Taking a cue from the success of the farmers who got back their land in Singur, 3.5 lakh tribal people have started a movement against the government in Jharkhand making Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee their undisputed leader.
The tribal people in Dalma region in Jharkhand are keeping faith in Banerjee to get back their rights as their dwelling place has been declared as “eco-sensitive zone” without creating any alternate source of livelihood for them. Moreover, the tribal people of the area are apprehending that declaring the area as an “eco-sensitive zone” is the first step to give the land to some “private players”. Thus, they have formed Dalma Gram Surakshya Mancha and organising movement against the step taken by the government.
A delegation comprising Purnendu Basu, Bengal’s agriculture minister, Shantiram Mahato, Paschimanchan Development minister and MLA Sandhya Tudu visited the place in Jharkhand on Saturday. They spoke to members of Dalma Gram Surakshya Mancha that was formed to protest against such “arbitrary” decision of Jharkhand government.
The delegation held a small rally along with the members of Dalma Gram Surakshya Mancha.
Basu said: “They are keeping faith (on the Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee). The Chief Minister had sent us here to speak to the people to know what had gone wrong with them and how they had been deprived of their rights. We will return to Kolkata and give a report to the Chief Minister.”
In 2012, Environment Department of the Jharkhand Government had issued a notification declaring the area as an “eco-sensitive zone” with all the necessary steps being taken after a Bill in this regard was passed in the Jharkhand Assembly.
Subsequently, both brick kilns and stone crushing units in those areas were closed, leaving the local people jobless. Since the climate in the region permits cultivation of crops only once in a year, the tribal people in the area were dependable on the brick kilns and stone crushing units to earn their livelihood.
Terming the passing of Bill to declare the land as an “eco-sensitive zone” as an anti-people step, Basu said: “Around 3.5 lakh people, mostly tribals, reside in 236 villages in the area in Dalma region that has been declared as “eco-sensitive zone”. Besides turning the people jobless, the most pathetic outcome is that tribal people were restricted from playing their traditional drums and blowing trumpet as making loud sound is prohibited in “eco-sensitive zone”, said Basu adding that people here cannot make concrete roof of their houses and even construction of “pakka road” has also been restricted. Some had even lost their dwelling places as well.
He further said first steps should have been taken to provide alternate source of income to the people of the region before taking such steps.