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Kashipur Solidarity
Mission History


On the 16th of December,2000, three tribals fell to the police firing at
Maikanch, Kashipur Block, District Raygada (Orissa) in
India while opposing an Alumina Project and mining of
Bauxite of Utkal Alumina Ltd. a joint venture of Hydro
of Norway, Alcan of Canada and Hindalco Co. of India.
In other words, they became the victims of the process
of `development?, i.e. the development of Capital and
State Power, that is the process of entrenchment of
these twin forces in an area where their power are not
so ubiquitous, where human communities still have some
breathing space to live in. All anti-`development?
struggles, positively speaking are struggles to
protect Life and Livelihood, specifically in tribal
areas. To see the movement in a proper perspective,
the living pattern of the local people, presence of
State, Market and NGO in their life and their
experience about development in the erstwhile Koraput
district needs to be understood.
In the general market paradigm, life
pattern of a community is understood in terms of per
capita income, expenditure, savings etc. How does it
apply to the people living in Kashipur? Their
identifiable sources of income are agriculture,
occasional wage labour and collection of forest
produces (Forest is almost exhausted due to corporate
interest and jungle mafia. J.K. Paper Mill at Raygada
is the single most cause of depletion of forest in
this area). On the other hand, they incur a sizeable
expenditure on food, festivals and medicine. From
April to October, malaria takes a virulent form and so
also gastroenteritis during rainy season, hardly any
family remains untouched by it. >From their
identifiable income source a family of 5 members can,
at best, survive for six months. Then how do they
survive for remaining six months? Two simple answers
are offered: one, as people do not have any thing to
eat from the end of the summer to the beginning of
harvesting season, it is relief that helps them
survive; secondly, people migrate to other areas and
survive. But reality runs contrary to it. In Kashipur
block hardly migration takes place due to shortage of
food or non-availability of work. Tribal communities
(Kondh, Paraja, Penga, and Jhodia) generally do not
prefer to migrate. Only landless dalits migrate
seasonally. It needs to be noted that in this area
both dalits and tribal people do `dangar?
cultivation. (Dangar, literally, means hilly areas for
slash and burn cultivation. Each village has a
traditionally demarcated area of dangar for the use of
people of that particular village only. This land is
also distributed among villagers traditionally. If the
possessor of a particular piece of dangar does not use
it for consecutive years either he/she can give it to
other villagers or the village community will decide
about its redistribution.)
It is a matter of surmise how do they
eke out a living when plane land is so scarce and
forest resource is near extinct. Let us first consider
the subject of food scarcity. Their food culture will
better explain it. `Mandia paej? (gruel
prepared out of ragi) is their staple food. They also
add some rice and maize to it, especially, in rainy
season. Rice and `suan? (name of cereal) come
next in their food habit. Their food pattern largely
depends on seasonal agricultural and forest produces.
Besides this, they grow various types of pulses and
oil seeds like, Kandul, Masur, Mung, Chana,
Alsi, Castor, Mustard etc. Wherever water
facilities are available they grow maize 2/3 times
year ( Most of the villages are situated near a
perennial spring). Maize harvested during
October-November are stored by hanging them from the
ceiling of the roof. For rainy season they collect
tamarind and its seed. They also collect kernel of
mango seeds to prepare `paej?. They grow various kinds
of roots and tubers in their kitchen gardens and also
collect all sorts of greens from the jungle. During
last decade vegetable growing has picked up. Round the
year they get something to from their natural
environment. But the fundamental thing about their
livelihood is that nothing remains surplus. They do
not desire to produce more than that of their needs.
Their mode of cultivation (mainly dangar cultivation
which requires hard physical labour) does not allow
any scope for surplus production. Even if one wants,
it will reduce him/her to a machine. If one argues for
surplus production, they say "if we work 24 hours,
when will we eat, dance and make merry?" This simple
approach to life leaves no room for greed, hoarding
and profiteering. But this culture of
non-hoarding/non-surplus production fails to meet the
problems at the time of natural calamities and also of
exploitation. For example during 1985/86 and 1990-91
people faced severe drought which resulted in
large-scale starvation. Against this background, many
argue to increase their income source so that their
purchasing power will go up. The solution was sought
in the introduction of cash crops like coffee and
cashew. But this is nothing short of a pretext.
Because from the cultivation of these cash crops the
traders who have come outside will reap rich harvests
so also a handful of local elite. Even today, they are
the people who control the trade of forest produces.
It also will create a new process by which tribals
will be alienated from the land and the market will
more and more determine their life. As they know their
life and their needs they reject it. Commercial
agriculture also does not harmonise with their
need-based production. It does not suit their way of
From the above, one thing is clear
that their process of production is primarily meant
for direct consumption of producers. In such a
scenario, the role of an impersonal institution like
market in their life is bound to be limited. People
buy few things from nearby weekly markets like salt,
kerosene and cloth not locally produced. The use of
cloth has specifically, increased during last two
decades and that is much less compared to other areas.
Besides weekly market, one can find small grocery
shops in a few villages generally run by dalits.
Another scene one most often comes across in that area
is that a woman (dalit) with a big basket on her head
containing items like salt, gudakhu and dry
fish moving from village to village. Tribals barter
their items like maize, ragi, and kandul with those
items. Use of soap and other commodities are very
less. A very few people have items like cycle,
transistor and T.V. One can easily deduce from this
that market is yet to create a big space in their
life. Their needs are also very less. Their dangars,
jungles and springs are bountiful to fulfill their
needs. They are the source of their life and
livelihood. Each village, to a large extent, is
self-sufficient. Because of this 80 to 90% people do
not know the people of other villages, what to talk of
Panchayat office and District headquarter. Their world
of need is limited to their village where they live
with dignity. The world outside is of little meaning
for them. They hardly need the state, Govt. or market
to run their life. But the relative isolation is
breaking. Market and state are forcefully entering
into their life creating new demands and dreams. The
irony of this phenomenon is that neither can they
themselves meet those demands nor the dreams can be
realised by the market process.
The state always tries to co-opt
people and communities into its entrails, what in
modern times, euphemistically called, `national
mainstream?. But it is paraded as a welfare measure.
Why does the state do this? What is the yardstick to
gauge who is `in? and `out? of the national
mainstream? Who defines national mainstream? In reply
to this one thing can be said those whose way of
living or social values are not confirming to the
established order are leveled as outside the
mainstream. The state tries always to create an
impression in the mind of the people that it is
benevolent, and that people can only develop within
the framework of state establishment. Also that this
is possible only through unflinching loyalty,
unquestioning surrender to the order and regulating
and controlling one?s own thinking and activity for
the `national benefit?. The state unleashes both
ideological and coercive powers to make people
faithful to it. It defines what is development what is
not, what is developed humanity and what is not and it
moulds every human being, every community into its
prescribed standard. Categories like national duty,
national development are coined to give sanctity this
model. The state tolerates `diversity? so long it does
not come on its way. But the moment it comes, state
does not hesitate to level it down. It also uses its
benign weapon, i.e. education to manufacture the idea
that people living outside the mainstream are not
developed ones. Let us see the wonders of
What a woman/man learns from her/his
natural environment, from the salt of her soil, what
helps her learn the art of living or growing food
grains, learn her own culture, social responsibilities
does not constitute education according to the
dominate paradism. People who have learnt all these
things are dubbed as illiterate, uneducated and
uncivilised in the modern education system. As a
result, they suffer from terrible inferiority complex,
which drives them towards a sort of mental poverty and
they loose faith in their own way of living.
Secondly, prevalent education system
tries to entrench the idea in their mind that their
language is not useful for them to be integrated to
the national mainstream, to be civilised. So they need
to learn a Standard Language.
Let us see the status of education in
Kashipur. The word `absence? is the hallmark of
education system in Kashipur- be it school, teacher,
or students. Most of the teachers do not come to the
school but draw their salary. At some places they
employ proxy teachers paying 200/300 rupees per month.
At other places where 5/6 teachers are required only 1
teacher is posted. The biggest problem is this that
teachers coming from outside do not understand their
language nor their life style. Thus they fail to
instill any interest in them to study anything. Till
today one will hardly find 3 to 4 matriculate or 1 to
2 graduates in an entire Panchayat (in every 5/6
thousand population). This shows the sincerity in
educating people. Nevertheless the fact that the
target for education is not achieved, makes some
people to talk of reform in education system
(Operation Blackboard, Joyful learning, Night schools
scholarships, Free Primary education etc.). For this,
committee after committees are set up, reports
prepared and experts employed, just to show that state
is really concerned for the people. What is the
mystery behind this concern?
A few products of this education
system learn from the mainstream that they have
remained till today barbarous, uneducated and
uncivilised. They need to be civilised. Everything in
their life is wrong- their food, dress, way of living
etc. They should make themselves fit the nation and
national duty. The education system which develops an
inferiority complex in the minds of a group or a
community towards their own way of living, wants the
people to ignore, to hate their culture, life pattern,
their production system and to be dependent on state
to follow the `standard life? defined by the state. It
wants people to accept all its institutions/ power
centers as liberator. Through education state has cast
its net in such a beautiful way that the people will
think without it they cannot be developed, educated
and civilised. It is creating mental slavery towards
existing order and has been successful in making
people not to believe in their own strength.
Kashipur was a land of dense forest
and perennial springs. In its lap human communities
were living. They created land by the sweat of their
brow and used jungle to meet their basic needs. In the
course of time, their lands and forests became the
property of the state. In other words, nature turned
into property. State became its owner. State created a
series of laws to exercise control over people and
nature. People were debarred from their birthright to
use nature for their survival. Many proscriptions were
imposed not to use/collect forest produces. Any
violator of this rule was meted out heavy punishment.
People have resisted against all these (This is not
the place to go into it). Once state became the owner
of the nature, it arrogated the role of the protector
of the jungle. It also became sole responsible for its
proper use and also for the present and future of the
people who depended on it. Any one who has gone to
Kashipur can well imagine how beautifully state has
performed its arrogated role. Barring a few places,
dangars are completely naked, no trees, no animals. Is
it so that local people destroyed every thing?
No, all have been sacrificed at the
altar of national development, national interest.(J.K.
Paper Mill at Rayagada is a monstrous monument of this
process. The loss of forest resources has become the
biggest bane for local communities dependent on it. It
has ruthlessly destroyed their balance of life, their
food pattern. The sources of their food are terribly
affected. Now they suffer from food scarcity. The
Govt. is shedding tears over starvation death and
infant mortality. Political leaders and intellectuals
are prescribing for better market facilities for their
forest produces to ameliorate their living
After destroying the forest resources
based life pattern of the people, the state takes up
various schemes to show its concern for the people. It
ranges from 20 Point Programs to Indira Awas Yojana,
Old Age Pension and Relief during famine. At the top
it is the `Himalaya shaking? scheme Gram Sabha. It is
propagated that Gram Sabha is more powerful than Lok
Sabha. In all these hollow rhetoric, state tries to
establish its welfarist character, to show that the
existing order is good, schemes are good and only due
to some `bad elements? (dishonest executives or
political leaders) benefits are not reaching people.
But the state is for us, its coercive apparatus is for
us. It is every thing, it can do and undo
Till the end of '70s, lower level
revenue officials (with whom they deposit land rent),
police and forest officials represented state for
people, the real `mai bap?. And the villagers
gave them royal treatment. They did not have any idea
about the Govt., officers, schemes, projects,
constitution etc. Nor these things did have role on
their life. The schemes and projects remind people of
the existence of the so-called welfare state who would
take care of them at the time disasters and
calamities. Against this background, NGOs (here NGOs
mean the funded organisations those are receiving
funds both from inside and outside the country like
OXFAM, Action Aid, HIVOS etc. to do state-approved
developmental work in the areas) did enter that area
in 1980?s. Slowly they carved out a place for
themselves by crticising the weaknesses and
inefficiencies of the Govt. and administration.
Let us see the role of NGO (Agragamee
is the first NGO to reach Kashipur in 1980?s).
The primary work of the NGO was to
help implement the schemes and projects of the Govt.
and to familiarise people with the state and to inform
them about its welfare measures, such as Non-formal
education, Watershed Projects, Indira Awas Yojana,
Rural Sanitary Programme etc.
Secondly, to implement certain
projects with the aid of the foreign fund which the
Govt. is not doing.
The state has made itself
indispensable both through its coercive power and
welfare measures. The NGOs have also created a sense
of their indispensability in the mind of the people.
Before 80s people had primarily seen the state in
terms of exploitation due to oppression of police,
revenue and forest officials. But the presence of NGO
gave a different image of the state- a state which is
very much concerned about people?s betterment. Because
of some dishonest politicians and officers or legal
drawbacks the benefits doled out by the state are not
reaching them. Otherwise, their fate would have
changed. This approach of NGO not only makes the
people more loyal to the state/existing order but also
help them rediscover their faith in the system. On the
onehand, continuous famine and resultant food crisis
in 80?s have invited the increasing intervention of
state and NGOs and on the other, people have become
more and more dependent on them.
NGO intervention has made a dent on
certain aspects. For example, people began to fear
less and less the Govt. servants. This fear was very
strong earlier. As a result, all sorts of
batti (in terms of hen and food grains) which
the Govt. servants used to collect from people by
force starts stopping. Manipulation in implementing
minimum wage also comes down. PDS rice gets
distributed more fairly. Community fund is created in
the village. This helps villagers to come out of the
clutches of the sahukars. Some Govt. works are
executed through village committee or women committee.
This shows that within the boundary of the existing
order NGO has done something to give spoon-feeding
justice to the people. This prompts one to ask: What
is the role of people?s own initiative in these
achievements? In answer, another question can be asked
- Will these initiatives continue in the absence of
the NGO? Can the people do this on their own?
NGOs do not try to create an
environment to question the existing social order.
Their approach to seek solution has always within the
spoon -feeding schemes and projects (to identify
beneficiaries, pension, housing, reservation, and
distribution of loan). But can there be any solution
through these schemes and projects? What is the root
of the problem? Is it just bribe, corruption and
dishonesty of some govt. functionaries and local
leaders or something else ? NGOs do not try to help
people think deep into these questions. For their own
safety and security they take a policy of non-
confrontation. Otherwise, they will draw the wrath of
state power. In fact, even when they try to faithfully
implement the schemes sponsored by the state, sometime
they become victims of wrath of bureaucrats and
leaders. This shows the intolerance of the people who
are at the helm. They do not tolerate even NGOs who
indirectly help to strengthen the existing order.
During 1985-86, Kashipur faces a
terrible drought. Starvation death is reported in both
local and national media. The then Prime Minister
Rajiv Gandhi visits Kashipur to see the problems of
people in his own eyes. This ushers in a new era in
the history of Kashipur. Development plans are chalked
out. International Fund for Agricultural Development
(IFAD) comes in to develop agriculture in the area. In
the name of agricultural development, it introduces
coffee plantation and sericulture. Earlier in their
dangars where they used to grow alsi, mandia,
kandul etc., now they were taught to grow coffee
and mulberry for the benefit of traders and
capitalists. IFAD also suggests for development of
roads and communications to bring the people to the
national mainstream. So roads from Tikri to Kashipur,
Railway line from Rayagada to Koraput are constructed.
When in 1993, companies after companies make a queue
to this area, the people of Kasipur realised the real
motive behind this development.
In 1993, local people got to know
that Utkal Aluminum International Ltd. is coming to
their locality to set up an Alumina plant. It's a
joint venture of Indal, Tata and Hydro Alumina (a
Norwegian company). Alcan (a Canadian company) is
involved in bauxite mining. Alusuisse, a Swiss company
is supposed to provide technical know how. (Meanwhile
HINDALCO has purchased the share of INDAL and Tata is
reported to have withdrawn from the venture). It's a
100% export oriented project. The initial project cost
is slated to be 2400 crores of rupees. The company
will source bauxite from Baphlimali and transport it
through a ropeway of 25 k.m long to the plant site at
Doraguda near Kucheipadar village.
People got to know about a second
Alumina project in the beginning of 1995. It?s a joint
venture of L & T and Alcoa (an American company).
It is proposed to set up at village Kumarsila,
Sikarpai Panchayat of Kalyansingpur Block, Dist.
Rayagada. It?s also a 100% export oriented project.
Project cost is around 1500 crore. It will source
bauxite from Siji Mali and Kutru Mali. During the
survey work people protested violently against the
project under the banner of Anchalika Prakritik
Samapad Surakshya Parishad (Council for Protection of
Local Natural Resources). People burnt down survey
camps. Since 1998 the company is not taking any
initiative to start the project.
Around 1998, people got to know about
yet another Alumina project sponsored by HINDALCO. It
is proposed to set up at village Kansariguda under
Bankam Panchayat of Laxmipur Block, Dist. Koraput. The
company is supposed to extract bauxite from
Kodingamali. (During the survey work people protested
and at present there is no initiative from company to
start the project).
More recently in 2001 the Sasubohu
Mali another bauxite mine in the area had been sold
out to BALCO to increase its selling price. Sterlite
co. of India has purchased 51% share of that public
sector company. This issue also rocked the parliament
and media covered it for some days to highlight
kickback behind the selling. No one is asking in this
democratic state and whether local people consent
(including Gramsabha !) has been taken before the
Many more are waiting in the wings to
sign MOU with Govt. of Orissa to set up plants and
extract bauxite.
One thing is clear- neither the Govt.
nor the company bothered to inform people about the
projects. Local people got to know about the
project when companies started survey work in the
area. The underlying assumption behind this approach
is that people are illiterate and backward so there
won't be any protest against the project.
In the year 1993, when news of
project and its attendant problems spread in the area,
an 18-member team of local people went to Bhubaneswar
to meet the then chief minister. Since the 1994
assembly election was round the corner, chief minister
promised the team to shift the plant area. But this
did not stop them to organise themselves to raise
protest against the project. They led the protest
under the banner of Prakritik Sampad Surakshya
Parishad or PSSP (Council for Protection of
Natural Resources).
Let us see the role of the various
forces involved in the protest. (1) Local people (2)
Political parties (3) NGOs (4) Solidarisers and
intellectuals (5) Mass Media (6) State &
Local people- The majority of the
population belongs to tribal communities like Kondh,
Paraja, Jhodia, Penga. Next comes the dalits (locally
called `Dom?). Besides them, there are Gaud,
Paiks and Sundhis (the other casts).
Participation of tribals in the movement is much more
than any other community. As most of the dalits do not
possess land and they also do not do dangar
cultivation their stake in the movement which is aimed
at protecting land is definitely less. But there are
some villages where dalits have land they participate
in the movement. On the other hand landless tribals
participate in the movement, as they are involved in
the dangar cultivation. Another thing needs to be
mentioned here is that tribals harbour a sort of ill
feeling towards dalits. This is because as dalits do
not have land and their engagement in cultivation is
remarkably less, their source of living is to purchase
agricultural and forest produces from tribals and sell
it out to big traders and get some profit in the
process. But tribals perceive that dalits are cheating
them. Secondly, cultural differences between these
communities also play a part in it. Some dalit youths
had the illusion that they would get employment in the
company. Once their dream of getting employment got
punctured, they are now very much with the movement.
Even among tribals, the under matriculates and college
going boys (though very very few) do not participate
in the movement as they hope that one day they will
get govt. jobs. So they do not want to spoil their
career. As movement is getting stronger and stronger,
more and more dalits are participating in it. From the
local community, only a big section of Paikas and
Sundhis are directly opposed to the movement. A few
from dalit community are openly company
Because of the increasing
participation of dalit people and militancy of the
movement, big traders, basically outsiders, are
feeling threatened. They are the people who control
the local trade and also possess more land than
others. If the project gets going, they will get
contract works and will be most benefited.
Next come women. Let us first see the
condition of women in the society.
In Kashipur the percentage of female
population is more than that of the male. Compared to
non-tribal societies, tribal women enjoy much more
autonomy. A girl has the right to choose or reject her
future partner. Generally, it is found that girls
themselves choose their life partners. When a girl is
married off, people from groom's side give
`jhola' to the parents of the girl. The other
important aspect is participation of women in
agriculture. As dangar cultivation is the dominant
form of cultivation, women's contribution to
agriculture is much more than men. This is because,
this form of agriculture does not require ploughing.
Participation of women in the
struggle has been remarkable. This is due to their own
social status in the society. Their mobility is more
compared to the non-tribal women. Secondly, they are
more attached to dangar than the men. They want to
protect it. Thirdly women feel that once company comes
, more and more people from outside will come to their
area. Their free mobility will seriously be hampered.
Now the women go to dangar or jungle alone to collect
firewood or forest produces. They do not see any
threat of molestation or rape. They apprehend presence
outsiders who do not understand their culture will
vitiate the atmosphere.
Political parties
Unlike other displacement struggle in
Orissa, no political party has so far directly
participated in the movement. In the 1994 assembly
election, Congress candidate won the
election-promising people if voted to power he would
drive out the company. Traditionally, Congress and
B.J. D. are two players in political scene. Recently,
BJP is trying to make some inroads. All of them are
openly supporting the project. During last election,
people asked all the political parties to clearly
state their views on the project. Expectedly, no
political party did that. The then chief minister,
Giridhar Gomanga who was contesting election from that
area tried to avoid it by saying the decision about
project will be reconsidered. Keeping the next Lok
Sabha and Assembly election in view and his own
political future, he states `if people don't want
project it won't be?. Most of the political parties
are for the project but with better compensation and
proper rehabilitation and some share from the profit.
Nothing to be surprised about it. Nehru has set the
tone for it - `to suffer for national interest?. All
are for the existing system, for the existing model of
development. This has happened in Hirakud
Hydro-electric project in Sambalpur district. Late
Prasanna Panda (the then local MLA) did not get
support from his own communist party neither at state
nor at central level, when he opposed the project.
Political parties support or oppose to this sort of
struggle depends on whether they are in or out of
power. This has been proved in Anti-BALCO struggle in
Orissa in 80s, in Enron struggle in Maharashtra.
   In Kashipur the entire mainstream
   political parties Congress, BJP, BJD are hell bent on
   starting the project. These parties have formed an
   All Party Committee to support the project. BSP
   as a political force is emerging in that area. They
   are supporting the movement not out of any political
   conviction but to spread their base to win the next
   Role of NGO in the movement
   The worldview of NGO and their
   activities in Kashipur has already been discussed. In
   the beginning Agragamee has disseminated information
   relating to project and its possible impact on the
   life, livelihood and environment of the area.
   Agragamee was in a sense bound to do this because it
   has been working in Kashipur for the last one
   In the absence of a collective
   process, Agragamee carved out a place for itself among
   the people in the area. Dependence on Agragamee can be
   seen from the initial steps taken and later from the
   sort of demands raised by the movement such as
   `signature campaign, demand for information regarding
   project, clarification regarding the benefits to be
   accrued to people from the project? etc. The
   memorandum stating all these demands was presented on
   22.2.1995. Before that spontaneously people had
   protested the survey work, had stopped entry of survey
   of team to the village, seized the survey instruments,
   foiled the company sponsored meetings etc. These
   activities and above mentioned demands do not match
   really. This is because NGO always wants to direct the
   movement in the constitutional framework and within
   the purview of law. This is typical NGO tactics. As
   they have earned a pro-people image by doing certain
   reformist work, they cannot immediately withdraw from
   the people?s problem of this magnitude. So they work
   to control and keep the movement within such a limit
   that their very existence will not be threatened and
   they will remain close to the people so that they will
   not be totally rejected. They sometimes even justify
   their own limitation by defining it people?s
   Gradually, many more NGOs show
   interest in it. An NGO called Norwatch from Norway
   comes to know people's views. Local people strongly
   reject the question of compensation by saying `we
   don't want compensation?. ?We will not leave our home
   and land for mining and industry?. Norwatch?s role to
   sensitise people in Norway to the problems of people
   in Kashipur may create a moral pressure on the
   company. But the same group is asking to people ?after
   withdrawal of Hydro what next?? Does Norwatch see a
   role after such withdrawal? Certainly not.
   In 1997, Feb-March with the
   involvement of some NGOs a public interest litigation
   was filed in High Court of Orissa. The court gives its
   verdict in favour of the company. When people discuss
   the judgement they clearly state " The Govt. which has
   given permission for the project its court cannot give
   verdict in our favour. Govt., court, police, company
   belong to the same boat".
   As the movement grows NGOs see the
   opportunity to reap some benefits. And a tug of war
   between rival NGOs follows just to prove that they are
   closer to people than the other ones. Each group tries
   to use the local activists. Press conferences are
   arranged in Bhubaneswar and Delhi.
   During 1st week of July
   1999, Southern Revenue Divisional Commission convenes
   a meeting of NGOs to discuss plant and mining issue.
   Agragamee does not participate in the meeting. But an
   NGO `Ankuran? says in the meeting " we will help the
   Govt. in installing the project if it withdraws its
   decision of de-registering our organisation". Later
   Ankuran denies the statement by giving a
   A team headed by Muchukund Dubey
   visits the plant area. Everywhere people strongly
   protests against the projects and refuses any proposal
   for rehabilitation package. But the Dubey Committee
   recommends for installation of plant after a sincere
   dialogue with people on the issue of rehabilitation.
   That has become the bottom line for the NGOs in
   Orissa. No NGO dares to go against it. But the
   fundamental question is when people are struggling to
   save their land and home who did give authority to NGO
   to discuss on the project?
   Again some leaders of the movement,
   with the support of Action Aid and Sanhati (an NGO
   network in Orissa) go to Delhi and give press
   statement protesting against the project. But the NGOs
   who were sponsoring the visit issued a different
   statement suitable to them to the press that in
   accordance with the Central Act full power be given to
   Gram Sabha and before the land acquisition, consent of
   the Gram Sabha be taken.
   Under the banner of `Orissa
   Adivasi Manch? (an NGO outfit) a massive rally is
   organised in Rayagada with the impression that it is
   to discuss Kashipur issue. Thousands and thousands
   people from Kashipur area come to the rally to make it
   a success. But here again the mantra of B.D. Sharma
   i.e. `Gram Sabha? is chanted. Not a single line
   against the project came out in the press release.
   This surprises people. This shows the beautiful
   marriage of worldviews of Dr. B.D. Sharma and NGOs.
   Both complement each other. Both think change is
   possible within the boundary of constitution and law.
   The whole approach is to create some new laws, to
   modify old laws and to establish rights within the
   scope of law (read Gram Sabha). This suits well to the
   NGOs. On the one hand, a progressive label can be
   earned by giving slogans `power to Gram Sabha?, on the
   other, wrath of the state power can be avoided by
   demanding changes through constitution.
   Director of an NGO `Viswash? of
   Kalahandi/Nuapada who shared the platform of Orissa
   Adivasi Mancha as an advisor of the forum makes an
   agreement with the company to formulate a compensation
   package but pretends to be supporter of the
   Despite all these, the movement has
   remained a people?s movement. People on their own have
   taken many courageous and positive steps without
   giving a wink to law and constitution. The question of
   their life and livelihood has driven them towards a
   path of struggle despite hanky-panky of all these
   troubled-water lovers. A brief sketch will prove the
 a.In the beginning, local people spontaneously
   protests survey work and seize all the equipment from
   survey team.
 b.On April 23, 1994 when police arrests two
   protestors from Kucheipadar and lock them up, hundreds
   of men and women from nearby villages attack the
   police station and free their friends.
 c.In 1997, people barricade the area and stop the
   entry of police and company people. This follows a
   bloody fight with the police.
 d.People organise a massive padyatra campaign during
   December 1998-January 1999 to co-ordinate all the
   three anti-project movements.
 e.When company floats an NGO, Utkal Rural
   Development Society to organise health camps, to plant
   trees, to distribute seeds, to construct roads, people
   at each step protests violently against this.
  f.At Tikri, company tried to construct a hellipad.
   On May 13, 2000 hundreds and hundreds of people with
   their traditional arms came and stopped the work.
 g.On May 17th nearly 3000 tribals and
   dalits participated to break the road and culverts
   constructed by the company. The argument of the people
   is "we do not have vehicles to run on pucca roads. We
   have our own road criss-crossing hills and dangars.
   Roads are way to exploitation".
 h.Thousands and thousands tribals , dalits, women in
   a massive rally went to Paik-kupakhal and destroyed a
   nursery of nearly 50,000 plants raised by
   On day to day basis people go on
   resisting company goons and police attacks. Because of
   these continuous protests, company has not been able
   lay a single brick for construction work. This has
   frustrated the company and the local vested interest
   groups and also the state. That is why UAIL in its
   report of April 2000 confesses that the first project
   concern is the "Resistance to Industrial Project". On
   the other hand, movement is spreading new villages
   shedding its Kucheipadar -centric character. Unity
   between dalits and tribals is developing fast. The
   culmination of this process is the police firing at
   From the beginning, this "democratic"
   state has maintained a stony silence on the exact
   nature of the project - how many villages will be
   displaced/or affected, how many people will lose their
   land, what will be nature of compensation. On the
   other hand, with the connivance of the company people,
   it has been continuously harassing people on one
   pretext or the other. People have been beaten up,
   fired upon, jailed, lathi charged, implicated in false
   cases. State has so far dealt with it as a law and
   order issue. Behind such ruthlessness we see the
   sponsorship of corporations. Sometimes local
   administration and police have tried to weaken the
   movement by setting one community against the other.
   As fallout, when violence erupts, it becomes easier
   for police to fulfill its nefarious designs.
In the early phase of the movement
through the sponsorship of the NGOs, some of the
activists have addressed press conferences in
Bhubaneswar or Delhi. This is partly responsible for
the ill reputation of the movement that it is an NGO
inspired/led movement. At the behest of the company
or administration, media has always projected this as
an NGO movement. Thus, local people?s struggle
does not get any credibility. The whole movement is
nothing but provocation of the NGO people. This sort
of falsification distracts other people?s mind from
the real issue.
   It is a fact that some people have
   been given compensation by force or fraudulent means.
   The compensation question has never been discussed
   openly with the people. People have been threatened
   that their land will be forcefully acquired if they do
   not accept compensation. There are cases where one
   brother is locked up in the police station, another
   brother is forced to sign the agreement paper.
   Whatever compensation money they had got has been
   exhausted within one or two year. Because they do not
   know how to use money. Apart from agriculture, they do
   not have any idea of earning from other sources and
   they do not know where to go if they leave their land
   and home. Sometimes people even argue that we had not
   gone to company to ask for compensation, company on
   its own gave it. Why should we leave our land?
   Very little known is the ensuing
   struggle and unrevocable resistance of Kasipur tribals
   against setting up of an aluminium plant - UAIL (
   Utkal Alumina International ltd. is a joint venture
   with Hindalco of India, Alcan of Canada and Hydro of
   Norwegian company) over 7-8 years. This project if
   takes off will affect more than 25000 indigenous
   people. The resistance is on the grounds on
   displacement, encroachment upon their life patterns.
   Over these years, the district administration has
   clubbed hands with the pro-company goons implicating
   hundreds in false cases, putting many more behind
   bars; while company goons run freely in some of the
   villages, terrorising occasionally even beating up the
   tribals. Muchukund Dubey committee report confirms the
   repression of the tribals in the region. Adding a new
   leaf in the chapter of ?repression?, on
   16th December, police in an unprovoked
   firing killed three tribals while 30 others suffered
   major and minor bullet injuries. The course of events
   could so presented in this manner.
   On 15th December, some
   members state ruling BJD party Mr. N. Bhaskar Rao,
   Krushna Chandra Mohapatra with pro-company people
   loaded in two jeeps tried to reach Nuagaon village
   near Maikanch village - a key village of pro-company
   people - to stage a meeting in favour of UAIL. Earlier
   they had distributed leaflet inviting people to come
   on 15th to Nuagaon for the discussion in
   favour of company, on the eve of 20th
   December Road Blockade at Rafkana on Koraput-Rayagada
   road, called by PSSP for pressurising govt. for
   cancellation of Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
   Knowing the fact that the Nuagaon meeting is meant to
   disturb the Road blockade programme the tribals
   prevented those political leaders to reach Nuagaon on
   15th December, in a manner in which some of
   these outsiders were beating up. After such incident
   those political people came to Rayagada town ransacked
   the OPDSC office (a sister NGO of Agragamee operating
   in Rayagada). In the FIR that was filed curtseying a
   dalit Mr. Binod Nayak, Bhaskar Rao and others reported
   that Mr. Achyut Das, director of Agragamee - a NGO
   functioning since last 20 years in Kasipur block- some
   of its employees and local indigenous people attempted
   to murder them (which is a wisely woven wily made up
   On next day that is on
   16th December, two platoons of Orissa state
   armed police and other police officials including a
   magistrate-in-power in three jeeps reached the village
   Maikanch at noon time, while most of frightened male
   members had fled at the sight. The police wrangled the
   women folk who attended them and started
   lathicharging. In course of the unfortunate incident
   fifty-five years old tribal woman Mrs. Danai Jhodia
   fell on the ground and lost her consciousness. Amidst
   the hue and cry of the women folk misconcluded her for
   dead, the men folk rushed to the spot from all
   directions and suddenly seeing the stream of men
   police began its shooting spree in which three tribals
   died- Abhilash Jhodia of Maikanch, Raghunath Jhodia
   and Damodar Jhodia of Baghrijhola. Thirty and more had
   suffered major or minor bullet injuries and six among
   them, seriously wounded were admitted in the district
   hospitals. The police torched its own jeep for reasons
   apparent later reporting that the tribals did so.
   Probably this masquerading was done by police only to
   consolidate the made up story of aggression of tribals
   in defence of which the police resort to lathicharge
   and firing. It is suggested from the callous
   misinterpretation provided by past experiences
   especially in Majhiguda on 30th December
   In the aftermath such inhuman
   killings needed to be condemned by all quarters, the
   travesty lies in the fact that the following day that
   is on 17th December was observed as a
   "victory day" in Rayagada by ruling BJD people in full
   presence of all its high ranking police and
   administrative officers who watched the celebration
   pass by.
   State's repression over tribals is
   not a matter of surprise. However, the ploy needs to
   be understood in the wake of the 20th
   December 2000 Rafkana roads blockade that the Kasipur
   tribals had planned much before. From the very
   beginning the district administration had resumed an
   unfavourable toward the people?s movement against the
   proposed UAIL - by all means of repression as already
   mentioned. The unprovoked firing therefore, seem to be
   a premeditated contriving of psychologically
   victimising people in the region so that the movement
   suffers setback and finally ceases to continue. The
   immediate achievement for the state laid in the
   foiling of Rafkana road blockade, which otherwise
   could have registered itself or, potential threat to
   the pro-company quarters and a unified democratic
   voice of people against the proposed setup.
   Despite the December 16th
   episode it was inspiratory to see that the
   20th December Rafkana road blockade was
   successful with an assemble of more than 8000 tribals
   adorned with their traditional drums, bows and arrows
   and other traditional weapons.
   Why Agragamee
We are being forced to address this
question because of media highlight that Agragamee an
NGO working in the area, is doing the movement. When
on 15th December leaders of the political
parties were beaten up by the tribals at Maikancha
village they came immediately to the Rayagada town and
ransacked one of Agragamee office. Then and there they
issued statement in the press which is closer to them
also that staffs of NGO and tribals of Agragamee
attacked them. They took the name of the NGO only to
show that really tribals are not opposing the company
rather the NGO in fear of loosing its project area is
instigating tribals and is opposing. Had it been, the
support of all other groups and individuals in
different part of the world would have gone in support
of the movement. Then Judheswar Jhodia of Maikancha
village ask " if Achyut Das and Agragamee is doing the
movement then why police came to Maikancha village on
that day? It should have gone to Kashipur office and
arrest Achyut Das and others there." But media did not
carry it. People?s voice is not carried properly
neither by the media nor in the other circles.
Surprisingly even today people in many parts are
asking " Is Kasipur movement really led by tribals and
dalits there not by Agragamee?" Because Agragamee
after the incident said in the media "we are neither
opposing industrialisation nor supporting it" to gain
the popularity given by the politicians and also to
keep its position safe everywhere. On the otherhand
PSSP has an one line resolution that " who ever
is opposing industrialisation openly should extend its
support to us" distancing it from such
mischievous groups those are playing with the fate and
in future they could persuade company?s compensation
package in stead of opposing the company outrightly.
   In the last two decades, Orissa has
   witnessed many struggles to protect Life and
   Livelihood (Baliapal, Gandhamardan, Chilika,
   Indravati, Kotagarh, Lakhari, Kashipur ?..) like many
   parts in India. The commonality in all these struggles
   is that a large section of small peasants, tribals,
   dalits and women are involved in it and all are
   fighting against the corporate houses directly or
   indirectly. People in these parts know that this
   welfare state has been reduced to a business state.
   Earlier the state was collecting land revenues in name
   of doing ?developmental? work and now as because the
   corporate houses are offering more royalty for the
   same land this state is giving land to them so that
   its ruthless police and army, fraudulent judiciary and
   dishonest bureaucracy could run. Surprisingly, most of
   the urban elites feel industry would bring a change.
   Let them zero their hope on it if they don?t
   understand from past experiences. But others in any
   part of the world ( this false state-nationalism has
   no meaning for us) while fighting against same odd
   should feel a united fight against the
   industrialisation/corporatisation. A bigger network is
   required to strengthen such struggles.
   An appeal
   Are you agree that we should fight
   collectively? Do you feel that it is essential? Then
   can we come closer? Be you in any part of the world,
   but every where we feel now that indigenous people,
   primary producers, contract workers are in trouble. So
   should we not share our problems, express solidarity
   to each other, build a network and go for the joint
   For more, write to us. Express more
   about you.
   The Convenor, PSSP
   Dist- Rayagada- 765015, Orissa,
   e-mail : debasar11@yahoo.co.in
Phone: 06856-235092 (B Rath)
   This is prepared by Saroj, Debaranjan and
   Rabisankar on behalf of Friends Of PSSP


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