I went through your response to Mr Sadagopal's crusading zeal against projects like those in Singur and Nandigram with both interest and amusement. Interest because displacement is a real problem nost just in Jharkhand and West Bengal but in Orissa as well. Amusement because the logic behind resistance to mega industrial projects is often based on the assumed notion that they would eat into people's diffultly retained farm lands. The logic, I would say, is rather simplistic and is applied to all projects all over India with scant regard to varying ground realities.
In Kalinganagar in Orissa for instance the movement that has kept the Tata steel project at bay has little to do with farmland. One doesnt need to be an expert to realise that the land in question is absolutely barren. A gray, desolate landscape greets you as you enter the region, home to some of the poorest of people in the country. Most of those who stand to lose their land would much rather do it in exchange of a respectable livelihood than continue to grovel under poverty. Unfortunately these innocent, mostly illiterate and thus gullible people have fallen prey to disinformation spread by opportunity-seeking NGOs who have a vested interest in tribal unrest.
There's no denying the need for a R&R policy that seeks to address the issues that the displaced mass faces. But one cannot condone violent reprisals for the sake of resistance. One cannot also allow some NGOs and a few masquerading as naxals virtually holding state after state to ransom particularly when the insidious motives of these outfits have become public knowledge.
However the debate must continue.
Ashok Mohapatra Bhubaneswar
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