Sunday, November 18, 2007

Nandigram: In response

An interesting analysis of the Nandigram issue is given here.
There are although numerous mis-conceptions/mis-communications which are rampant and which need to be cleared out
1. No SEZ as such was planned in Nandigram in the first place. It was part of over 10000 acres of land 'given' to the Salim group for their massive 'infrastructural development' projects. Similar land was earmarked in Uluberia and Purulia and even near Digha.
The Salim group had originally come in only and only for 'housing' projects. It was the West Bengal government which sugar-coated the deal with a "Chemical Hub' proposal.

2. The land was given on behalf of the landowners, who as we know were not the people who tilled the land. Those who 'tilled' the land were the 'bargadars' (vide Operation Barga in the early 70's). These bargadars have no legal right of the land but could take some or all share of the produce of the land. The land still belonged to the landowners although it was the bargadar who lived and toiled there.
Now the very same government which gave the bargadar this 'fair-deal' was taking it back from him. This was like a stab-in-the-back for the small farmer.

3. The Opposition (and the coalition partners) which is now making a huge hue and cry did not oppose the deal when it was ratified by the state assembly (Mamata staged a walkout). They did the same for the Tata project at Singur and the Jindal project.

4. That the land-acquisition game has long since been over yet the place is under seige is an abject failure of the state machinery. What the Buddhadev Bhattacharya government didn't count on was a full fledged peasant's revolt like a 'Telengana' or 'Jharkhand' situation. Very soon Nandigram too could snowball into these pockets within so called well-governed states which are now completely detached from the Union of India and any 'Indian' is treated as an outsider.

5. Cleansing of the hinterland to make way for industrial growth has been a well used tool by communist governments around the world. Russia and China have been doing it for decades and next year's Beijing Olympics will be testimony to that.

6. Many of the agitators are disgruntled CPI(M) workers. This explains why there has been such flagrant display of firepower on both sides. The CPI(M) has a routine stockpile of small and large ammunition for any 'contingency' situation and does not hesitate to use them on a regular basis.

6. People (Mainly left-leaners) also point out to no alternative sites for such chemical hubs or SEZ's. I suggest them to just take a walk up or down the Hooghly from Kolkata. You will find acres and acres of sick jute mills and rotting industrial wasteland . And it has been so for at least a couple of decades. If that is not alternative location.....then I don't know what is.

7. The moot question now is - Human Rights have been violated. Guardians of civil society have acted as goons and people have been killed. What is the solution?

Certainly not colourful processions or sit-ins or demonstrations.

A complicated situation will require a complicated solution.

For another detailed insight into the issue go here

1 comment:

Iconoclast said...

detailed and informative...quite an effort and research Mr.Das...I believe you should have been covering the whole issue more closely...

as I always said,"Your resourcefulness makes all the difference in my writing"