MAC: Mines and Communities

Tata Steel Runs Into Tribal Trouble

Published by MAC on 2007-03-18
Source: CNN-IBN ()

Tata Steel runs into tribal trouble

CNN-IBN

18th March 2007

New Delhi: India’s SEZ dream is fast turning out to be a nightmare. After West Bengal’s Nandigram and Singur became flashpoints of violent farmer protests, it seems Chhattisgarh is also blipping on the radar.

While it was Tata Motors that ran into trouble in Singur, it’s a proposed Tata Steel plant that’s the source of the rising discontent in the Chhattisgarh polity.

Ruling BJP members have expressed unhappiness over the process of land acquisition by the state administration for Tata Steel project in Bastar. Agencies report that tribal BJP MLAs Lachchuram Kashyap and Subhau Kashyap of Bastar region raised the controversial land acquisition process in the Assembly and demanded a fresh meeting of villagers.

"When Tata's were providing Rs 8 lakh to the farmers per acre of land in Haryana why not in Chhattisgarh," Kashyap was quoted as saying by PTI.

He is the former president of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) Both the MLAs demanded that government must consider the 13-point demand against acquiring of their land given by people from the 10 affected villages.

Here is a list of demands put forth by the BJP MLAs:

* They want the state government to convene a Gram Sabha, under the Panchayat Raj system, to decide whether the villagers are interested to hand over their land or not.

* They are demanding protection from the state government saying, without consent of the local villagers a single inch of their land should not be acquired for Tata.

Former Finance Minister Ram Chandra Singh Deo of Congress asked the state BJP government to ensure that Bastar should not become another Nandigram. Instead of surrendering before the Tata, government should take the consent of farmers, said Ravindra Choubey of Congress.

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