United in protest over acquisition
Posted by Admin on September 12, 2009
Villagers at the anti-land acquisition rally in Potka on Friday. (Bhola Prasad)
Jamshedpur, Sept. 11: Visthapan Virodhi Ekta Manch, an outfit spearheading the protest against Potka land acquisition bids, today urged the governor to scrap all MoUs signed between the state and firms.
Instead, the protesters demanded that the state concentrate on better irrigation for paddy farmers at Potka (East Singhbhum). Traders and farmers also submitted a memorandum of demands to the governor and the Potka circle officer after taking out a rally in front of the Potka block office.
Around 5,000 people participated in the rally that begun at 12.30pm and ended late in the afternoon. Villagers from Nandigram and Singur (Bengal), along with their counterparts from Gumla, Godda, Ranchi and Hazaribagh, were also present. Tribal women were carrying bows and arrows, while the men held placards denouncing the acquisition of “farmland” for industrialisation.
Kumar Chandra Mardi, the manch convener, said today’s rally was to commemorate the incident in which three officials of Bhushan Power and Steel Limited were tonsured at Roladih village in Potka on September 11, 2008.
Mardi said that since the September incident, no Bhushan Steel staff had entered the area trying to buy land illegally, while the process of land purchase was being channelled through the district registry office. “As the company is still buying land, villagers have to remain watchful and protest where misdeeds are being spotted,” said Mardi.
“Large tracts of barren land are lying unutilised, the government may provide such land to the Bhushans and the Jindals for steel plants. But, not an inch of farmland would go to the industrialists,” Mardi warned.
Samar Das of Bengal also addressed the gathering and urged the villagers to stay united.
Others who addressed the rally included Banmali Mahto, Ramdash Hansda, Sudhir Soren, Tapash Ghatak and Badal Sardar, all from Bhumi Suraksha Samiti. TT