle of lies and half-truths. Most notably, it does not mention that this is a thickly forested area, or that it is part of the ‘Elephant Corridor’, without which the elephants would be left without recourse to a safe passage.
• Thirdly, there is not one word in the EIA, or any other proposal submitted by BALCO, as to how, when and where the 40,000 inhabitants of this ‘coal block’ are going to be rehabilitated: all it says is that their ‘rehabilitation packages would be better than their present conditions.’ By failing to address this most vital of concerns, BALCO- and the state and district administrations- have summarily condemned them to the status of ‘most endangered species’, soon to be made extinct.
• Fourthly, the rates of compensation being offered- Rs. 15-30,000/acre!- are not only way below the prescribed acquisition rates of Rs. 5-8-10,00,000/acre; they are only a pittance of the value of coal BALCO is going to dig out. 8 million tons of coal a year, valued at Rs. 2000/ton (for D Grade coal) is Rs. 1600 crores. If this amount were to be divided equally among the 40,000 people who live here, it would come to exactly Rs. 4 lakhs/year/person. Since BALCO intends to dig out coal for the next 100 years, the share of each person would, therefore, come to Rs. 4 crores; or, given that on an average 4 persons constitute a family, Rs. 16 crores for every household. Even if BALCO were to give just 0.1% of the share that should logically- and rightfully- belong to each family, that amount would still be Rs. 16 lakhs. This is of course not accounting for inflation, or the additional profits it would make by generating and selling electricity.
• Fifthly, by not allowing the public to attend the public hearing- as in my case and also that of at least 2000 others who were not allowed entry for absolutely no reason- the very purpose of the public hearing has been defeated. Under sections 111 and 151 of the Cr.P.C., the magistrate can detain a person only on the basis of ‘reasonable apprehension’: there was nothing in our antecedents, manner and conduct of to give rise to any such reasonable apprehension that our presence would be disruptive of public peace and order. If anyone was disturbing public peace, it was Mr. Agrawal's agents!
• Sixthly, the presence of at least 2000-armed policemen, not to mention the SP himself sitting and screaming on the dais, has vitiated the entire proceedings.

In any event, despite the company’s best efforts to trick and torment, of the 3000 people finally permitted to participate in the public hearing, only 2 spoke out in favor of BALCO’s proposal. Each and every other speaker spoke against it. (Video recordings of the hearing have been made.) Now, I am informed that BALCO’s agents have surreptitiously fabricated about 2000 printed letters under names summarily lifted from electoral rolls (voter lists), all supporting its proposal in exactly the same language, in exactly the same font (!). How on earth would a tribal of Taraimar have access to such computerized printing is beyond me. As such, these so-called letters of endorsement should be pulped; they are not worth the paper they are printed on.

I’ve been asked as to why I am raising my voice now, and not before. Surely these are not the first instances of gross injustices to have occurred in my lifetime; but these are the first that I’ve confronted ever since I have started coming into public life. A beginning has been made…to reconcile the sufferings of those who live on this earth with the wealth that lies buried beneath; to alleviate, if not end, the age-old curse of Rich Land, Poor People (Ameer dharti, Gareeb log).

Before concluding, I would like to mention one unifying- and very disturbing- feature I noticed in all the 4 aforementioned Satyagrahas: more often than not, those entrusted by the People to protect and promote their interests- the legislators and the administrators- are the ones most engaged in plundering them; it is time such people were weeded out to make way for a breed more conscious of its duties and responsibilities towards those that have empowered them in the first place. Such a change is possible only by increasing public awareness: hence, our Call to Truth.

Our Satyagraha.

25 comments (टिप्पणी):

Nitin Bhansali said...

Amit Bhaiya aap sangharsh kare hum aapke sath hai...

Sudeep Hore said...

bhaiya namaskar,apke year 2011 ki rajniti suruwat bahut hi achi hue hai,best wishes to u always.

ANURAG said...

Bhaiya , the kind of ripples you create ,no matter where you go with the right issues,for the oppressed and the reaction you get both from public and the govt. ,it sure is the beginning of something big and I mean amazingly big and we are with you?And a small suggestion Bhaiya,I think these Satyagrahas should be told in a bigger way not only to the state people but also to our other countrymen via print media,so that everyone should know what this Raman govt. is doing

Faraz Ahmed said...

I do completely agree with above expression, moreover i would like to request you, if i may that plz come forward and take the rein of state congress in your hand. We need some thoughtful person with a intellect to think beyond votes and designations for the betterment of our society.Plz......

Dr. Archana Chauhan said...

Sir,your apt views,arguements & feelings about such issues is really gr8,unmatchable;we all n d youths have so much to learn 4m you;we need your leadership to create public awareness to save the state 4m this tout govt

Pappu Farishta said...

good v.good it is for alll youth aap se rishta ppappufarishta

Ismail Ahmed said...

Har Zor Zulm Ki Takkar Me !!
Sangharsh Humara Naara Hai !!

समीर सिंह चौहन said...

vishes samudaye se jude log humare sidhe sade chhattisgarheyao or yaha ke prakratik sampada ko loot kar,paise bana mai lage hai,aaj aap sahro ke shopping mall mai chale jaye aap ko ek bhe aam chhatisgareya ka baccha... ya pariwar shooping karte ......nahe dikega adiktar IAS,govt officers,vishes samudaye se sambandit udyogpati evam use se sambandit mantryo ke pariwar kharedare karte nazar aaye ge,sare zameeno ka sauda,garib kishano ko adhik bayaj mai paise ye he log de rahe hai,akhir aam chateisgareya ko loota hua paise kaha kharchenge ye sab,chhattisgarhe to itne pyare goteyange ke inse mitha to koi gotiya he nahe payega,yaha bhe ghar or jaipur mai bhe ghar ... ...ase gande manskita ke logo par kanoon ka sikanja kashna chaheye,mai amit bhai evam youth congress ke saatheyo ko dhanyawad karna chahunga,janta se jude ase gambhir mudo ko uthane par,aasha karta hoo aage bhe ase gambhir mudo par charcha evem pradarshan jare rahenge

दीपक......... said...

पी जा हर अपमान और कोई चारा भी तो नहीं
तुने स्वाभिमान से जीना चाहा यही गलत था

कहां पक्ष मे तेरे किसी समझने वाले का मत था
केवल तेरे ही अधरो पे कडवा स्वाद नही है
सब के अहंकार टुटे है तु अपवाद नहीं है !

तेरा असफ़ल हो जाना तो पहले से तय था
तुने कोई समझौता स्वीकारा भी तो नहीं

कैसे तु रहनुमा बनेगा इन पागल भीडो का
तेरे पास लुभानेवाला नारा भी तो नही !

माथे से हर सिकन पोंछ दे,आँखो से हर आँसु
पुरी बाजी देख,तु अभी हारा भी तो नही !!

Shubham Kumar said...

amit bhaiya aapke dwara chalaya gya satyagrah baster se lekar sarguja k liye ek naya itihaas banega yadi yuth aise hi jagruk hue to chhattisgarh ek din pure world me education , industries n agriculture k liye apne naam se jana jayega hamara chhattisgarh ek anmol hire ki khaan hai jiski sahi pahchan ek successful johri hi kr skta hai n chhattisgarh me aap se achha jaohri koi nahi jo use waha k logo ko unka haq dilane k liye sadev har tithi me khade ho agar waha ka har yuva aapki soch se jud jaye to wo din dur nahi jb yuva kranti k liye chhattisgarh ko jana jayega

Narendra Sharma said...

vo path kya pathik safalta kya jis path par bikhre sul n ho, nabhik ki dherya parisha kya jab dharaye pirtikul n ho.
lage raho bhaia manjil dur nahi

Ashok Sharma, Adv. said...

chhattisgarh ke grebo ke kisano ke tribals ke hit me chalaya jane walasatyagrah
yuva kranti ke pretek .... amit joge

Anant Kedia said...

GREAT WORK SIR

I BELIEVE V WILL SURELY SUCCED IN UNIFYING & ENCOURAGING OUR RAIGARH PEOPLE AGAINST THIS CURSE

Abrar Hussain said...

Disinvestment b strlite ka galat tarike se hua hai nda govt. K samay dharamjaigarh virodh me hamara pura samarthan hai

HUMAN RIGHT WING said...

आप का यह सत्याग्रह वाकई क़ाबिले तारीफ है. लेकिन हमारी तारीफ से जितनी खुशी आपको शायद ना महसूस हो, उससे ज़्यादा आपकी अंतरात्मा खुशी का अनुभव करती होंगी की आप उनकी मदद कर रहे है, जो खुद अपनी मदद नही कर सकता|
खैर ये मेरा खुद का सोचना है क्योकि मैं अक्सर किसी की मदद करते ऐसा महसूस करता हूँ| यहाँ ये बात ज़्यादा ध्यान देने योग्य हैं की आप राजनीतिक परिवेश तथा आर्थिक संपन्न हैं वावजूद इसके आप को ऐसे कार्यो की संपन्नता मे शासन से सहयोग की जगह रुकावतो का सामना करना हो रहा है| लेकिन जो शोसल वर्कर हाइ प्रोफाइल नही होते, उन पर क्या कितना दबाब बनाया जाता होगा शायद आप महसूस कर सकते है| शायद डाक्टर सेन भी उन मे से एक हो सकते हैं| मैं जानता हू की राजनीति मे आपका भविष्या उज्ज्वल है लेकिन ईश्वर से प्रार्थना भी है की आपके अंदर के शोसल वर्कर को लंबी उम्र से नवाज़े | संजय सिंह

jackson BHILAI..... said...

AMIT BHAIYA ...pura bharat aapke saath h ...har ek congressi apke sath h ......aap hamare marg darshak ho ....pura bhilai yuva congress aapke sath h ......

Vinay Toppo said...

well said sir,if not end, the age-old curse of Rich Land, Poor People.

Tinku Memon said...

yeh chhattisgarh ke yuvao ke prernasrot hai
yeh chhattisgarh pradesh ki yuva ke dilo ki dharkan hai
yeh chhattisgarh ke agami aur bhaavi bawishya hai
inke baare me jitna kahe woh kam hai
ye hamare sukh dukh ke saathi hai ye sirf AMIT JOGI nahi hai ye chhattisgarh ke yuva o ki awaaz bhie hai
isiliye hum bade garv aur sammaan aur utsaah ke saath kehte hai ki
AMIT JOGI KA EK ISHARA ZAAHIR HAI KHOON HAMARA

Prakash Pawar said...

loktantrik desh barat me chattisgragh ki raman sarkar ka aloktantrik roop,apni poll khulte dekh tanasahi ravaiye par utaru ho gayi hai

Narendra Sharma said...

vo path kya pathik safalta kya jis path par bikhre sul n ho, nabhik ki dherya parisha kya jab dharaye pirtikul n ho.
lage raho bhaia manjil dur nahi

Shubham Kumar said...

amit bhaiya aap aage badoge to log to comments karenge hi bt aap ko sirf chhattisgarh k future ko sochna hai har kamjor warg k sath aap ko kandhe se kandha milakr chlana hai garib wa garibi ki puja karoge to garib aapki puja karega aap ko unki aawas banana hai ...aapne baat to sahi kahi amit bahiya se bt sarguja ka jo haq hai uske liye bolna galat nahi hai devesh ji aakhir balco n hindalco sarguja se raw material le kr hi apni industris chala rahe hain to unke plant sarguja me kyu na ho agar band karna hai to balco ko bnd kr sarguja sift kare aakhir sarguja ke sath to galat ho raha hai na n waise b agriculter pr depend india kb tak vikashshil kahalayega n cg ka agriculture waise b kitna groth kar raha hai ye sb jante hai dhaan a katora aaj dhan utpadan me top 10 state me b samil nai hai

Devesh Tiwari said...

माफ़ कीजियेगा अमीत जी हम छत्तीसगढ़ की जमीन पर और कितने प्लांट लगाएंगे ? सरकार ओद्योगिक तथा आर्थिक विकास के नाम पर थोक में M O U बाँट रही है | इससे सबसे ज्यादा फायदा किसे है ये बताने की जरुरत नहीं | आज बस्तर के लोहंडीगुड़ा के किसान अपनी जमीन ना देने की बात कहकर खून के आंसू रो रहे है .. हम किसानो से पूछें की उन्हें क्या चाहिये एक मुश्त मुआवजा या जिंदगी भर अपनी खेत से कमाया हुआ अनाज .. हो सकता है की वे पैसा कहें लेकिन बाद में उन्हें बात समझ आएगी | आप युवा है मै भी युवाहूँ फर्क सिर्फ इतना है आप राजनीति में सक्रिय हैं और राजनीति करने की मेरी हैसियत नहीं है .. आप से हाथ जोड़कर प्रार्थना है हम और प्लांट की माँग ना करें और छत्तीसगढ़ के लोगों के लिए जायज हक की बात करें .. आप इसके लिए एक उम्मीद की किरण हैं

प्लांट खुलते रहे तो हमारा छत्तीसगढ़ धान का कटोरा की बजाय राख का कटोरा नाम से जाना जायेगा ..

Hritesh Kumar said...

Aapke Samri or Sitapur vidhansabha kshetra ke daura se youth congress or adiwasi,pichadhewarg ke logon me ek ummid ki kiran jagi hai, ki aapke sakriy rajniti me aane se samaj ke antim chhhor tak ke logon ke liye kuch na kuch bhawisya me achha hoga ,or kshetra ke yuvaon me apratyashit urja ka sanchar hua hai, aapke pryas se Balko aluminiom plant lagane k liye sahmati vyqat kiya hi or Hindalko lij par li gai jamin ka uchit muwawja dene hetu kshetra me mulbhut suvidha uplabdha karane ke liye sahmati vyaqt kiya hai, aapko kshetra washiyon ke taraf se janhit me kiye gye prayas ke liye dhanywad or badhai.........Devesh Tiwari ji ko unke comment ka jawab mil hi gaya hoga ki Surjuja me plant me ki mang jayaj hai...

Kamlesh Rajput said...

संघर्ष करने की जरूरत तब होती जब कोई आपको या आपके द्वारा मांगे बातो को ध्यान ना दे और मुझे ऐसा नही लगता की आपके बातो ध्यान ना दे

shriniwas bagri said...

अमित जी आपने एक संघर्ष कि गाथा लिख दी है अब इसको जरूरत है मूर्त रूप देने कि आप सही समय पर सही काम करने वाले युवा है आप आम आदमी कि बात करने वाले है जो आम आदमी के बात करेगा वो ही राज करेगा सायद वो वक्त आ गया है ! जिसका हम सब को बड़ी देर से इन्तजार था आज कुछ लोग तुम्हारे बढ़ते कदम को रोकने कि भी कोशिस करेगे - पर तुम भली प्रकार से जानते हो कि हर जोर जुल्म कि टक्कर पर संघर्ष हमारा नारा है लगे रहो संघर्ष करते रहो मंजिल जरूर मिलेगी मेरी सुभ कामनाए तुम्हारे साथ है आधी रात को भी जब आपको लगे कि दिल्ली में या कभी कही भी इन भईयो कि कभी जरूरात है तो हम तैयार है , जोगी जी का सपना अब तुम्हे ही पूरा करना है तुम को ही अब आगे बढ़ कर लोगो कि मदद के लिए आगे आना है भगवन भी उसकी सहायता करता है जो अपनी सहायता स्वयम करते है................. जय हिंद जय भारत

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DISCLAIMER. आवश्यक सूचना

1. No part of this Blog shall be published and/or transmitted, wholly or in part, without the prior permission of the author, and/or without duly recognizing him as such. (१. इस ब्लॉग का कोई भी भाग, पूरा या अधूरा, बिना लेखक की पूर्व सहमति के, किसी भी प्रकार से प्रसारित या प्रकाशित नहीं किया जा सकता.)
2. This Blog subscribes to a Zero Censorship Policy: no comment on this Blog shall be deleted under any circumstances by the author. (२. ये ब्लॉग जीरो सेंसरशिप की नीति में आस्था रखता है: किसी भी परिस्थिति में कोई भी टिप्पणी/राय ब्लॉग से लेखक द्वारा हटाई नहीं जायेगी.)
3. The views appearing on this Blog are the author's own, and do not reflect, in any manner, the views of those associated with him. (३. इस ब्लॉग पर दर्शित नज़रिया लेखक का ख़ुद का है, और किसी भी प्रकार से, उस से सम्बंधित व्यक्तियों या संस्थाओं के नज़रिए को नहीं दर्शाता है.)

CONTACT ME. मुझसे संपर्क करें

Amit Aishwarya Jogi
Anugrah, Civil Lines
Raipur- 492001
Chhattisgarh, INDIA
Telephone/ Fascimile: +91 771 4068703
Mobile: +91 942420 2648 (AMIT)
email: amitaishwaryajogi@gmail.com
Skype: jogi.amit
Yahoo!: amitjogi2001