9th January 2006
After the bloodshed, the protests flow
Much of north eastern India was reported last weekend to have observed a strike, called for by many politicians and NGOs in response to the Kalinganagar massacre on January 2nd. The figure of thirteen shot dead (twelve tribal people and one policeman) is confirmed, though the number of wounded has yet to be fully counted.
Virtually every Indian political party - except for the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BLD) in Orissa's coalition government - has unequivocally condemned the police action, made in response to a demonstration against initial construction of a Tata steel plant in Jajpur, eastern Orissa. However, answers to some vital questions remain elusive. Were the firings carefully planned in advance? And were they intended to teach a deadly lesson to other communities resisting resource exploitation? What part did Tata, India's biggest private enterprise, play in preparing the way for the police atrocities (the company has issued a statement denying any role)?
To some observers, the media and political invasion of Kalinganagar over the past week smacks - at least partially - of opportunism. In particular, it has been noted that the implacable opposition of local Advisas ("tribal" people) to the steel plant has been mis-reported as primarily a quest for compensation and alternative land, rather than fundamental rights guaranteed under the country's constitution.
Meanwhile, in a scarcely-credible act of insensitivity, the state government of Chhattisgarh and Tata Steel have announced that they will be preceeding with land "acquisition" for yet another massive steel plant on tribal territory.
The following postings not only attempt to trace the aftermath of Kalinganagar - a name which will certainly go down in Indian history. We also reproduce a lengthy statement, made last October, by a Jajpur-based tribal organisation which tears apart various contentions made by Tata in defense of its steel project.
Finally, we have selected a number of recent Indian news stories, demonstrating that - however anomalous the events of January 2nd may appear (or some commentators wish it to seem) - numerous other Orissa mineral projects are waiting in line, simply for the go-ahead.
The impacts of some of these could be as bad as - if not worse than -those apprehended by the people of Kalingangar.
Shutdown in Orissa, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh over tribal killings
7th January 2006
The states of Orissa, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh are observing a day long shutdown today to protest the January 2 killing of 12 tribals at Kalingnagar by police.
Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) president Shibu Soren on a visit to Kalingnagar to express solidarity with the victims on Friday said the dawn to dusk shutdown in the three tribal dominated states would be supported by all opposition parties.
Protestors came out on the streets in Bhubaneswar on Saturday morning blocking roads and burning automobile tyres at CRP Square, Station Square and at other places in the city.
Traffic remained thin on the streets and most shops and business establishments remaining closed. Political activists were found squatting at some crossings. However, the Rourkela steel plant was reported to be functioning normally.
The ruling BJD-BJP combine had gone totally defensive by ordering the closure of educational institutions in view of Orissa shutdown today and had directed the administration and police to remain unprovoked during the shutdown.
Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has appealed to the people, especially youths, to maintain peace and calm during the shutdown. "No one should take advantage of the tragic incident, politically or otherwise," Patnaik said in his public appeal.
The Orissa police and administration are on high alert for the state-wide shutdown called by seven opposition parties. Two companies of Rapid Action Force have been requisitioned from the Centre. The state has also deployed its entire police and paramilitary forces to maintain law and order.
Barricades have been erected around the state assembly and secretariat complexes here while employees had been directed to come to office ahead of the scheduled time.
All schools and colleges in the state will remain closed and road and rail transport is likely to be affected.
The protest call was given by the Kalinga Nagar Surakhya Samiti, which had been supported by seven Opposition parties including the Congress and the Left.
The Opposition had given a call to paralyse the State to protest the firing and demand the resignation of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.
Besides the Congress, the parties supporting the stir are CPI, CPI (M), OGP, JMM, Janata Dal (S) and Samajwadi Party.
There was hectic activity in the State Secretariat on Friday as the Government increased the ex-gratia to be paid to the next of kin of the victims of Monday's police firing from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 5 lakh.
Chief Minister Patnaik also directed that a person from each affected family be provided a job in the government or in a public sector undertaking and the injured persons should get an ex-gratia of Rs 50,000.
Orissa Government transferred the Jaipur District Collector Saswat Mishra and Superintendent of Police (SP) Binoytosh Mishra, who came under fire following the incident with the opposition parties as well as ruling BJP demanding their removal from the district.
Saswat Mishra is transferred as Joint Secretary in the Agriculture department. His place of Jaipur District Collector would be taken over by the present Jagatsinghpur Collector Arabinda Padhee. Binoytosh Mishra was shifted as SP (crime branch) and he has been replaced by Angul SP Asit Panigrahi.
A total of 13 people-a policeman and 12 civilians were killed when tribals, opposing the proposed setting up of a steel plant at Kalinganagar industrial hub, had clashed with the police.
The BJP, BJD's alliance partner in the state, has openly condemned the police firing in Kalinga Nagar and is not likely to resist the bandh call.
The Navin Patnaik Government in Orissa, smarting under the recent killing of the tribals in police firing, faced trouble after its ally, the Bharatiya Janata Party, said on Friday that it could walk out of the coalition over the incident.
BJP leaders met the State unit head and urged him to walk out of the alliance.
The Biju Janata Dal has drawn flak from all quarters including its ally after the police firing killing 12 tribesmen at Kalinga Nagar in Jaipur district.
Taking strong exception to the incident, Juel Oram, president of the State unit of the BJP, said that the party would consult national president Rajnath Singh before taking any step.
Patnaik, had however, said he was yet to receive any communication from the BJP.
Orissa's 147-member assembly has 32 legislators from the BJP and 64 from the BJD.
Capitalising on the public ire against the recent Kalinga Nagar tribal killing, the Opposition Congress launched a tirade against the Naveen Patnaik government at a rally attended by the AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh and the AICC secretary Chandan Bagchi organised in the city on Friday.
Addressing the "Jana Samparka rally" here, Singh dubbed the BJD-BJP government as "anti-poor and pro-rich". He also criticised the state government for its failure to implement the pro-poor policies of the UPA-led Central government in the state.
Later, talking to reporters the AICC leader also alleged that the state was being ruled by an ex-bureaucrat at whose behest the Kalinga Nagar police firing took place. Stating that his Party would always support the tribal cause, Singh said that the UPA was thinking of bringing out a policy and law regarding the tribal land settlement, rehabilitation and resettlement in the country.
The two-member All India Congress Committee (AICC) team, comprising Chandan Bagchi, its secretary and Chhattisgarh's Leader of Opposition Mahendra Karma, on Thursday said Congress has given a call for bandh in all the three states to take up the issue in a massive way.
Bagchi said the team would meet the UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi in a day or two and submit a report.
Saying that the Naveen Patnaik-Government crossed the 'limits of barbarism' and the incident was a reflection of 'fascism,' both the leaders said the UPA is going to take up the issue seriously. Stating that Naveen should have tendered resignation after such an incident, both the AICC leaders said, the administration had many options, which it did not exercise.
The AICC members trained the gun at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) saying it was equally responsible for the killings of the 12 tribals.
Bagchi said, BJP was hand-in-glove in the barbaric incident and is adopting double standards by expressing its concern.
Meanwhile, BJD general secretary and panchayati raj minister Dr Rout has appealed to the Opposition parties to cooperate with the government in restoring peace in the disturbed areas, and in the judicial inquiry into the incident.
Meanwhile, Lok Sangram Manch the organisation espousing the cause of tribals has called for a bandh in southern Orissa on January 11 to protest against the killing of 12 persons in the police firing at Kalinga Nagar.
The state went on a boil after the police shot and killed 12 tribals after they were attacked with arrows and stones, killing a constable. The incident occurred after about 1,000 tribals, some armed with bow and arrows, opposed a move by authorities to acquire land for the setting up of a steel plant in Jaipur district.
About 25 people, including four policemen, were also wounded in the clash. The police had been assigned to protect local officials who were demarcating the land for the proposed steel plant.Police said authorities had offered compensation to the tribes living on the land but they had rejected it.
Police said the land in Jajpur had been acquired by the government and was to be given to India's largest private steel producer, Tata Steel Ltd.
Foreign and Indian private steel companies are setting up huge steel mills in the mineral-rich states of Orissa, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh, but villagers in these areas complain they are not adequately compensated for their land. (ANI)
Killing of Tribal Protesters by police at Kalinga Nagar, Jajpur, Orissa
Report by Fact finding team
Date of Killing-2-1-2006
Date of solidarity visit-3-1-2006
Team Members –
1. Badal kumar Tah, Member, mm&P
2. Mahendra Parida, State Convenor, Forum Against Child Exploitation , Bhubaneswar
3. Smt. Pramila Swain , State Convenor, NAWO, Bhubaneswar
4. Surendra Patro, Journalist – Sahara Samay, Bhubaneswar
5. Prashanta Paikray, CPI (ML), Bhubaneswar
6. Prashnta Sahoo, Pallishree, Jajpur
7. Ku Jememani Barla, adibasi displaced lady, Chandia Jajpur
Introduction: Kalinga Nagar Industrial hub promoted by IDCO (Industrial Development Corporation of Orissa) in Jajpur district is around 105 kms from State Capital Bhubaneswar. Several industrial giants have been lined to set up their units at Kalinga Nagar. Thousands & thousands acres of land have been acquired by IDCO by paying very low rate to local tribes & in return IDCO selling to companies in high rates. There have been conflicts between the local tribals & the Company – State combine.
There are thirteen mega enterprises like Bhusan steels, JINDAL, MESCO, Nilanchal Ispat Nigam Limited [under the aegis of SAIL], Tata Steel, Maharashtra Seamless, etc. There are more than 100 chrome washing plants in this industrial area. So, the displacement is in its heights and mostly the tribals are still feeling the pinch of false assurance of compensation package, jobs, etc.
The People – The PAP (Project Affected People) are mainly tribals from Munda community. As the villages are situated beside the Daitari – Paradip National Highway no 200, the tribals are exposed to education and relatively aware than that of their brethren elsewhere in the state. They are primarily agriculturists and have invested their resources in the development of their land. Now that the companies are taking away their land in throw away prices has resulted in severe resistance as this is the only means of livelihood.
The Incident – It was an ill fated new year for the tribals of Gobarghati, Nuagaon & Chandia villages of Jajpur district, While Tata Steel Company with the help of fifteen platoon of police started leveling the land forcibly acquired by it, the tribals in thousands peacefully protested & demanded the authorities to stall the work. When the authorities did not heed to the demands, the tribals tried to enter the land & then started the tussle.
Version of the State / Police – The mob became violent, pelted stones, attacked & killed a police by axe. Then the police had to have blank fires, tear gas, bullets, etc. When the tribals attacked by bow & arrow, the police had to fire. In this tussle twelve tribals including three women & a school student have been killed while a policeman has also been killed. All this happened on 2nd January’2006 at about 12 noon.
Version of the People - From the very beginning, the tribals are resisting the very land acquisition process, compensation package and on the whole, the establishment of company itself. There have been several rounds of dialogues between the people and the company – state representatives but in vain. During our conversation with people on 3rd January’2006, the people have raised the following points/questions –
i. When the dialogue was still on between people and govt.-company combine, why did then suddenly it was decided to start work from the onset of New Year? How it was decided & who decided it?
ii. The Company – Govt. combine was fully prepared to instill a war like situation & terror in a peaceful tribal area. They suddenly started work. When the people got to know about this they came from sporadic villages & got together at the place of work. Had they come prepared with their traditional weapons like bow & arrow, there have been several hundreds of causalities from police side. So who attacked first? It is never the people. When they people saw bullets are incessantly fired at them, the mob retaliated with stones and axe & hence one police died.
iii. This was a well-planned initiative. The strategy was like this - Forcibly start work with the help of heavily armed police. Put mines at the boundary of the land acquired by the company. When the people resist, formally have blank fire, tear gas, rubber bullets & finally real bullets. Kill & terrorize. Announce some compensation & an inquiry. So ultimately crush the people’s resistance/ movement & establish state hegemony.
But the angry mob we met on 03-01-2006 went on to ask who gave the order when there was no magistrate in place?
Was the shooting really warranted? When thousands of people were resisting, the police could have gone back or setting up date could have been delayed. The sky could not have fallen.
If it was such a compelling situation for a shoot out, why didn’t they shot at the leg to disperse the mob? All the persons were shot either at head, chest or waist at point blank range. So it is evident that this event was pre-planned.
Why should people accept Rs.1 lakh per each deceased? They told that they are prepared to pay two lakhs each for chopping off the heads of Chief Minister Nabin Pattanaik and the Cabinet Minister Mr. Prafulla Ghadei who represents this constituency.
When given an option of choosing between two – a better compensation package or “no” to company - they chose the latter.
The team reached Chandikhol at about 5 pm on 03-01-2006 and proceeded towards the affected villages. The 1st obstacle was in the village Mirigichara. The NH road was cut, tyres burnt & trees piled. Some youths stopped our vehicle & instructed us not to move. However, we convinced them that we have come to have a fact finding. One of the agitators joined us in our vehicle and took us in another way to the spot at Dholpathar Chhak in Gobarghati Panchayat.
The scene was heart breaking. Seven dead bodies were lying on the rope cots in a line on the NH. All other dead bodies taken away by police[ 5 nos] just reached the spot after post mortem. The hands were cut off. The women then gathered round the dead bodies and started a communal crying.
The people decided to block the NH by the dead bodies & not to lift the bodies until their demands are met.
Some of the youths even resisted the video shooting by the Sahara journalist as the E-TV by then has made news that behind this incident Maoists are there. They vehemently refuted this charge. After a dialogue with them, they co-operated.
One of the protesters also was dead because of mines set by police / company. And many others got injured.
Some eye witnesses also say that when the wounded people were taken out in police jeep, they were completely killed as a result of vengeance, before taking them to the hospital.
From 2nd January to 3rd January, thousands of tribals blocked the NH & did not allow anybody to come.
Stand of political parties
As usual, political parties are playing their politics over the dead bodies. Not a single ruling party MLA or minister was able to go & face the anguished tribals. The opposition is certainly taking advantage. But people know the tactics & do not believe any political party.
Role of Civil Society & Networks
Til we, from mmP, made a solidarity visit, no network visited. mmP has been advocating a proper National Tribal Policy, a Mineral Policy & Policy on Forest Eviction. Though it was expected that civil society networks will be with mining affected communities at this juncture, it has unfortunately not happened.
Badal kumar Tah
Member- mines, minerals and People
C/o-ORISSA ADIBASI MANCH
Orissa India-765 001
Rights group urges inquiry in Orissa tribal killing
8th January 2006
NEW DELHI: A human rights group has urged National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to conduct an inquiry into the reported mutilation of bodies of the 12 tribals killed in police firing in Orissa.
The South Asian Human Rights Documentation Centre (SAHRDC) has asked NHRC chairman Justice A.S. Anand to collect details and direct the state government to prosecute the officials, if found guilty.
The forum pointed out that several newspapers had reported that the bodies of the protestors were returned to their families with mutilated hands and chopped off palms.
The forum condemned the police explanation that the hands were supposedly cut off for forensic identification.
"Such an inhuman and barbaric act by the doctors conducting the autopsy in complicity with the police goes against the very basic standards of forensic examination and international human rights law, it said in a letter to Anand.
The forum said NHRC should take up the issue of violation of medical ethics by the medical doctor involved in the mutilation of the dead bodies with the Medical Council of India and asked for his disbarment from medical practice.
On Monday, 12 people were killed when police opened fire on tribals at the Kalinga Nagar complex in Orissa's Jajpur district, who were protesting the construction of a boundary wall by the Tata Steel Company. The tribals alleged the company had not adequately compensated them for their land for its proposed plant.
On Kalinga Nagar
Update by Nachiketa, Independent Media, Orissa
7th January 2006
The situation in Kalinga Nagar continues to be tense; though groups and delegations visit the aggrieved tribals frequently everyday most of who seem to have sympathy for them because they lost a few lives in the police firing. "There are very few people and groups who seem to have sympathy for the cause for which we have been fighting ultimately resulting in the barbaric massacre of our oppressed and tortured tribals", says Raju Kulundia, a leader of the movement. Reacting to the announcement of the government that, the compensation for any loss of life to be raised to Rs 5,00,000, and to the transfer of the district collector and SP, Raju said, "the government is responding to the call for Orissa Bandh on 7 th of January given by the opposition political parties.
Our demands have been so clearly conveyed to the government and if the government has any sincerity to fulfill those demands they should talk straight. Do they think that their money will make us forget the crime they have committed? New people may join as collector and SP but what will they do unless the people who matter in Bhubaneswar don't take any decision to solve our genuine demands?
When the government decides to shift officers committing massacre from the place of the crime to defuse tension instead of punishing them, it only confirms our apprehension that government had taken a conscious decision to kill people. They have decided to suspend the doctors for chopping of the hands of the dead they say. If you are so concerned for crimes committed to the dead what are you doing to the people who have killed our brothers and sisters? As we have already said, 5 of our co-fighters were only simply injured. The police took them away and killed them out of anger. Now they are trying to shift the burden to the doctors."
Chakradhar Haibru, the president of the Visthapan Virodhi Manch also had the same reactions. The leaders are disturbed and hurt because there is made rush to the area of NGOs, political parties and civil society organizations that are trying to dilute the main demands of the Visthapan Virodhi Manch by raising irrelevant issues such as rehabilitation and resettlement. About the bandh call given by the political parties, Mr. Haibru said, "we would not watch them on the 7 th of January. We would like to see what they are doing after 7th. It is now the duty and responsibility of all groups and individuals to see to it that the sacrifices made by us (the adivasis) don't go waste. It will pain us if an impression is created that the tribals in Kalinga Nagar got killed because they demanded more compensation or better rehabilitation package. The issue is quite different from what is presented in media."
As reports reach our media office, the Bandh today is going on in the whole state of Orissa. All political parties including the congress and the left have joined the Bandh. There is an apprehension that since congress is involved in the Bandh, there could be incidences of violence in certain places. The Kalinganagar massacre has already evoked good response in Delhi. Several academics, students and activists (From Delhi University, JNU, AIIMS, Supreme Court) have come out in the streets of Delhi protesting the tragedy. They have been led separately by the CPI ( ML) New Democracy, AISA. Reports of protests are also reaching us from Jharkhand, Chattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh. Within Orissa, the Samajvadi Jan Parishad activists have led the demonstrations in different places in Western Orissa ( on the 6 th of January), while in South Orissa, Lok Sangram Manch is leading the protest movement in Gajapati district and Surada of Ganjam district. The CPI( ML ) Liberation which was the first group to launch a demonstration in the capital following the firing incident is also organizing Bandh in several places including Bhubanesar. The CPI and CPM groups along with OGP, Janta Dal ( S), Samajvadi party are taking active part in the Bandh on the 7th of January. The CPI ( ML) is also organized a protest programme in Puri on the 6th of January. The Lok Sangram Manch has given a call to Band South Orissa on the 11 th of January. They were the first organization to give a call for a similar bandh following the killing of three tribals in Maikanch on 16th December 2000 in similar situations by the Navin Pattnaik government.
In separate interviews to Independent Media, eminent activist Prafulla Samantara and communist leader Radhakant Sethi ( Ex-MLA) have accused a section of NGOs in Orissa who look prominent for a number of reasons that, " they have been trying to take undue advantage of their proximity with BJD leaders and are offering themselves to work as brokers for the government to dilute the movement in an area alien to them". They were citing the TV interview of a prominent NGO leader of the state "who hardly knows the people and their issues but has claims of solutions to the Kalinganagar problem". They have appealed to every one who is trying 'to act smart and sees a prospect of funding and state patronization in the KalingaNagar tragedy".
The Stand of Bisthpan Birodhi Jan Manch, as reflected in their letter to the Orissa State Pollution Control Board (below), contradicts the views expressed by all mainstream political parties, groups and NGOs who have found themselves a fresh territory. The letter was handed over to us by Shri Haibru for circulation and clarification. [Comment from Independent Media, Orissa, January 7 2006]
"We don't accept the 'development dream' put before us!"
by Chakradhara Haibru, President
Bistapan Virodhi Janamancha, Sukinda
At- Ambagadia, P.o.- Gobarghati
Dist- Jajpur, Orissa
To The member-Secretary
State Pollution Control Board, Orissa
A/118, Nilakantha nagar, Bhubaneswar- 12
Subject: Objection to proposed TSL Project (* -see below) at kalinga Nagar, in response to the Advertisement of The Sambad of 8.10.05 of State Pollution control Board, Orissa No-30717 dated. 6.10.05
On the above said subject we beg to submit our objections.
The objections are made after examining the REIA of the proposed 6MT Steel Plant of TSL at Kalinga nagar.
1.. The objection of the people should have been sought before signing of the MOU. The State Govt. has agreed to the project of TSL as early as 17 November 2004. The affected people are asked to give their objections if any, after a year. In the meanwhile TSL has completed their survey work and are constructing boundary walls in spite of the protests of the affected people.
2.. 175 MW CAPTIVE POWER PLANT IS OBJECTED
A few weeks ago, the State Pollution Control Board, Orissa has done a public hearing for 4×125 MW Thermal Power Plant of TSL as part of their 6MT Steel Project. What would happen to Sukinda and its environment? The Thermal plants of NTPC and NALCO have spread the fluoride-related diseases among the population and domestic animals in Talcher, Anugul area. Even the agricultural fields and river water have been heavily contaminated by fly ash and bottom ash. The Thermal Power Plants with their fly ash shall equally damage the human habitation of Sukinda area and Kalinga Nagar.
The Coke ovens of TSL and that of other plants under construction shall add to the air pollution. Presently the Coke Ovens of Nilachal Plant is causing serious pollution of the air by their emission over an area of 6km. radius. The inorganic and chemical wastes of several pig iron and steel plants shall only cause diseases and bring death to thousands. So the project of TSL is strongly objected.
3.. THE CORE ZONE OF TSL IS NOT WASTE LAND
The core zone of TSL consists of green hills with rich forests, tribal settlements of more than ten thousand people spread over two gram panchayats, agricultural lands, ancient tanks, grazing fields, village common lands and roads. The total area of waste land is less than 5 acres on the Northern side. Why the core zone is described as WASTE LAND ignoring the ground reality? This is most objectionable.
4.. WASTE LAND IN THE BUFFER ZONE
The report on the project states that, out of 314 Sq.Km. a total area of 63% is waste land. This makes it an area of 197.93 Sq.Km. Then nearly 3 lakh people are living mostly in the waste lands. More over, it must be accepted that most of the agricultural land within200 villages situated within the area on waste land. Also it nust be accepted that the forests, green hills including the protected and reserve forest the stretch of Brahmani river and Kharasuan river, natural water streams, the plantation sites mostly waste land. This is wild assertion. Let the Govt. Forest Records, Revenue Records, Central Govt. Survey maps and Census Records be examined to find facts. Total waste land in the buffer zone constitute less than 2%. 35% of the area is of forest and hills with wild animals of rare species. Agricultural land, human settlements urban area infrastructures constitute 55%. The rest area includes quarries, wet land, sand banks and river.
5.. BRAHMANI RIVER WATER
Brahmani river water is heavily polluted by industrial pollutants of Rourkela and Talcher – Anugul area. For this central Pollution control Board has declared it 'C' class.State Pollution control Board has declared a stretch of Brahmani river from Kamalanga o Bhuban as 'D' class. The industrial pollutants contain radioactive inorganic toxis materials like Uranium. Thorium and several types of harmful chemicals in its water which has affected the aqua life of Brahmani up to the mouth, where olive ridly and crocodiles are protected. The suppression of facts in the report is objected.
6.. GROUND WATER TABLE
In rainy months ground water Table swells in some parts of Sukinda area above the ground level and continue to floe for weeks. This is observed in some parts of foothills of Barasuli and other hills area. But during Jan-June months in all parts of the area the ground water level falls to 10 to 30 mtr. The facts are not placed by the report correctly when they speak that ground water table varies from 0.8 to 9.2 mtrs.
7.. EXPLOITATION OF GROND WATER
Two years back there was no large scale exploitation of ground water. But presently there are more than 50 deep bore wells in Kalinga Nagar. Some supply 24 hour water to pig iron plant- VISA and JINDAL, have 24 bore wells among them. 9 bore wells are used by other projects for their construction work. 12 bire wells supplement pipe water from Brahmani to Nilachal Plant and Mesco Plant. Even Brahmani surface water is supplemented by deep bore wells of IDCP. If this is not large scale exploitation of ground water within 40 Sq. Km. of Kalinga Nagar, than what it is?
8.. CLIMAT OF KALINGA NAGAR AND THE ADJACENT ZONE
Sukinda and its adjoining area had never a humid tropical climate. Its climate is dry monsoon. Day time temperature in April-May hovers between 37 0C-390C. The humidity is around 40%. The lowest temperature in Dec-January is recorded as 150C. the report has placed disinformation about the climate of the area.
9.. ECOLOGICAL NATURE OF THE STUDY AREA
The project area is not waste land-it must be pointed out again. 75 Sq. Km. of hills with forests spread over the area contiguous to TSL projects on the south and south west direction. 10,000 people, their agricultural land and common land are within the core area. 20% of the Project area has quality forest where timber species like Sal, Kuruma, Vandan, Ashan and Piasal, besides Mahula, Kendu are plentily available in these parts.
10.. RARE PLANTS SPECIES
Local tribal people gather herbs and roots from the local forests which they use for treating successfully a wide range of illness. Tribals from outside Sukinda – from Dhenkanal and Keonjhar come to these parts of forests to collect necessary herbs and roots. It must be noted that these forests are under full protection of 40 Tribal villages of the locality since 1946, where hunting and cutting of trees is strictly prohibited by the community decision of the tribal people.
11.. WIDE FAUNISTIC SPECIES
Within 5/6 Kmtr. of the project area the forests of Nakasa, Natimara, Barsuli, Bhitarmanika and Sunajhar have some rare species of wide life in good number. They include leopard, deer, scaly ant eater, pangolin, python, cobra, giant boa. The rare wild dogs (Rama siali) are seen in packs. There are large numbers of wild boar, wild goats, deer and several types of monkeys in these forests. It may be repeated that, this has been the habitat of so many types of animals in a non protected govt. forests for last 60 years.
12.. POPULATION DENSITY
Within the buffer zone of the project, the total population is more than 3 lakh in 314 Sq. Km. area. 3 lakh populations are definitely higher in comparison to the State's average population density. But the report has wrongly stated that the population is only 44 thousand. The tribal populations within this zone are nearly 60 thousand. Let the Census report of 2001 be checked up.
13.. DIRECT AND INDIRECT EMPLOYMENT AND BENEFICIAL IMPACT TO HUMAN ENVIRONMENT .
The report tries to impress that, by the coming up TSL project, direct and indirect employment would be generated and the impact will be beneficial to human environment. We belief, the report tries to point out that, the people in the buffer zone shall lead a developed and prosperous life – with better food, better health, better housing conditions, education and cultural facilities. This is a false picture for the vast majority of the working people on the area
The 'Secretive" expansion plan of Kalinga Nagar by the Govt. of Orissa, moving to acquire nearly 200Sq. Km. for the industrial complex, infrastructure and other purposes shall make all the peasants in this zone land less. Most of them will be turned home less and shall seek shelter in Govt. colonies. There will be acute shortage of water, wide spread air pollution by the effect of industrial complex . In the meanwhile prime agricultural lands are being purchased by some Pvt. Companies through illegal deals making the peasants landless. The Govt. officials are conniving with the land dealers for the acquisition of land from poor peasants.
Most of the tribals who face displacements are without lawful rights on their homestead land and agricultural land. So the compensation package of 10 decimal plot in rehabilitation colony with 50,000 Rupees to construct one room pucca house does not make them secure even for a day . Because they don't have regular work to make their earnings. Cut off from their traditional life, traditional occupation of agriculture and food gathering, these people cannot by any strech of imagination be capable to earn enough in the colony to wait for a job in the plants. After all, they are not eligible to get preferential treatment in the job market of Kalinga Naga r. They are not land losers per Got. criteria. We have our lessons from the plight of the displaced people living in Gobarghati rehabilitation colony, who earn their living, men women and children, in crusher plants.
They weep for their present misfortune and curse the Nilachal Plant Authorities for whom they lost their home and lands.
We the tribals 10,000 in number and the 50,000 other tribals in the buffer zone are against the displacement from our homes and agricultural lands. So also the 50,000 Dalit people are against the projects in Kalinga Nagar. In this connection we don't agree to and accept the 'development' dream put before us by the report. We are not prepared to be home less, land less, job less. We don't want to lose our traditional culture life.
In this situation we submit our objection to TSL projects in Kalinga Nagar. We request the authorities to study the points and contentions made above and take proper steps in the interest of the poor tribals, the Dalits and the people in general living within a radius of 30km..
Bistapan Virodhi Janamancha, Sukinda
(*) Tata Sons Ltd (TSL), headquartered in Mumbai (Bombay) is the "promoter" group for all Tata's 93 subsidiaries worldwide, and in which it has the key shareholding
Excerpts from statement and letter to the President of India
by Dr.Sankarsan Acharya of Citizens for Development and Pro-Prosperity.Com, USA
"By just reacting to the people clashing with police at Kalinganagar will obfuscate the paramount truth underlying the tragic massacre.
What is happening now is just like what East India Company (EIC) was doing to Indians. The EIC was paying pittance to indigo and opium farmers to procure the produce to sell in China for exorbitant profits. The profits were shared among EIC stakeholders, viceroys and the Crown. Opposing Indians were subjected to cannon fire. At one stage, the Chinese refused to buy anything from the imperials. Then the British government used Indian soldiers to wage war against China!
Now the decision makers of the State (union and state governments) are paying $0.075 per tonne of iron ore to public exchequers. The miners get this iron ore for $.075 to sell it for at least $45 per tonne in international markets. The State disposes off at least 63 million tonnes of iron ore like this per year. The $0.075 per tonne received by public exchequers is insufficient to even pay salaries and pensions of government staff. Do you see why our government employees are paid little and infrastructure is crumbling?
The $45 x 63 million per year goes to palaces of Indian miners, decision makers and mafia, including police officials and district collectors. This is just from iron ore( emphasis added by us) . We have to count all other ores being exported away, public land usurped and development funds (printed/borrowed rupees) embezzled. This is why cannon fire is being unleashed against people who are opposing the robbery of even their personal possessions. The siren of industrialization and development is bogus and humbug. India does not need to import exorbitantly priced coke to make steel/sponge iron for exports. One-sixth of humanity living in India has barely 2% of global deposits of iron ore. Our current steel production is sufficient to meet domestic needs".
by Dr Acharya's letter to the President
"Orissa's CM has been recklessly transferring public's iron ores to private parties for a piddle royalty of $0.075 per tonne, which is valued in market $50-110, depending on various delivery terms. This is not economic justice to public as guaranteed by the constitution of India. The CM has thus subverted the constitution of India. He and perhaps all political parties in India have no consideration whatsoever that India has just 2% of iron ore reserves, but is exporting it away to other nations in raw or some finished form
Now the Orissa CM has massacred Kalinganagar people opposing a takeover of their private lands and dwellings (their only wherewithal) to transfer the same to some private individuals, so-called industrialists. This is blatant injustice. Public and private wealth is being looted under the garb of industrialization.
India has become a banana republic with such constitutional figures as the Chief Ministers massacring people to loot their private possessions and siphon off public wealth for pittance, in addition to being involved in other rackets and scandals, as per prominent newspapers."
Memorandum Submitted at the Orissa Nivas Protest Demonstration
Held On 6th Febuary 2006 in New Delhi
Government of Orissa
Through the Resident Commissioner
Orissa Bhavan, New Delhi
Re: Police Firing on Protestors in Kalinga Nagar, Jajpur District,
We are a collective comprising student groups, trade unions, democratic rights organizations, women's groups, cultural groups, and concerned individuals based in Delhi.
We are deeply shocked by the brutal firing on protestors in Kalinga Nagar, Jajpur district on 2 January 2006, in which, so far, 12 people have been killed, and many others seriously injured. In a horrific aftermath, the hands of five victims were chopped off, a practice that defies comprehension and that has no place in a country that claims to be a modern democracy.
This firing happened in the presence of senior district officials, including the Collector and the Superintendent of Police, Jajpur district. The transfer of Collector and SP merely minimizes the enormity of the crime. Being directly responsible for the brutality and loss of life, they need to be dismissed and face criminal prosecution.
It appears that, on the morning of 2 January 2006, Tata Steel attempted some construction work under the protection of several platoons of heavily armed police personnel. Even as a four-member delegation from the local tribals who had assembled at the spot went to meet these district officials, the police launched an unprovoked attack on the gathering. Tear gas was followed by an indiscriminate firing, which continued for several minutes. Those trying to flee were shot in the back. Others have been shot in the face and on the chest.
For many months, local tribals and other villagers have engaged in a bitter struggle to avoid displacement by the steel project of Tata Industries, a company with a long history of displacing people and exploiting their natural resources. An earlier attempt to start construction in Kalinga Nagar was prevented by local people in May last year.
This refusal to engage with the people's delegation on 2 January and firing on protestors instead is symptomatic of the refusal of the Orissa government to engage in dialogue with those who have been opposing industrial projects being thrust upon them. Instead the Orissa government is increasingly adamant in using police, Special Forces and the might of the state to push projects through against the stated wishes of the people, a practice that has grave consequences.
In December 2000, three protestors were killed in unwarranted police firing in Maikanch village, Rayagada district. For the last couple of years, the Orissa government has been hell-bent on pushing through numerous projects - be it UAIL, Hindalco, Vedanta Alumina, Posco, or the Tatas in Kalinganagar, among dozens of others.
The government has also been violating all established procedure regarding people's consent and consultation since it knows, as we all do, that most ordinary people in these areas oppose such projects. That opposition is stems from the fact that mining operations and large industrial projects displace people on a large scale, take away their lands, destroy their homes, forests, means of sustenance, and the environment.
Reliance on this development trajectory can only lead to further impoverishment, peoples opposition, and intensified state violence, for which the government is solely responsible. We unequivocally oppose this pattern of development, which makes the tribals, dalits, and agrarian poor its victims.
We demand that the Orissa government should immediately:
1. Initiate a prompt investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the killings in Kalinga Nagar;
2. Dismiss the District Collector and the SP and initiate criminal proceedings against them and all other officials responsible for the firing;
3. Identify and initiate criminal prosecution against the police personnel responsible for chopping off the hands of the victims;
4. Publish a list of the dead and injured;
5. Award Rs 20,00,000 as compensation to the next of kin of those killed in the firing, and Rs 10,00,000 to those injured;
6. Cease evictions and withdraw all projects in Kalinga Nagar;
7. Put an immediate end to the indiscriminate mining and plunder of people's resources; cancel land leases for all mining in Orissa.
Signed by: Ranjana Padhi, Harish Dhawan, Radhika Menon, Joseph Marionos Kujur, Nagraj Adve, D Manjit and many others.
CAMPAIGN AGAINST POLICE KILLINGS IN ORISSA
ORISSA GOLIKAAND VIRODHI ABHIYAAN (Contact Numbers: 98683-40048,
ORGANIZATIONS PRESENT INCLUDED:
Delhi Oriya Students Federation
Delhi Shramik Sangathan
Democratic Students' Union
Forum for Democratic Initiative
Indian Social Institute
JNU Students' Union
Kashipur Solidarity Group
Krantikari Yuva Sangathan
Lok Sangharsha Morcha
Manipur Students' Association
National Alliance of People's Movements
People's Democratic Front of India
Samajwadi Jan Parishad
Stree Adhikar Sangathan
A SLEW OF REVAMPED AND NEW PROJECTS
Chhattisgarh acquiring tribal land for Tata Steel
8th January 2006
RAIPUR: Chhattisgarh Industries Minister Rajesh Munat said on Saturday that land acquisition for the Rs 100 billion Tata steel plant in mineral-rich Bastar would begin soon.
The minister said that Chhattisgarh would not commit an Orissa-type error and would compensate the tribals adequately for the land.
Tata Steel, India's largest private sector steel maker, had inked a deal with the Chhattisgarh government in June last year for setting up a five-million tonne per annum integrated steel plant in two phases with a Rs 100 billion investment in the impoverished but mineral-rich Bastar region.
Last week, the tribals of Bastar had refused to hand over land to the state government for setting up the plant.
"We will not allow an Orissa-type massacre in Chhattisgarh. The state government is in the process of unveiling a massive compensation package that would include offer of jobs to families facing displacement due to the new steel plant," Munat said.
He said the district administration had formed village committees comprising local leaders, tribals and intellectuals in Bastar for the "smooth handover of over 5,000- hectare land to Tata Steel".
Meanwhile, the state Congress party plans to observe a day's statewide stir on Monday to protest the killing of 12 tribals in Jajpur district of Orissa.
Leader of opposition in the state assembly Mahendra Karma who was part of the All-India Congress Committee (AICC) team that went to probe the killing of the tribals blamed the Orissa police for the "unprovoked firing on tribesmen at Kalinga Nagar".
Govindacharya opposes Posco project
Statesman News Service
25th December 2005
BHUBANESWAR - Swadeshi Jagaran Manch leader, Mr KN Govindacharya, called upon the people to oppose the proposed Posco steel plant project, irrespective of party affiliations, in an organised way.
He even dared the ruling BJP to come out openly to oppose the project to prove its sincerity for the cause of Orissa.
Addressing a meeting organised by the Manch at the end of a week-long march in protest against the proposed Posco project, Mr Govindacharya said there was a need for launching a powerful mass movement as had been done in case of Enron power plant.
"Posco is setting the steel plant in Orissa only on profit motive. Development of the state is just an eyewash," he said. It is the people of Orissa who will suffer in the long run due to lack of farsight of few politicians when the precious mineral resources of the state will get depleted, warned the Manch leader citing the instance of Ethiopia.
The South Korean company and not the people of Orissa will get richer, he said stating that all the profits would go to Posco. Hence, the people of Orissa should organise themselves and give an united fight against the foreign company, exhorted the firebrand leader.
Posco ramps up Orissa project implementation schedule Business Standard Our Correspondent
19th December 2005
South Korean steel major Posco has made some changes in the scope and implementation schedule of its proposed 12 million tonne integrated steel plant in Orissa. The changes were put into effect by the Posco board which met in Seoul, South Korea today.
The company has decided to ramp up the first phase capacity of the venture from three million tonne to four million tonne at about $3.7 billion (Rs 16,650 crore).
Earlier, the company, in the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed with the Orissa government in June this year, had mentioned that the project would be set up in four modules of three million tonnes each.
According to the revised schedule, the project has been divided into three phases of equal capacity with the final capacity remaining unchanged at 12 million tonne per annum.
Of the four million tonne to be produced in the first phase, 1.5 million tonne would be slab and rest would be value-added hot-rolled steel products, as against three million tonne slab that was mentioned in the original MoU.
These slab and hot rolled steel would be used for export as well as domestic use. The first phase of construction is now expected to be completed by December 2010, six months later than the original date of June 2010. This delay will be owing to the increase in capacity and equipment changes, said Ho Chan Ryu, team leader Posco-India.
However, the final completion of Integrated Steel Works will be earlier than the original schedule of 2016, he added. Since the signing of the MoU in June 2005 and the setting up of Posco's Indian subsidiary in August 2005, the company has made a capital investment of $51.3 million in the project.
Posco India's steel plant project is the largest foreign direct investment in India and is a significant part of the company's strategy to enhance its global competitiveness. The proposed investment is around $12 (Rs 51,000 crore).
Posco's Orissa project is expected to create about 48,000 jobs in the region and around 4,67,000 man years of employment during the construction phase. A total of $278.6 billion is the projected economic effect of the project, considering taxes and royalty incomes for the central government, as well as the Orrisa government.
Ryu said the approval of the project details by Posco's board of directors today was yet another milestone in the history of the Posco-India project. It reflects their faith in and commitment to India and takes us a step closer to realizing our vision for Orissa and the global steel industry, he added.
POSCO to invest $12 bn in Orissa steel project
18th December 2005
South Korean steel major POSCO said on Sunday it had finalised plans to invest $12 billion to build a 12 million ton plant in Orissa by 2016.
"Not only is the Korean investment the largest of its kind in India, it is the largest of its kind in the world. It is our biggest overseas venture and the Indian government has given its full support," a POSCO statement said. POSCO is the world's fifth largest steel maker.
POSCO plans to establish the plant as an "integrated steel works" capable of producing four million tons a year by 2010 and increase this in phases of three million tons each to 12 million tons by 2016.
The first phase is, however, likely to be delayed six months from the June 2010 schedule due to an increase in capacity and equipment changes. The final completion of the plant will be ahead of schedule, the company statement said.
In the "integrated steel works" concept, the entire process of melting, steel making and rolling occur together. The facility will also employ the innovative FINEX steel making method. This is a revolutionary process of skipping sintering and coke making - essential in blast furnace methods - to cut costs and reduce hazardous emissions into the environment.
POSCO will also develop a mine to provide 600 million ton of iron ore, or 20 million tons a year for 30 years, in Orissa's Keonjhar and Sundargarh areas.
The company is setting up a new port for transporting the plant's products as Orissa's lone port of Paradip will not be able to cope with the high volumes to be generated.
"India is expected to post the world's highest economic growth rate by 2020. Its growth potential is so high that the demand for steel is also expected to soar," the company statement said.
POSCO had on June 22 signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Orissa government to set up the plant in Orissa.
Since signing the MoU and setting up its Indian subsidiary in August
2005, POSCO has invested $51.3 million in the project.
Vedanta plans $2.1 billion smelter
Times of India
17th December 2005
LONDON: Vedanta Resources Plc will build a new 500,000 tonnes-a-year aluminium smelter at Jharsuguda in the Indian state of Orissa at a cost of $2.1 billion, the London-listed copper and zinc miner said on Friday.
The India-based miner said the smelter, together with a 1,215 megawatt captive power plant, would raise its smelting capacity to 900,000 tonnes a year, placing it among the largest integrated producers of aluminium worldwide.
"The Jharsuguda project further enhances our ability to produce aluminium at costs that are in the lowest quartile of the industry cost-curve,"Vedanta's executive chairman Anil Agarwal said in a statement.
Vedanta is rapidly ramping up capacity to take advantage of regional growth.
Triple joint venture
Times of India
24th December 2005
MUMBAI: Aditya Birla group major Hindalco Industries has joined hands with Coal India and Neyveli Lignite Corporation for a coal project in Orissa.
While both Hindalco and Neyveli will hold 15% each in the proposed joint venture, Coal India will hold the majority 70% stake.
While the Hindalco spokesperson declined to comment on this project, sources close to the development said: "The joint venture will apply for coal mining leases in the mineral rich state of Orissa.
The coal will be utilised as feed for the upcoming power projects. Hindalco, which has announced plans to set up mega greenfield projects in Orissa will benefit from this power project."
GAIL, Orissa pact in pipeline
17th December 2006
Bhubaneswar, Dec 16: GAIL India Ltd (Gas Authority India Ltd) today announced a slew of projects that it wants to set up in co-operation with the Orissa government and two other companies. The projects include a petrochemical complex, a gas pipeline, a coal gasification unit and a 1000 megawatt gas-based power plant.
Except for the 1200-km long Kakinada-Haldia pipeline project, the Orissa government will be a joint venture partner in all the other projects, GAIL chairman Proshanto Banerjee said this evening.
According to Banerjee, total investment will be around Rs 15000 crore. The gas pipeline, 500 km of which will pass through Orissa, would cost GAIL Rs 3800 crore, he said.
Banerjee today met chief minister Naveen Patnaik at the state secretariat and unveiled his blueprint for the "energy co-operation" scheme.
Banerjee told Patnaik that GAIL would build a gas-based petrochemical complex at a cost of Rs 5000-6000 crore, a Rs 2000-crore coal gassification plant and a Rs 4000 crore gas-based power plant in the state and Orissa can have a token equity participation. The debt-equity ratio of these projects would be 70:30, Banerjee said.
Under the energy co-operation scheme, two more private companies are likely to partner Orissa government and GAIL to build the petrochemical complex, gassification plant and power plant.
The GAIL chairman said his company was yet to finalise its other two partners for the energy cooperation scheme. "The company would sign the agreement with the state government in January after the feasibility study of the projects are over," he said.
A task force would be constituted to examine the feasibility of such a project. GAIL is still in the process of identifying the sites for these new projects.
The coal gassification plant would generate gas for domestic consumption in Orissa. The gas would be used in fertiliser plants as well as for power production.
Coal would be provided by Coal India Ltd, with which GAIL has signed an agreement. The 1000-megawatt gas-based power plant would come in handy for the upcoming steel units as such energy is cheaper.
IT'S ALL MINE
25th December 2005
Orissa may reduce the prices of iron ore to give a breather to the sponge iron units that are looking down the barrel following a sudden fall in steel prices in the international market.
"During the past one year, sponge iron prices have come down by 35 per cent from Rs 10,500 per tonne to Rs 7,600 per tonne due to a global slowdown in the iron and steel market," said G.S. Agarwal of the Orissa Sponge Iron Manufacturers' Association.
The fall in steel prices in the international market, coupled with rising input prices, has put 79 sponge iron units in Orissa in a sticky situation. To make a tonne of sponge iron, 1.5 tonnes of ore and a huge amount of coal are needed. The plants with a total annual production capacity of 6.9 million tonnes require about 17 million tonnes of ore and 13 million tonnes of coal. These plants appear to be on the verge of closure.
Orissa steel and mines minister Padmanav Behera indicated that the iron ore price would be brought down at the next board meeting of the Orissa Mining Corporation (OMC). The corporation supplies ore to most of the sponge-iron makers in the state.
Behera said the government would not jeopardise a large section of the steel industry as they use sponge iron as a raw material to produce steel.
Currently, the OMC prices for iron ore ranges between Rs 1,260 per tonne (62 per cent iron content) and Rs 2,123 per tonne (65 per cent iron content). "The government will take all steps to protect the industry and its people. The price will certainly come down at the next meeting of OMC," Behera said.
The state has already reduced the price of chrome ore, a raw material for stainless steel, from Rs 5,300 per tonne to Rs 3,200 per tonne, he added.
Sponge iron, a metallic product formed by treating iron ore at temperature just below the fusion point of iron, is the basic input to make steel. It is used as a substitute for scrap for making steel.