The Jindal family at work:
Excerpts from this article:
“Instead of providing facilities for the development of agriculture sector, here forests, rivers, and fertile farmland have been taken over by flourishing industries backed by an unjust state. For several years, thousands have been displaced …. Rivers have been bought and diverted leaving hundreds of villages thirsty and acres of farmland parched. Tribal people, who have roamed these mineral-rich forests for centuries, have been forced to seek employment and adapt to a different way of life as industries continue to encroach upon their lifestyle. Protected forest land has been sold to greedy miners who exploit its riches without considering the disastrous effect of industrialisation on the flora and fauna.’….’Ramesh Agarwal of the NGO Lok Shakti explains that the literacy rate here is just 15-20%, so people are unable to understand everything, and particularly not the highly technical reports. But since it is all on the record, the people cannot claim that they were not told. ‘It is just a drama so that people can’t go to court in future saying that they were unaware of the environmental and health hazards,’ Agarwal says.”
From their About:
“The people of Chhattisgarh appear to have lost the battle against industrialisation without rules. Even those who held out longest against the acquisition of their lands, forests and rivers are giving up the fight. Satyabhama was fighting on behalf of 10 villages which would be affected by a plant belonging to Jindal Steel and Power Ltd. In 1996, JSPL was denied permission to draw water from the Kelo river for industrial purposes as the District Water Utilisation Council felt that the river’s waters would be inadequate to meet both industrial and drinking water needs of Raigarh town. However, in 1997, the company managed to secure permission from a state-level committee to construct a check-dam across the river and sink wells to draw more than 35,000 cubic metres of water daily. Nearly 250 families dependent on river fishing saw their catches plummet after the construction of JSPL’s check-dam.”
Ever since the state of Chhattisgarh was carved out of the state of Madhya Pradesh in 2000, the people of this state fighting against the acquisition of their lands, forests and rivers in the name of Industrialization.
Seventy-nine per cent of Chhattisgarh’s population lives in rural areas and 45% are below the poverty line. With 35% of its geographical area under cultivation, agriculture is the mainstay of its economy. Almost 80% of the working population is dependent on agro-based livelihood, but the irrigated area in the state is only 16% of the total area, according to government figures.
Instead of providing facilities for the development of agriculture sector, here forests, rivers, and fertile farmland have been taken over by flourishing industries backed by an unjust state. For several years, thousands have been displaced despite violent activism by the oppressed. Rivers have been bought and diverted leaving hundreds of villages thirsty…
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