Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Concet Note on adivasi question

Towards (Trans) Locating The Adivasis In The Information Superhighway Junk Spaces(Malls)Globalized(Post) Modern World of Junk Spaces(Malls)
Asit Das
If we look at the media headlines today, the following spectacles and phenomena dominate the information barrage:
-Bullish stock exchanges-Crowded McDonalds and swarming beach resorts-Swinging discotheques-The sparkling Queen's necklace (Marine Drive)-Malls, multiplexes, software parks, 'smart cities', swanky emporias, towers with all their glass and glitter.
Against this backdrop we have the sweeping gentrification of slums, burgeoning suburbia with their pools, golf courses, custom built vehicles, luxury condominiums and so on. The banner headlines bombard us with the news of India's arrival as an economic superpower with a phenomenal 8-9% growth of the GDP.
Before we point out the impact of this much-flaunted economic achievement on vulnerable segments like women, Dalits, ethnic and religious minorities, Adivasis, peasants and workers etc, we would like to deconstruct the myth of 8% growth and the stock exchange boom. This economic turning point is a bloody pointer of early 21st century imperialism -with a century-long bloodthirsty trajectory of eliminating the peasantry from the face of the earth, extermination of the indigenous people from most parts of the globe- is the long tiring story of capital's insatiable hunger for profit. This 8% growth has been achieved after the ruling classes of India and their political parties ruthlessly administered the shock therapy known as structural adjustments- liberalisation packaged in the neoliberal paradigm, whose master narrative is known as 'Globalisation'.
Globalisation -which was capital's response to it's own contradictions and cyclical structural crises after the end of the post-war boom, after the “Petroleum crisis”, global economic recession, the Vietnam war and so on, the world economic relations were restructured according to the neoliberal ideology. Dollar was de-linked from the gold, and then “social democracy”, “Keynesian demand management” and the chimera of the “welfare state”, “import substitution” were given up. Washington consensus was adopted to bail out global capitalism in the late 70s and early 80s. The comprador rulers of the third world gave up their shallow rhetoric of socialism, self-reliance, and the whole discourse of decolonisation was reduced to the desensitized moribund terrain of history textbooks and development studies.
In the 80s, as a direct fallout of the debt crisis, structural adjustment policies of globalisation were ruthlessly imposed by the Brettonwoods institutions, at the behest of the imperialist masters- especially American imperialism on Latin America (which it considered its own fiefdom). These policies devastated and pauperised the entire working masses and indigenous people of Latin America -while the local elites and the multinational corporations made money there was 'boom'. A radical economist of Latin America had then remarked "The economy is doing fine, but the people are not." Then there was the crash, now the word globalisation invites a hostile reaction from the common people of Latin America, and this situation led to the formation of popularly elected left-wing governments. China and India are having the present economic boom because capital has found new virgin areas to exploit. Most of the Sensex leaps are results of foreign institutional investment of speculative finance capital coming in to make a fast buck, and will withdraw at the first signs of the crisis. Then the entire edifice of aspiring Asian economic super-powers will collapse like a house of cards. One should not forget the meltdown of the economy of the so-called 'Tigers of South-east Asia'. On one side the depoliticized academia, and the culture-vultures who romanticize tribal culture and their way of life, the governments objectify and museumize them, and the government of India showcases tribal culture in state-sponsored official APNAUTSAVS in London and Paris, while on the other hand. Shocking news of starvation deaths of Adivasis pours in from different parts of the country every day.
Adivasis -native people, indigenous people- were condescendingly called 'Tribals' by the colonial masters, while the anthropologists made lucrative academic careers by objectifying them through their studies, as if they are a different species to be showcased in the museums. There was decimation in the name of the white man's burden, arrogantly portrayed as the civilizing mission of the imperialist west. Human beings without private property or power hierarchies had existed for millennia, time immemorial. We started our journey from the caves, hunting, gathering, and struggling to save ourselves from the forces of nature. We were originally a part of the nature, coexisting with it in a mutually liberating symphony- without polluting and devastating the environment like the present day multi-national corporations, in their relentless drive for profit maximization and commodification.After learning agriculture, class societies emerged with enslavement of women, and feudalism became the dominant social structure based on exploitative agrarian relations between the 'Lord of the manor' and the peasants. Many parts were still left out, and there were the remnants of democracy and collectivism known as Adivasis or indigenous people, with their sustainable lifestyles and production process. At this point, the historical watershed called capitalism emerged from the intersteces of feudalism. This new economy and social relation wanted colonies for raw materials and natives as slaves. This is the ruthless story of global capitalism. Continents were colonized in search of raw materials and markets. This story of primitive accumulation or forced imposition of capitalist relations, violently dispossessing and displacing peasants and Adivasis was repeated in India by British colonialism through the East India Company. India was a multi-ethnic, diverse society. It contained rich natural resources, hundreds of languages, castes, different Adivasi people were sucked into global capitalism by the guns of British Imperial invaders. Adivasis who were 8.08% of Indian population, are classified into 500 scheduled communities. Administrators, law-makers, anthropologists and constitution give various definitions of the Adivasis. The constitution lists these communities to be that:
a) A traditional occupation in a definite geographical areab) A distinctive culture which includes the whole spectrum of a tribal way of life, that is language, customs, traditions, religious beliefs, arts and crafts, etc.c) Primitive traits depicted in their occupational pattern, economy, etcd) Lack of educational and technological development (Rahul Sen, Tribal movements during the colonial period, 1770-1947, pp206)
On the other hand, anthropologists in India are still to come to an agreement on a definition of the term. G.S. Ghurge made a distinction between tribals and non-tribals on the basis of religion, occupation and radical elements (1962). Desai elaborated on this by listing the following general
a) They live in unapproachable places, away from civilised people.b) They belong to one of the following groups-Negroito Austriloid or Mongloids.c) They use a tribal language.d) They follow a primitive religion, which is based on principles of animism.e) Their economy is of a primitive nature, such as collection, hunting, etc.f) They are mostly non-vegetarian.g) They have nomadic habits and have a special interest in dance and wine.(Rahul Sen)
According to S.C. Dube, a tribe is:
"an ethnic category defined by real or putative descent, characterized by a corporate self-identity and a wide range of commonly shared traits of culture... they believe they have a common descent, consciously hold a collective self-image, and possess a distinctive cultural ethos, many elements of which are shared by the collectivity"
(See S.C. Dube- Tribal heritage in India vol.1 -Ethnicity, Identity and Interaction. Vikas Publishing House, Delhi 1977).
Majumdar, in his definition of a tribe, incorporated such traits as territorial affiliation, endogamous, ruled by tribal officers, common language or dialect, following tribal traditions, beliefs and customs etc (See D.N. Majumdar and Madan, an introduction to social anthropology, Asia publishing house, Bombay 1956).The legendary Dutch anthropologist Haimendorf, who sympathetically studied the Adivasis' communities in India, especially in Andhra Pradesh for more than four decades defined Adivasis as: "authochtonous societies which persisted until recently in an archaic and in many respects primitive lifestyle", characterized as hunters and gatherers or rudimentary agriculturalists, using the slash-and burn method of cultivation, and distinguished by their isolation in hills and forests and their separation from the wider civilization of India. (See C Von Furer-Haimendorf- Aboriginal rebellions in the Deccan 'Man in India' (Rebellion number) Vol. 25: 208-18)
That none of these definitions, including the constitutional one, fit all communities identified as tribal is well recognised (Hardiman, 1987:11-14; Beteille, 1896). Both Hardiman and Beteille have emphasized the trait-listing nature of all these definitions as their main shortcoming, and argued for a more historical and ethnic basis for identifying a tribal community. Yet, both have failed to propose a convincing historical definition themselves. (D.Hardiman, coming of Devi: Adivasi assertion in Colonial India, Delhi: Oxford University press. A Betelle- The concept of tribe with special reference to India- European Journal of Sociology Vol. 27:297-318 as quoted by Rahul Sen.)
In view of the multiple definitions, one can safely concur with Rahul Sen that 'tribals' are those communities that historically possessed a communal social and corporate order and lacked any concept of individual and private property ownership. This is coupled with the fact that these communities were the original inhabitants of the land they lived on, which they made habitable, before being disposed by aliens through conquests and assimilation at later times (R.Sen-Structure and History: The Mundwari Synthesis. Unpublished M Phil dissertation submitted to deptt. of Anthropology, Delhi University 1991- as quoted in 'Tribal movements during the colonial period')
The Adivasis were the original inhabitants of the Indian subcontinent, with their sustainable agriculture, fairly gender-just democratic egalitarian social order with equality and collectivism as principles governing social life. They reared animals, had subsistence agriculture and were dependent on the forest for fuel, fodder, medicines and other products known today as 'minor forest produce'. Commodification of the commons, and forests were unknown concepts for the Adivasis, until the advent of class society known as the caste Hindu social structure with graded inequality and vertical power structure as its constitutive principles, which is otherwise known as Indian feudalism.
As the exemplary revolutionary and socialist thinker Rosa Luxembourg had taught us years ago, global capitalism needs a core and a periphery for extraction of raw materials, and colonialism is a natural corollary for capital's greed. (See Rosa Luxembourg- Accumulation of capital, Rosa Luxembourg reader monthly review books, New York)
Colonies like India were the jewel in the crown for the growth of British capitalism, and the ushering in of bourgeois modernity in British politics and social life. Indian agriculture had to be restructured to supply cotton for the cotton mills of Manchester. Forests and tribal habitats (including their commons) were commodified for the insatiable hunger of British industrial capitalism. Large scale commercial fellings of forest were undertaken by the British rulers to build sleepers for the railways, to extract cheap raw materials, minerals and other natural resources -most of which were in the tribal areas. For a permanent reserve, colonial industrial growth, draconian acts like the Indian forest act and the land acquisition act were enacted by the British rulers to grab the forests, mines, commons and other natural resources. Adivasis were further pauperised, criminalized, marginalized and pushed to the fringes by the imperialists. The permanent settlement, Ryotbari and other forms of land tenure created a legal structure for the Britishers to maintain a complex, exploitative order vis-a-vis the Adivasis. Their customary rights were infringed upon. This predatory encroachment on their habitat and livelihood created widespread discontent amongst the Adivasis -there were rebellions all over the country, which are one of the most glorious chapters of the anti-colonial struggles of India and the third world.
The eminent tribal historian and anthropologist K.S. Singh captures the mood of the time in his work on the Santhal rebellion, other tribal uprisings explains that:“Vested with such revolutionary intent, all these movements, inspite of their diverse context, territory and actions, possessed one unitary objective-the re-establishment of the indigenous order with the concurrent rolling-back of the alien system. The essence of these movements is clearly delineated by Singh in his description of the Birsa Ulgulan as "...agrarian in root... and in its end. Birsa in his speeches, emphasized the agrarian factor and sought a political solution to the problems facing his people i.e. the establishment of a Birsaite Raj..." (see K.S. Singh- The Dust-Storm and the Hanging Mist: A study of Birsa Munda and his movement in Chotanagpur)
According to Rahul Sen, "The indigenous communal social order of the tribes was in conflict with the private proprietary land tenurial system introduced by the colonial administration. This was the root cause of the repeated insurrection by the tribals. Consequently, the political solution invariably arrived at by the insurgents was reversion to the indigenous system, whether through rebellion or revivalism."
(Rahul Sen, Tribal movements during the colonial period: 1770-1947)
There were hundreds of revolts and uprisings against the British all over India-where the tribal concentration was more there were protracted battles. K.S. Singhbroadly outlines three regions of India where these struggles went on. They are:
1) Chotanagpur- Santhal Pargana and the adjoining areas of West Bengal and Orissa, peopled by Chotanagpur tribals;2) Bhil-Koli-Ramoshi belt of South Rajasthan, North Gujurat, West Madhya-Pradesh and North Maharashtra; and3) South Orissa-Andhra-Bastar region
One of the main historical reasons for the tribal uprising in Chotanagpur was explained by Rahul Sen as follows:
In 1765, the then Mughal Emperor, Shah Alam II, granted the diwani of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa to the East India company. With this, Chotanagpur, a part of the subah of Bihar, passed into the hands of company administration.
Although Chotanagpur came under company administration in 1765 itself, company officers first entered this region in 1770, when a troop of soldiers led by Captain Camac came to Chotanagpur to suppress some local Zamindars who were fighting each other. Captain Camac, thereupon, went on to reduce both Palamau and Chotanagpur Raj to tributaries of the company. As mentioned earlier, the administration of the region during this period was left in the hands of the Raja and his zamindars under under a military collectorate set up in 1771 and later under the supervision of a joint Judge-Magistrate-Collector, with the constitution of the Ramgarh Regulation District in 1780.
The Mundas, Hos, Oraons, Santhals, Mal Pahariyas (Malers) were some of the tribal groups who lived in this region. (Rahul Sen - Tribal movements during the colonial period, 1770-1947)
The other important tribal rebellions of this region were: Maler Revolt, Ho rebellion, the great Kol insurrection, the Santhal Hul, the Kharwar movement, the Sardar larai, the Birsa ulgulan, the Tana Bhagat movement.
The tribal uprisings in the South-west Orissa-Andhra-Bastar region were: the Kandh rebellion of Western Orissa, Gond rebellion of Adilabad, etc.
The tribal movements in Rajasthan- Gujarat- Maharashtra region were: Bhil revolts of Rajasthan, the armed uprisings in Khandesh, Bhil revolts in Western Madhya Pradesh, the struggle of Gond in central Madhya Pradesh and present day Chattisgarh, the Devi movement of Surat, and so on.
These uprisings produced inspiring martyrs like Birsa Munda, Sidhu and Kano, Rani Durgavati, Tantya Bhil, Khajya Nayak, Motia Bhil, Chhitu Kirad and many others.
This fierce resistance of the Adivasis from Rajmahal hills in the east to Khandesh in the west against the predatory encroachment of their habitat and the commons led to various compromises of the British colonial administration. To strike up different compromising arrangements with them including some nascent tribal land protection acts. Various administrative arrangements like 'The light areas act' and agency area administration in Andhra Pradesh were the results of tribal revolt against colonial depradations.
When the power was transferred formally from the British imperialists to the Indian rulers, almost all the colonial laws were kept intact. Draconian acts like the Indian forest act, the Land acquisition act, etc, stayed on in the statute book. The Indian constitution recognized the pretentious autonomy conferred by the British by incorporating them into the fifth and sixth schedule of the constitution, and acts like 'Chotanagpur Santhal Paragana land protection act' and Agency Area acts continued in post-colonial India. This was the contradiction of the new Indian rulers commitment to the marginalized social and ethnic groups.
The biggest betrayal of the 20th century was the shameless burial of the democratic aspirations of national liberation movement by the third world rulers at the behest of world imperialism, led by the Britishers, and now succeeded by the USA, which is the current leader of the imperialist camp. Decolonization was the biggest joke of the 20th century. Under the structural relations of the neocolonial arrangements, presided over by the Brettonwood institutions like the World Bank and the IMF to perpetuate the imperialist order. This was necessary for the continued exploitation of natural resources of the third world by the core capitalist countries.
Export of primary commodities like cheap minerals and agricultural products were the main income of the newly liberated countries in the post-WWII world. This was the material basis for the continuation of the colonial laws like the Indian forest act and the Land Acquisition act in post-colonial India, and this suited the imperialist masters and their agents in the third world. This neo-colonial arrangement was necessary for the continuation of global capitalism. This betrayal led to the renewed struggle of the oppressed masses in the third world, in the much talked-about, post-colonial era.
The Adivasis who faced this new exploitative structure and continued intrusion into their customary social and natural rights continued their struggle against the new Indian ruling classes for political autonomy rights over natural resources, commodification of commons and so on. While the rulers kept on subverting the autonomy provisions of fifth and sixth schedules of the constitution.
As a result of the cold-war polarization, Indian rulers maneuvered their way through the super power rivalry to build what can be called 'India-specific capitalism'. To divert the subalteran masses' discontent against this post-colonial exploitative order, the Indian ruling classes used various populist socialist rhetorics while giving half-hearted concessions to the struggling masses, including the Adivasis.
Jawharlal Nehru formulated the famous Panchsheel policies of non-interference for the tribal masses, which were shamelessly subverted by the post-colonial political class and the beaurocratic apparatus. Schemes like the 'Integrated tribal development programme' and various land protection acts were used to co-opt the political aspirations of the Adivasis. Due to the structural logic and beaurocratic apathy of the Indian state, all these pretentious, ameliorative measures were a total failure.
Reservations in the legislature, academia and the bureaucracy were used cleverly to indoctrinate and co-opt the emerging post-colonial tribal leadership, to get assimilated and support the new colonial order and the semi-feudal social structure. However, this doesn't mean the whole-sale rejection of the idea of reservation. In a semi-feudal society where democratic tasks are incomplete, the progressive and democratic forces should support all the struggles for reservation and positive affirmation. In a brahminical order, where the Adivasis, Dalits and majorities of OBC's are left out, the struggle for reservation has a democratic content and has to be supported while demanding to fill up all the backlog of the SC/ST posts. The reservations and other rights didn't come as a charity from the so-called liberal capitalist order of the West or Third World regimes. They were achieved after what Ralph Milliband had written that these are the products of centuries of unremitting struggles of the underdogs against the ruling classes. (For a detailed theoretical analysis of various peasant and other subaltern revolts in Medieval England and India see 'Customs and common' and 'Whigs and hunters' by E.P. Thompson and 'Elementary aspects of peasant insurgency in colonial India', by Ranajit Guha in Subaltern studies Volume 1- Oxford University press, New Delhi) Construction of this neo-colonial and semi-feudal socio-economic order is one of the main causes of tribal land alienation and commodification of Adivasi culture and ways of life. Most of the Adivasis were pauperised, driven into debt and bondage due to ruthless usury, rackrenting, cheating, were used by money lenders, dishonest merchants and landlords to usurp tribal land with active connivance of the corrupt politician beaurocracy, police and forest officers nexus. All this happened in spite of the land protection laws, constitutional provisions of autonomy, and pro-tribal rhetoric of the post-colonial state and the political class.The developmental trajectory of the post-colonial state was nothing too different from their colonial masters. Tribal habitats were considered lucrative sites for natural resources, commercial forestry, cheap labour for the new capitalist path of development, masquerading as the development path of a welfare state. This neocolonial order further reinforced the extractive economy, squeezing the tribal areas of their lifeblood.
This path of capitalist development displaced millions of Adivasis by megadams, factories, mines, industrial townships and so on. Millions were displaced by national parks, sanctuaries and reserve forests. A substantial number of displaced tribals are forced to migrate due to the loss of livelihood, and ruthlessly cut off from their cultural moorings and sense of security and become part of the urban underclass squeezed into the slums, swelling the ranks of the urban unemployed and underemployed, totally brutalized and dehumanized existence and treated like shit by the depoliticized right wing metropolitan elite. This process leads to a precarious existence -to be ruthlessly displaced again through the gentrification drive of municipal corporations and the builder mafia. (Sympathetic scholars like Dr Walter Fernandez, Enaksi Ganguli Thukral and others have meticulously documented the displacement and other effects on Adivasis from different mega-projects.) There are more than forty million people, including vast majorities of Adivasis and Dalits displaced by megadams and mines, and other industrial projects (see the report of the World Commission on Dams, and Greater Common Good by Arundhati Roy.)
As a reaction to this usurption of habitat and livelihood, and the shrinkage of their commons, tribal peoples have been offering resistance in the Narmada valley, Koael Karo, Kashipur, Kalinganagar, Hosangabad, Western MP and all over tribal areas in India. The tribal resistance movements of post-colonial India is also phenomenal. In the early decades after independence, tribal mobilisations and uprisings`took off in several parts of India. One of the prominent movements was the struggle of the Adivasis in Dahanu and other areas of Thane district of Maharashtra. Here the Adivasis built up a strong resistance against local money-lenders, merchants and landlords against usury and other forms of bondage. The eminent radical leader of Maharashtra, the late Godavari Parulekar played a prominent part in the tribal movements of Thane.
All these movements were met by heavy police brutalities. This unleashment of state terror lead to the death of thousands of tribal activists by police firing- thousands were put behind bars. The state oppression of tribal movements is a daily experience in post-colonial India. There has been massive and gross human rights violations of Adivasis and other ethnic communities from the North-East, Jammu and Kashmir to other struggling tribal communities. The Indian state has been enacting draconian repressive laws like 'Armed-forces special power act', 'National security act', and a host of other black laws to trample the democratic aspirations of the indigenous people and ethnic minorities all over the country. There have been thousands of fake-encounter deaths, torture, rape and custodial death by the army and the paramilitary forces and the local police. There is a thriving human rights movement in the North-East, resisting state terror and further repeal of black laws like the Armed forces special power act. Sharmila Irom's great hunger strike is a signal event in the human rights struggle of the oppressed ethnic cultural/religious minorities within India. The massacre of adivasis by police firing in Kashipur, Dewas, Kalinganagar, are serious pointers of the state of human rights in tribal areas. We call upon all the progressive and democratic forces to struggle for abolition of all the anti-people black laws. We appeal to all the radical and democratic movements to unanimously demand immediate with drawal of absolutely barbaric mediaval white terror called SALWA JUDUM by the Hindu Fascist Govt of Chhatishgarh. And supported by the Congress.The rulers did all this under the pretence of upholding liberal discourse of political modernity, while medieval, inhuman exploitation of the tribal areas was intact. (The Indian state is signatory to the UN and international covenants and charters, including the ILO declaration on the rights of indigenous people, and other human rights charters.) In this context we would like to expose the pseudo-liberal rhetoric of the Indian state, ruling-class political parties, and establishment intellectuals.At the time of writing this note the news of the Gory incidents in Nandigram poured in as one of the bloodiest marker of human right voilation in India in the name of Industrialization and growth. This bloody trail from Kalinganagar to Nandigram explains the elimination war of Indian state and the State Governments against the Adivasis and peasants on behalf of International and Indian big business. We call upon all the progressive and democratic forces to protest against the state sponsored carnage in Nandigram. The cold blooded massacre of farmers in Nandigram by West Bengal Police is a stark indicator of State terror and the State which is the sole repository of violence and has monopolised violence both judicial and extra judicial, it is the ugly symbol of organized violence for ruthless perusal of Capitalist development on behalf of its imperialist masters. We appeal to all the progressive and democratic forces to rise up unitedely against state violence and abolition all the laws which makes the state as the sole repository and of all powers with monopoly inflicting violence and murder.
The betrayal of the Indian rulers of the democratic and political aspiration of Adivasis and other ethnic groups of large tracts of the country led to the movements of separate states and autonomous regions in the tribal dominated area. Some of the important movements are the Jharkhand movement, the Gorkha land movement, struggle for Gondwana state, Karbi Anglog, Bodoland and many others. The Tribals are playing important role in the Struggles led by different organized left parties and movements, without forgetting their heroic role in the Historic Telengana uprising which will inspire generations. We call upon all the progressive and democratic movements to support the Adivasi people's struggle for a separate state, political power and autonomy to decide their own path of development and social structure. There are many autonomous tribal movements like the Kastakari Sanghatana, Adivasi Mukti Sanghatan, Shoshit San Andolan, Kisan Adivasi Sanghatan, the Khedut Mazdoor, Chetna Sangath, the Waynad tribal struggle for land, the Jagrit Dalit Adivasi Sanghatan, Ekta Parishad, Prakrutik Sampada, Parishad Kashipur, Bisthapan Bhirodi Janmanch in Kalinagar, and many others. These struggles are for the rights of the land, forest, natural resources and commons. Against eviction from dams, mines and sanctuaries- now the Special Economic Zones and Special Tourist Zones.
The Indian state conceded some of the demands to legitimize itself to maintain an inclusive democratic facade. It half-heartedly enacted some acts like the PESA act (under the 89th amendment of the constitution) and the recent bill on the tribal forest land rights. All these acts were mostly watered down versions of the various charters of demands presented by the tribal movements. A renewed battle on this front is necessary to make these laws effective. The most horrifying aspect of the Adivasi social life in modern India is the saffronisation of tribals of Gujarat and other places, especially Western M.P. The participation of tribals in the ghastly communal carnage under the direction of the Sangh Parivar in Gujarat in the year 2002 is the most disturbing factor for democratic politics. The fascist Sangh Parivar and the other revivalist organisations through liberal funding for the VHP by equally right-wing communal NRI's from abroad, have worked over time to communalize the Adivasis through various programmes like the Hindu Sangam. These funds for saffronisation of the Adivasis is channeled through equally shady NGO's like Banvasi Kalyan Kendra. (For the retrograde role of state-sponsored apolitical NGO's in indiginous communities, see the chapter "NGO's in service of imperialism" in The globalisation unmasked – Imperialism in 21st century by James Petras and Henry Veltmeyer madhyam books New Delhi. And the funding of Hindu fascist NGO's in India by IDRF, published by Communalism combat, Bombay.) The Adivasis of all of India are struggling to preserve their way of life, and cultural identity. During the 1991 census a vast majority of Adivasis in the present day Jharkand registered themselves as followers of 'SARNA religion'. This was an important method of struggle against offensive fascist homogenizing designs of the Hindu right. In the age of late Imperial culture, manifested through the 'Disneyfication' and 'McDonaldisation' of thrid world societies, we call upon the progressive and democratic forces to firmly support the struggle for assertion of cultural identities by the Adivasi people, which is an important site of resistance against the culture of globalization and revivalist cultural offensive of the fascist Sangh Parivar.
Under the rubric of globalisation, when neo-liberal offensive is devastating the culture and commons of the indigenous people of India, thousands of acres of the land from Adivasis and farmers are taken away for attracting foreign direct investment and forcibly acquiring cheap lands for the Indian big business. The accelerated phase of neo-liberal economic policies is the present phase of forcible acquisition of land from both farmers and Adivasis for SEZ's. What we are witnessing today in the SEZ’s is the ruthless early 21st Century primitive accumulation through violent dispossession and intense commodification of the commons. The sez’s and those deemed to be foreign territories where no laws of the land will apply, this shameless surrender of sovereignty is nothing else but recolonisation of Indian territories for super profits making mockery of all the claims of being the largest independent democracy in the world. Sez’s are grim reminders of the primitive accumulation process which happened during the consolidation of Industrial capitalism in the colonial era, the creation of sez’s are similar to the dispossession of the peasantry, decimation of the indigenous people and grabbing of the resources of the third world, so vividly described by marx in Vol.-1 of capital which in the Marxist discourse is known as primitive accumulation. (See Hobbswam, Maurice Dobb, Robert Brenner, Polyani and Marx Vol.1 Chapter 26 capital now lucidely explained in John Bellany Foster’s “Naked imperialism the US pursuit of Global Dominance, Aakar Books New Delhi)
In the proposed sez’s in India the various state governments propose to acquire around 1.35 lakh acres of land with a total revenue loss of around 1 lakhs crore in tax concessions as said by the finance minister. All the pro labour laws which were achieved after relentless battles of the working class will no longer apply in sez’s. This shrinkage of arable land, apart from seriously jeopardizing the country’s food security will severly pollute the environment. This forced depeasantisation will drastically swell the growing number of the unemployed creating a huge reserve army of labour for capital who can be exploited as cheap labour. All these are results of sez’s where land is being forcibly acquired through violence and sexual assault on women for the private profit of multinational corporation and Indian big business ostensibly in the name of public interest as mentioned in the land acquisition act. When the Indian state is boasting of transparency through the right to information act, the million dollar question is where is the Public Interest in the sez’s. This is absolutely and patently an act of fraudulence by the Indian state. There is a resistance going on by the local Adivasis and farmers against the forcible acquisition of their lands have led to struggles in Bajera Khurd, Singur, Nandigram, Pen Tehsil in Maharashtra. These are the frontier battle lines and important sites of resistance against imperialism and Indian big business. We call upon all the radical democratic forces to rally behind these struggles. The grim episodes of State sponsored massacre and violence at Nandigram mandates for the creation of an all India joint struggle by all the Adivasi, progressive and democratic movements for scrapping the sez Act and halting all the process of land acquisition for sez’s all over India.
The recent incidents of violence in Nandigram is the symptom of the sharpening contradiction between in the peasants and world imperialism, where on behalf the salim group of Indonesia the West Bengal Police massacred the resisting peasants, this was a shameless act of violence on toiling peasantry by a state govt. to forcibly acquire land for a foreign multinational corporation by a state govt. led by the left front forces us to sit up and rethink the meaning of the word “left”. This sheer capitulation to Imperialist interests shamelessly exposes the contradictions of the discourse of left parties running the West Bengal Govt., who protest against Globalisation and sez at the centre. The violence unleashed by the West Bengal Police on the resisting people of Nandigram is a stark indicator of class violence where the state forces massacre the peasantry on behalf of a foreign multination company, this exposes the class character of the left front govt. of West Bengal which declares it self to be the guardian of workers and peasants. This Govt. Murders and disposses the same rural under class whose interest it is suppose to safeguard. This shows the betrayal of the interests of the bargadars and the peasants by the left front Govt. WE call upon all the progressive and democratic forces to firmly rally behind the struggling peasantry of Nandigram. We should also expose the hypocrisy and class character of the ruling classes parties like the Congress, B.J.P., Trinalmool Congress and Samajvadi Party who are disposseing the peasantry in the Govts led by them in the center and state. The time has come for all of us to seriously formulate strategy for a noninvasive participatory and democratic industralisation process.
Not withstanding the pro-Adivasi rhetoric of the post-colonial Indian state for six decades, the socio-economic indices and the Morbidity pattern of Adivasis is quite depressing. The Adivasis are the most dispossessed, exploited, and marginalized social groups in India. More than 75% of Adivasis are below the official poverty line, with lowest per capita income, which is less than a dollar per day. The infant mortality rate and pre- and post-natal deaths are highest in tribal areas, with lowest life expectancy and literacy rate. Every year thousands die from diseases like gastro-enteritis in the monsoon. The incidence of Tuberculosis, Polio and blindness is quite high. Thousands migrate to the cities due to displacement caused by mega-projects, famines, drought, indebtedness, etc. Official schemes like the ITDP, Antyodaya and public distribution systems are total failures due to lack of political will and beaurocratic apathy. After a long struggle by the Adivasi movements and the left and democratic movements, the government was forced to enact the employment guarantee act which is quite inadequate seeing the high incidence of unemployment and underemployment. The tribal and other democratic movements should continue the struggle for the transparent, sincere implementation and social audit of the present employment guarantee act, the struggle has to go on for the enactment of an employment guarantee act for the whole year- 365 days covering all the districts of India. We should Demand that an expenditure of 20% of the GDP to be spent on the social sectors like socialized medicine & community health care, education, maternal and infant care, Pensions housing and the provision of entertainment infrastructures healthy and clean landscape and other forms of social wage. The struggle for forests and land rights, Usury money landing, slavery bondage and different forms of feudal exploitations, radical land reforms, political autonomy, resistance to Imperialist and Hindu fascist attack on Adivasi cultural identity and way of life, against human right violation, diplacement, and rolling-back of the neoliberal offensive should be strengthened with renewed vigour.
In the post-Iraq world, under the hegemony of the frightening political project of "Pax Americana", in an era where under the neoliberal economic regime the contradictions between the world imperialism led by the USA and the oppressed masses and nations of the third world is sharpening, we appeal to all the Adivasi movements to firmly ally with the struggles of the other oppressed entities and identities like workers, peasants, Dalits, women, unemployed youth, and oppressed ethnic, national, religious and sexual minorities and take concrete steps for the formation of a broadest possible left and democratic united front, to struggle against imperialism, feudalism, and patriarchy. Our ultimate objective should be the creation of a society without the exploitation of man by man, by man of woman, and human beings of nature. We should all strive for a radical democratic social order, where the associated producers decide their own destiny, where the development of each is the condition for the development of all.Long live the struggle for human emancipation.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Special Economic Zones and the Land Question in India

Special Economic Zones and the Land Question in India

The land question in India has suddenly attained extraordinary importance in the Media for the past few months. Ekta Parishads Janadesh Yatra few months ago, the agitations for notification of the Adivasi forest land rights bill, the social movements trenchant criticisms of the Rehabilitation Act and Land Acquisition Act has brought the land question into the centre stage of the public discourse. However the news media, which work overtime to sell the American dream and Propogating the 9% growth story suffers from a criminal historical amnesia land rights, tenancy and share cropers rights mere central issue of the historical uprisings massive tribal rebellions from Rajmahal hills in the east to Khandesh in the West more fought by the heroic adivasis against the Marauding British imperialists to save their habitats and commons.

Land and share croppers rights were the central issue in the great Telengana, Punappra Vylar and Moplah Uprisings. In the post Independent India the fight continued in the strong holds of the organised left and other Social Movements like Naxal bari, Bodh Gaya, Srikakulam were some of the well known areas while the struggle continued all over the sub continent.

In fact, land to the tiller has been the central slogan of the organized left other organisations like Chhatra Yuva Sangharsh Vahini fought for land rights against the Bodh Gaya Mahant struggles against tribal land alienation is a perpetual phenomenon in all over tribal India.

Postcolonial social movement added a new dimension to the land question in India this time the protest against forcible displacement from the homes, habitats and commons for Mega developmental projects.

Bigdams, Mines, Factories and Industrial townships were declared to be the temples of Modern India, the Indian ruling classes took a path of capitalist development through heavy Industrialisation forcibly displacing millions adivasi's peasants from all over India. There were protests in all over India. Arundhati Roy in her essay Greater common goods says that by early nintees more the four crore farmers and adivasis were displaced due to mega development projects. Post-Independent India has seen massive protests in Hirakud, Baliapal, Gopalpur, Koel Karo, Netarhat, Narmada Valley, Kalinganagar, Singrauli and many other places against their forcible displacement for construction of dams, steel plants, thermal power stations etc. Displacement, right over natural resources including forest and commons, against usury and feudal opression has been the main issues of discontent in Rural India.

India is endowed with huge natural resources and vast fertile lands, forest and labour power, but the paradox is in this country of enormous wealth majority of the population live in extreme poverty. The Indian ruling classes used the label of socialism following independence to adopt a public sector supported capitalist path of development sustained by rapacious neocolonial plunder through bretton woods institutions and imperialist transnational corporations. This paradigm is founded on the predatory profit oriented mercantile principle of inequality as an essential condition of development and decimation of peasantry through the continuation of the extreme backwardness of agriculture. According to the Arjun Sen Gupta committee report on unorganised sector more than 75% of the population subsist on twenty rupees a day around 20% of the population which includes majority of the Dalits and Adivasis hover on the brink news of starvation deaths poor in everyday from different regions of the country. Excruciating poverty causes mass starvation, rampant disease and premature deaths amidst vulgar affluence for a few. In addition large sections of the population have to face crude discrimination in the form of caste, religion, ethnicity and gender reduce them to the status of a slave in their own country.

About 70% of the country's population depends on agriculture directly and indirectly even today. Capital intensive developments has been foisted by the Neocolonial masters for the profits multination corporations who supply agricultural machines, fertilizers pesticides and seeds. The policy has proved to be not only anti poor but against the interests of the country as a whole. It has rendered agricultural labourers and small farmers nonviable who are loosing their lands joining the impoverished reserve army of labour. Under the pressure from the bretton woods institutions subsidies are with drawn while the costs of inputs soar making farming unviable for the majority of farmers especially small middle and marginal peasants. Rising costs of input and low prices of primary commodities has pushed agriculture and its dependant into the brink of disaster. The neoliberal state has been with drawing credits through nationalised bank and cooperatives pushing the farmers to take loans from usurious moneylenders forcing thousands of farmers to commit suicide. The new agricultural policy of 2000 has transformed the very paradigm of agricultural development by throwing the concept of land to the tiller to winds. In its place it introduced priority for cash crops and agriculture for profits to facilitate Mnc's and corporate take over, in the process small and middle farmers are forced to commit suicide and are driven off agriculture. Infact the phenomenon of reverse tenancy has been taking place in the name of contract farming at the behest of agribusiness.In fact, the MNCS and Indian corporations have emerged as new feudal lords in this predatory neoliberal era of global enclosure and ruthless 21st century primitive accumulation.

The powerful class of upper caste absentee landlords represented by the Kulak Lobby in politics are the biggest facilitators for entry of International big business into Indian agriculture in spite of the much flaunted but failed cry about the land reform measures, most of the cultivable lands are in the hands of 10% of the landed gentry. Neither the land ceiling act nor security of Tenancy and other land reforms acts have been implemented effectively during the last six decades. While their is no security of livelihood of landless labourers in spite of the much trumpeted national employment guarantee act, so massive distress migrations to urban slums are a living reality of rural India. The feudal relations in land is one of the biggest reason for the backwardness in agriculture and the chief cause for the extreme poverty and socio economic disparity in rural India.

Under the pressure of radical peasant movements land reform acts were made with enough 100 loopholes to circumvent it with the active connivance of the corrupt upper caste judiciary and bureaucracy.

Therefore radical land reforms with the principle of land to the tiller is the highest priority for India Today.

With neoliberal restructuring of Global Capitalism known as globalisation, the Indian ruling classes adopted the New Economic Policies in 1991 giving up all the pretensions of self reliance, egalitarianism, welfare state, non aligned status etc. Special Economic Zones were a logical outcome of this anti people neoliberal paradigm.

A Special Economic Zone Act was passed in the Indian Parliament in 2005 various states have their own SEZ Acts.

Salient Features of SEZs

A Special Economic Zone is an especially demarcated area of land, owned and operated by a private company, which is deemed to be foreign territory for the purpose of trade, duties and tariffs. SEZs will enjoy exemptions from custom duties, income tax, sales tax, service tax. From the point of view of industry, a SEZ is an industrial cluster with assured infrastructure aimed at increasing the country's export the stated purpose of creating SEZs across India is the promotion of exports. The Commerce and Industries Minister Kamal Nath Claims that exports will ultimately grow five times, GDP will rise 2% and the 30 lakh jobs will be generated by SEZs across India. His also claimed by the Govt. that SEZ will attract global manufacturing through foreign direct investment, enable transfer of Modern Technology and will create incentives for infrastructure.

As of 30 November 2007 according to the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry, total no. of approved SEZs are 760, formally approved SEZs are 404, SEZs with in principle approval are 165 SEZs notified after 2005 Act are 172 SEZs functional before SEZs Act are 19.

Many more applications await processing. Total are under SEZs, in 20 states across India is expected to be over 200,000 hectares, an area the Size of National capital region.

This land predominantly agricultural and multi cropped is capable to producing close to one million food grains. If SEZs are seen to be successful in the future and more cultivated land is acquired, they will endanger the food security of the country.

Displacement and loss of livelihoods in SEZs

Estimate Show that close to 114,000 farming household (each house hold on an average comprising five members) and an additional 82,000 farm worker families who are dependent upon these farms for their livelihoods will be displaced. In other words, at least one million people who primarily depend upon agriculture for their survival will face eviction. Experts calculate that the total loss of income to the farming and farm workers family will be at least Rs. 212 crore a year. This does not include other income tax (for instance artisans) due to the demise of local rural economies. The government promise humane displacement followed by relief and rehabilitation. However historical records does not offer any room for hope on this count an estimated 40 million people (of which nearly 40% area Adivasis and 25% Dalits) have lost their land since 1950 on account of displacement due to large development projects. At least 75% of them still await rehabilitation. Almost 80% at the agricultural population owns only about 17% of the total agricultural land, making them near landless farmers. Farmers families and communities depend on a piece of land (for work, grazing) than those who simply own it.

Employment in SEZs

The growth of employment in the entire organised sector since inception of the economic reforms in 1991 has been negligible. The total employment in the organised sector is still less then 3 crore. Even in the IT and ITES the boom areas of the economy employment is less than 15 crore (60% of SEZs are for IT).

The Indian labour force is estimated at 45 to 55 Crore. Thanks to growing automation modern manufacturing grows joblessty around the world. In India automobile production has grown rapidly, while employing hers labour than before. With more automation, rganized services also require limited supplies of labour.

SEZ are actually land grab by the real estate mafia and the coroporate sector

What are SEZs likely to become in few years time? According to a clause in the SEZ Act (section 5(2) as much as 75% of the area under large SEZs above 1000 hectares) can be used for non-industrial purposes. What will the remainder of the land used for?

This lacuna in the law is likely to become a loophole for massive accumulation of land by private players including the real estate mafia, developers and property dealers for the purposes of real estate speculation. This explains why so many of them have been buying land for SEZs. In fact it may well be the case that the rationale for the above clause in the SEZ Act is the uncertainty surrounding the economic attractiveness of SEZs. If adequate productive investment is not forthcoming, the SEZ developer can at least cash in on the land value. Conglomerates like Reliance already own upwards of 100,00 acre of land in the countywide (courtesy - seminar no. 582, sez issue Feb 2008).

In the light of the real estate boom and imposition of JNNURM SEZs have also emerged as a new form of colonial urbanisation. As all of know the majority of urban population are slum dwellers. Slums are not made by slum dwellers, not even by the poor they may actually be built by the poor or by the not so poor slumlord, but they are conceptualised and designed by the capitalist system itself. They exist because the capitalist system needs them. Being designed upon making a profit by exploiting labour the system requires that the cost of labour power kept as low as possible. Imagine if every citizen of Mumbai or Delhi had to buy a flat or a house. Would that be possible on the wages that they are getting today? Even in the organised sector? In Mumbai even a small flat on the outskirts of the city would not cast less than Rs 20 lakhs. Even in the organised sector a worker, with diligence and frugality throughout his life, cannot expect to save that amount even after a lifetime of working.

With the rise of capitalism after the renaissance in Europe, many new cities came up all over the world. Many of the cities that we live in today are a product of these times. New York and Mumbai provide prime examples. These were industrial cities made with the express purpose of utilising the new opportunities for vastly enhanced exploitation of workers afforded by the Industrial revolution. Even the older cities like Rome, London and Delhi had to adapt to this new world order. From the beginning of 18th and 19th centuries and get industrialised. These not able to make this transformation perished, as cities - like Susa in Persia and Badami in Karnataka.

In today's globalised context after the enactment of SEZ Act it is necessary to see the new colonial urbanisation and its connection with, displacement, agrarian crisis, growth of slums and migration. Some growth centres like, Noida, Gurgaon, Bangalore etc tell the sordid human drama behind their glazed tiles and golf courses.

It is interesting to look at the neocolonial urban growth in Maharastra in context of the special economic zones. It will lead us to the reality behind slum demolitions and the hidden hands of the Bombay under world, the builders mafia and the honorable members of the Indian big bourgeoisie.

Maharashtra has always been the favourite destination for investment, especially foreign investment in India. At one time the most Industrialised state in country, it still ranks among the top. However in terms of investment it is clearly, without any close rival, the top most state in India. For example, the amount of bank credit disbursed by public sector banks, in Maharashtra was over 3,71,000 crores in June 2006 (About 32% of the total National Figure). The next closest state was Delhi with less than half the investment in Maharashtra. The total amount in investment projects under execution, in September 2006, in Maharashtra was over Rs. 92,000 crores and the total of investment projects at the same time was around 2,53,000 crores, the highest in the country. In terms of foreign direct investment (FDI) The Economic Survey 2005-06 states "In terms of FDI approvals, however, Maharashtra topped the list followed by Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Gujarat. In some estimates Maharashtra accounts for almost one-third of the total foreign investment in India.

Fittingly, Maharashtra is also therefore, the state with the largest number of SEZS (both formally approved in principle) with 89 formally approved and another 32 SEZS approved in principle is more than twice the total area of those which have already been formally approved. This is because the in principle stage mainly applies to those large SEZS where the land has still to be acquired in total, all the SEZS planned till today will occupy around 60,000 hectares of land.

Since the new Economic Policies were adopted Maharashtra has seen fast urban growth. Maharashtra has the highest level of urbanization in India at 42% Compared to 25.7% percent as the all India average. In the context of Land question and Sezs writing about the urbanization experience in Maharashtra is important because this urbanization has not been in the normal organic fashion as in the advanced capitalist countries in the west. The urbanization of Maharashtra has been artificial engrafted urbanization. The people have been driven out of their land by the devastation of agriculture. It must be noted that while Maharashtra has the highest level of urbanization in India and has one of the highest per capita incomes in the country. It also has the lowest yield per hectare of food grains in the country at 872 kg/hectare as against 1667 kg / hectare as the national average. It is no coincidence that Maharashtra also has the highest level of peasant suides in the country. It may be argued that the same process of devastating agriculture to feed the cities has taken place in cities like London and Paris in the 17th and 18th centuries and the US during the Civil war However though the condition in urban Maharashtra may be as dismal and revolting as the Western Countries in the 17th and 18th centuries, this misery and poverty is painted not on the background of the London of that time but on the Canvas of today's Mumbai and Delhi where the rich have the latest Cars in the world and the costliest properties in the world.

This makes all the difference in the world. The very degree of massiveness' in the cities of today makes a qualitative difference from the cities of medieval times. Engrafted into this is the unthinkable advanced system of communication and transport. This brings people into more close and intimate contact with the rest of the world. All this makes the level of disparity that is produced and reproduced in cities like Mamba and Delhi, qualitatively different from that in medieval London or Paris.

The people thrown out of agriculture (both in Maharashtra and out side) have been forced to stay in hovels in over crowded and disease ridden slums in the cities. No new cities have been suburban satellites of Mega Polis's. Cities like "New Mumbai and Noida were originally planned as independent cities with their own industrial area. Commercial areas and transport systems. However, they have only developed as suburbs to larger and older cities like Mumbai or Delhi. This has not helped to solve the problems of the cities but only has accentuated them.

It is again no. coincidence that all most all the Sezs are being built only on the fringes of cities - like satellites all over again. A rough Study based upon the "in principle" approved Sez's in Maharashtra shows that around 67% of the land for Sezs's is within 100 km. Of Mumbai. If the cities of Pune and Nagpur are also considered, then a figure of 85% of land for Sezs is arrived at, and if Nashik and Aurangabad are also thrown then about 98% of the land for Sezs in within 100 km of these five cities. Thus there will be no real development. The rural areas will be further devastated. Farmers will commit more suicides larger slums with even more squalor will be created. There will be more crime, more communal riots, more atrocities against dalits and more attacks and exploitation of women as always happens in the condition of squalor.

However the Sezs are not the only instruments for grabbing the lands of the peasantry, millions of acres of land are taken by national and international big business for construction of Greenfield projects, private airports, tourist resorts , health tourism, smart cities, entertainment parks, building of private townships for the superrich including vast areas for golf courses and luxury hotels. To provide infrastructure for super profits of local and multinational big business the state is acquiring millions of acres of fertile land to build industrial zones, golden corridors, express ways including the much flaunted golden quadrangle express highway systems. This is the glaring phenomenon of contemporary global enclosure of forcible depeasantisation ruthlessly divesting the producers from their means of production, cultural moorings and commons.

Adding salt to the injury the neoliberal state is resorting to the most predatory inhuman primitive accumulation of forcing the farmers and adivasi's out of their land when the entire peasantry is reeling under acute agrarian crisis where more than 2 lakh farmers have committed suicide in the past decade under the neoliberal economic regime.

Another despicable instrument of forcibly uprooting adivasi's from their habitats and livelihoods is the New Mines Policy. The dangers of New Mining Policy has been brilliantly Analysed by friend Mansi Ashar in September October issue of Combat law 2007. (See mined games by Mansi Asher Combat law Volume 6 issues 5 2007)

The key reason being that several recommendation and clauses of the new national mine policy were not acceptable to mineral rich states and Mining Companies, especially steel makers with every party wanting to maintain their control over the rich mineral resources of the country. What has slipped the public eye is probably the very critical changes being proposed to ensure that investments in the mining sector gets a boost by deregulating procedures of environmental and forest clearances. These clearances have been seen as hurdles for quick implementation of mining projects in the past 10 years. It is interesting to note that the sector which was essentially dominated by the public sector companies has in the past decade become the money bags for companies ranging from domestic giants like Tata, Jindal and Birla to global companies like Mittal, Posco, Vedanta, BHP, Billiton Riotinto et al. Hence the stakes of the market are higher, and the new mineral policy is paving the way for second generation reform in the mining sector in India to protect and promote these stakes (Mansi Asher, Combat law).

It is needless to say that real estate and the construction boom is the motor force behind Indias high growth Indicators. Infact the whole country has been converted into a construction site. The real estate and mafia developer and other unscrupulous speculators make millions while the small and middle peasantry is pauperized. In this context the value of land should be critically examined. The entire valuation process is arbitrary and exploitative while the builders and developers buy cheap land sell the developed plots many times higher than the original market price of the said land. On the other hand the peasantry is paid a pittance for the land forcibly acquired through the draconian land acquisition act. In fact land is never valued in financial terms by Adivasi's and farmers for them agriculture is a way of life and they consider land as their mother. For adivasi's the commons, the forests, pastures and water resources are equally important as the tilled land and is sacred. In any Mega projects these are snatched away from them which is like taking the fish out of water.

Of late this notion of sacredness has become a powerful instrument of resistance by the adivasi's for protecting their habitats. In March this year thousands of adivasi's gathered in Niyamagiri hills in Lanjigarh Orissa to worship. They consider the Niyamagiri hills as sacred and this mass worship has become a powerful symbol of protest to save their habitats greedily eyed by the Vedanta Aluminium Company. In nearby Baphlimali hills in Kashipur a heroic struggle is ongoing on for past twelve years to save their habitats from Utkal Alumina at the time of writing this note a dharma is still go in on against Utkal Alumina by Prakrutik Sampad Suraksha Parishad at Kashipur in Rayagada district of Orissa.

It is important to note that the artisans, sharecroppers and landless labourers are the biggest loosers in any forcible land acquisition process they loose both their livelihoods and habitats and don't get any thing in return other than forced destitution and marginilasation . The entire peasantry is up in arms against their forcible eviction all over India for Sezs and other projects. The blood bath at Nandigram was a signal event of peasant resistance against forcible displacement, Fierce Struggles against Sezs and other projects are going on in Raigad Maharashtra against reliance Maha Mumbai Sez, against Posco in Jagatsingh Pur Orissa, Infact entire Orissa has become a battle field. Farmers are struggling against proposed Sezs in Kakinada in Andhra, Mangalore in Karnataka, Jhajjar in Haryana, against the proposed entertainment Sez in gorai near Mumbai and so on.

The land question, the fundamental failure of Independent India, has become one of most debatable and controversial topics today. Although the mass media and the dominant parliamentary political parties suppress any public mention of radical land reform, land to the tillers and the abolition of feudal remnants. The irrepressible reality raised the question in one or another form. Today land grabbing by the private corporate sector, both Indian and of foreign origins especially the MNCs of advanced capitalist countries, in the name of so called "development" and with the aid of government agencies and state machinery, has become a subject that can not be avoided. The reason at base is sixty years of failure to meet the legitimate demands of many crore landless peasants who depend on agricultural land for their subsistence but have no claims deemed fully worthy by the judiciary, still the firmest bastion of colonial mentality. With the introduction of the new economic policy since 1991 what has been a half century of localized injustice and repression became a qualitatively different phenomenon; the theft of land on a scale that could not be kept from public attention.

Thus the land question is the most important question in India today and the slogan "Land to the tiller the core political slogan today. The struggle for land is going on all over India.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

stop this slide into mediaval barbarism protest bjps black mail

Every day our rulers and media moghuls bombard us with the news of the arrival of India as new economic powerhouse contributing to the global march towards high modernity. But let us look at the flip side of our great sub-continent with tall claims of a civilization thousands of years of old and as the guru of the world. Two hapless middle level bureaucrats of Archeological Survey of India have been suspended for stating the obvious that Rama is mythological character, not a historical character. And no modern government, it doesn't matter what is the religious of its majority population, has to go by professional advice based on scientific and rational inquiry. All of us know the difference between myth and reality.

A nation boasting of having third highest numbers of scientists and technicians in the world and our pride of providing highest number of software engineers to the Silicon Valley can't be blackmailed by medieval religious bigots and especially the fascist Hindu Sangh Parivar to take the entire nation for a ride for its retrograde, regressive, obscurantist and fascist designs. This applies both to the Hindu and Muslim fundamentalists. Both Hindu and Muslim Talibanism are the two sides of the same coin. They are basically anti-women, anti-dalit and are poised to roll back all the democratic achievements after centuries of struggle, including the lofty ideals of the French Revolution and the big claims of the Indian Constitution.

Whatever happened since past few months shocks every rational, democratic mindset. Some religious leaders attacked Taslima Nasrin and later pass a fatwa to kill her. A group of mad Muslim clerics pass a fatwa that girls and boys cannot sit together in the same bench in the Kerala schools. Every month the newspapers report us a dalit woman is being paraded naked, jati panchayats punishing couples, no right thinking person can forget the Roshani incident two years ago. Eve teasing, bride burning and rapes are an every day experience of Indian women. So much to say for our great Indian civilization, much trumpeted by the Sangh Parivar.

We are yet to recoil from the gory days of NDA government's experimentation with education, saffronizing the text books and introducing stupid irrational subjects like Vedic Mathematics and astrology. What happened in the Rama Setu incident is quite medieval obscurantism. Even the NASA pictures and studies by the colonial government enshrined in the Gazetteers clearly say that the so-called Rama Setu is a natural coral reef. Any modern government should respect this fact. Thee sheer capitulation of Congress-led UPA government shows the dual character of the Congress party. We should not forget that it is the same Congress under Rajiv Gandhi's leadership passed the Muslim women's bill in the wake of the Shahbano controversy to appease the Muslim fundamentalists with the greedy eye on the Muslim vote bank. Thus sealing the fate of the democratic aspirations of Muslim women and their struggle for equal rights. They opened the Babri Masjid doors and provided an issue to BJP on a platter. Congress party's soft communalism gives BJP a bigger weapon to communalise the country and implement their fascist design.

We appeal to all the democratic and progressive organizations and individuals to demand the revocation of the two ASI officials and pressurise the government of India not to pamper to communal outfits and Hindu and Muslim clerics.

a breif comment on class nature of indian constitution

I think we should look at the concept oh human right in it's proper political historical and theoritical context the human rights discourse or the denial of human rights in India should be seen in the context of incomplete modernities or fractured modernity of the post colonial trajectory probably that is why many of the communist parties talk about democratic revolution in India the entire demands of the Human rights in india are nothing different from the declarations of the french revolution and american bill of rights adopted centuries ago afrticle 21 of Indian constitution doesn't make any sense as long as there are strong feudal remants in the country which makes a mockery of the french revolution the american bill of rights united nations charter and the Indian constitution therefore before we talk about human rights all the liberal democrats and socialist revolutionaries should join hands to wipe out feudal remanents that means giving a decisive fights to patriarchy and bramanical order then only India can be launched intro modernist trajectory otherwsie the whole discourse of human right does not make any sense it can be a good NGO career it is also high time we seriously look at the greatness of the indian constitution in any any class society its constitution will also be a class document the postcolonial capital accumelation was carried through the instrumentalities of the indian constitution despite the pretentious declaration of the directive priciples of state policies therefore under socialism the present discourse on human rights will lose all meanings because the entire present discourse on human rights is is centred around the capitalist nation states guarenteeing the rights of citizens without any way affecting the class power if we can separate class power from state power Ralph miliband explained years ago


Saturday, February 23, 2008

"Over Our Dead Bodies" A Report from the Barricades.

A brief note on the Anti POSCO struggle in Orissa

The crisis of capitalism and the collapse of the Brettonwood system:

The coming in of Neo-Liberal Economics in the form of "globalization", read imperialism, has led to the intensification of imperialist intervention solely because of capital's ruthless drive for accumulation and profit maximization. This incessant drive is forcing developed capitalist countries in an ever increasing search for cheap labour, cheap resources and captive markets. Ever since the collapse of the Soviet bloc and the counter revolutionary reforms in China, the space allowing imperialist interventions with impunity has increased manifold. In the recent past the globe has witnessed numerous violent and insidious so called "non violent" interventions across the globe, i.e Nicaragua, Granada, Panama, Tahiti, Afghanistan, Argentina, several countries of Africa. The most striking example of early 21st century accumulation through direct occupation and even genocide as is happening in Iraq. These interventions have upset regional and national economies, disposed millions and created areas of unrest and strife; the pauperisation of Latin America, hunger famine and ethnic strife in Africa and the establishment of compradors, outright World Bank puppets, dictatorships/client regimes and military juntas such as in India, Pakistan, Saudia Arabia, Kuwait, Philippines, South Korea, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

Interventions from imperialist agencies such as the World Bank, IMF, WTO, The ADB and NGO's and donor agencies etc. have so far been effective in imposing a structural shift within the third world economies. This shift from a relative notion of self reliance through "import substitution" industrialisation, food self sufficiency towards dismantling their welfare structures and imposing an outright commodified imperialist culture heavily dependant on the privatization of services and the commodification of natural resources has only resulted in further marginalisation of the people and increasing inequalities.

In the context of India, these imperialist interventions are being implemented by the comprador elite which has taken on the task to facilitate the easy entry of capital. The task for capitalist intervention has been through these compradors who divert the people attention from issues confronting their immediate life and necessities through strengthening feudal oppression and captivating the middle classes within an illusionary web of crass consumerism and cash nexus. Because of this ruling comprador class, imperialist capital has at its disposal an unprecedented quantity of cheap mineral resources, land, labour, youth and government funds. In India we can see the rapid increase in the private service sector, where a huge number of our youth are being lured into working as semi-slaves in late night call centers and BPO's, thousands of which sprung up overnight only because of rising labour costs in core capitalist countries.

With developed nations facing rapidly depleting resources, rising unemployment, high costs of unsustainable consumerism and falling productivity their ruling classes are compelled to intensify their economic, cultural, political and armed interventions in developing nations. This form of brutal primitive accumulation has also given an impetus to several centers of resistance across developing nations. In India we can see an intensification of the struggles of the peasantry against forced displacement taking place across the length and breadth of India, especially in those resource rich regions where the levels of neo colonial extraction are high and brutal. A case in point would be the states of Jharkhand, Chattisgarh and Orissa.

Taking the particular case of Orissa we can see that since the colonial period there have been a huge number of imperialist interventions and parallel struggles being waged by the peasantry on the issue of displacement from forests and farm lands. Orissa is the continuous target for loot by the imperialist powers, finding within an amicable ally in the comprador ruling class puppet such as Naveen Patnaik. Nevertheless, there have been several heroic tribal uprisings against the earlier colonial plunder by martyrs such as Laxman Nayak in the early 20th century and in the recent years we can see the emergence of several struggles in Kashipur, Hirakud, Kalinganagar, Lanjigarh and Jagatsingpur (Anti POSCO). It is in Kalinganagar where resistance by the adivasi peasantry changed the very contours of resistance across India. The Kalinganagar struggle marks a break with the earlier existing forms of Gandhian/Sarvodaya and other liberal forms of protest as organized by various NGO's etc which looked at anti displacement resistance within the structures of official grievance redressal mechanisms of the Indian state which ironically was the primary agent for this imperialist loot. Even while co-opting and diffusing people's anger, these interventions were found inadequate when faced with the wrath and greed of rapacious capital and the armed might of the comprador state. On the contrary, the mass militant resistance at Kalinganagar, for the first time refused to negotiate and engage with the state on its assumed legalistic terms of dialogue which also restricted and set the terms for protest within the ambit and ideology of the ruling classes on how it perceives and allows dissent. The activists of the Kalinganagar Vistaphan Birodhi Janmanch took a stance of no rehabilitation no compensation and no forced displacement from their lands which have now become an immense source of inspiration for other anti displacement movements across India.

The anti POSCO people's resistance has been going on in parts of Jagatsinghpur district of Orissa against the steel plant and captive port proposed in the area. This struggle has been on since July 2005, a month after the Memorandum of Understanding regarding the project was signed between the Government of Orissa and Pohang Steel Company Limited (POSCO). In many ways the anti POSCO struggle is a logical outcome of the mass peasant resistance at Kalinganagar.

The Economy of the region

There is need to counter the misinformation being disseminated by the ruling classes regarding the economy of the region. According to the government the people of this area are very poor and only subsist as marginal farmers. Nothing can be further from the truth. According to a fact finding team's survey done in the area[1];

• The local economy is a thriving, labour-intensive one, based on agriculture and fishing. The economy is also sustained, apart from staple crops such as paddy, coconut etc., on cash crops such as betel, cashew, supari and kewra. Fishing and pisiculture are also prominent sources of livelihood. Most of these sources provide income and employment throughout the year.

• The uniqueness of the betel vine cultivation economy, due to the typicality of the geographical and topographical features like soil, was highlighted repeatedly by everybody the Team interviewed. It is a thriving, highly labour intensive activity which provides income throughout the year, supporting and providing work to a wide age group of people—from the young to the old—who are engaged in various productive tasks related to cultivation, plucking, transport and marketing of betel leaves. The locals are certain that they will not be able to get most of these jobs at the POSCO factory because they do not have the requisite skills. Even if they do manage to get a few of these jobs, they emphasize, the steel project and port will not be able to provide with the kind of secure livelihood they currently enjoy.

• The Jatadhari river, estuary and the forest resource base play a very important role in supporting the cultivation, fishing as well as household needs like fuel wood etc. In the late 1960s, Loknath Chaudhury, a local leader and former CPI(MP), led a struggle for transfer of much of the common land in the area, some of which was already under betel vine, from the revenue records to the Forest Department so that afforestation initiatives could be carried out to provide a natural barrier for protection of villages from impacts of cyclone and to provide for the basic needs of firewood and stalk for betel vine cultivation. Finally the land was transferred to the category of gramya jungle or community forests.


Similarly, concerning the MOU, both the Centre and the Orissa state government have been extremely secretive about the terms and conditions. The above mentioned fact finding team also investigated and found startling facts about the deal.

ON June 22, 2005 the State of Orissa signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the South Korean Steel giant—Pohang Steel Company Limited, also known as POSCO. Touted as India's largest Foreign Direct Investment (worth Rs 52,000 crores) the project involves building of a 12 Million Tonnes Per Annum (MTPA) integrated steel plant and a captive port in the Ersama Block of Jagatsinghpur district, Orissa.

As per the MoU, based on the needs of the "Steel Project", the Company will also develop and operate the following infrastructure: [2]

Mining facilities in the areas allocated by Government of Orissa/Government of India:

i). To help POSCO produce steel, the Orissa government has promised recommend to the Union government to hand over captive coal mines to POSCO until it is ready for mining of its coal block.

ii). To make steel POSCO needs 600 million tonnes of ore from the government of Orissa. Iron Ore is available at Rs. 2000 to Rs. 2600 per ton. Discounting extraction costs at Rs 400 per ton, the state government is subsidizing POSCO at Rs. 96000 crore per year in only the use of iron ore. And this does not include the amount it may take away. The MoU is set up to allow extraction for 30 years with extension possible for 20 years. In addition, unspecified amounts of chromium and manganese will also be provided to POSCO. Dolomite and limestone will also be made available at subsidized rates.

Communications and Transport: Road, rail and port infrastructure will be provided with government help, including the dedicated railway line from the mine-belt to Paradeep. POSCO will also construct its own port at Paradeep. The government will also construct, a railway line from Haridaspur-Paradeep and Bansapanl-Paradeep for export of POSCO company's iron ore.

Integrated township: The state government will provide about 6500 acres of land for the plant site in Paradeep. There is no statement regarding the price that POSCO will pay for this land. In addition, the state government has agreed to provide about 20-25 acres of land in Bhubaneswar and hand it over to POSCO for its office. At what price the company will take this land has not been mentioned.

Water supply infrastructure: According to the MoU, the Government of Orissa is to permit withdrawal and use of water (near- about 12 thousand to 15 thousand crore liters) from the Mahanadi barrage at Jobra and Naraj in Cuttack for construction and operation of the "Overall Project". Concerns have been repeatedly raised over the past two years by citizens of the area and technical experts that this would severely impact the drinking and agricultural water supply of Cuttack and neighbouring four districts. The MoU also promises water to POSCO from the Mahanadi from Jobra barrage. For free. The MoU is silent about the quantity of water to be provided.

Revenue: In order to increase profits for POSCO, the government of India has given Special Economic Zone (SEZ) to POSCO. The company will not have to follow various trade, labour and economic regulations. None can compel POSCO to even pay tax in view of liberalised regime prevalent in SEZs. As per current understanding, in 30 years time, the government of Orissa will get Rs 22,500 crore and the central government Rs 89,000 crore i.e. a total of Rs 1,11,500 crore in the form of tax revenue. This works out to Rs 3,700 crore income per annum. This is less than the amount Orissa is paying POSCO in subsidies only for Iron Ores.

Administrative support: In addition, senior IAS officers of the state will be put at the service of POSCO for implementation and coordination. It is mentioned in the conditionality also that if POSCO wants, it can accept foreign and indigenous private players as partners, whenever it finds necessary. The local administration is acting in close collaboration with the Ersama MLA Damodar Rout, (General Secretary BJD). Adept at mobilising Goondas, Damodar Raut, with POSCO officials, the district collector, have been gathering their forces, all of this is monitored by Priyabrata Pattnaik, a notorious IAS officer whose action of applying for mining contract for the officers' club named 'Bhubaneswar Club' was recently exposed. Incidentally Priyabrata Pattnaik is also the Govt. nodal officer for the POSCO. Even the present Collector, Mr. Pramod Kumar Meherda has a history of repression against people's democratic protest, while collector in Rayagada district, he unleashed a reign of repression to silence the Kashipur Movement, against the proposed Utkal Alumina bauxite mining and Alumina plant of the Birlas.

The Struggle:

The modus of the intervention by the Indian state to forcibly evict large mass of the peasantry from their farmlands and forests has also undergone a radical change in the last year. In Nandigram the state first used its armed forces to try and defeat the democratic resistance of the people, failing which, the ruling party sent its armed cadres to brutally suppress the dissent. On Nov 29th 2007 it was the BJD in Jagatsingpur which made the use of goons to terrorize those involved in the anti POSCO struggle. This is an alarming trend seen across India, the Congress and NCP in Maharastra has allowed Reliance to use its goons in intimidating the anti SEZ movement in Raigarh, the BJP has been using the Bajrang Dal to forcibly acquire land for SEZs in Gujarat, the BJP has repeated this using the land mafia to forcibly acquire land for an SEZ near Indore, in Kerala the CPI(M) once again used its armed cadres to evict adivasis in Wynad, the BJP and Janta Dal(S) used goons to evict people from Bangalore and other SEZ's spread across the state and the list is endless. What marks the danger of this current mode of forced displacement by the state is its increase dependence on using extra constitutional means and the hiring of goons and lumpen elements to suppress the democratic struggles and voices of the people.

In POSCO the stakes are very high, not only for the resistance being organized under the banner of POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti, but also for the political and business interests. POSCO is a project which's cost is estimated to about Rs.52,000 crores; flush with money, the POSCO management in open connivance of the ruling class elite is desperate to please their imperialist masters, while the corrupt bureaucracy jump like hungry dogs at even the small crumbs POSCO throws at them.

After the goons of BJD and POSCO drove the agitators from Balitutha in the evening of 29th November 2007, within a period of one hour the police entered Nuagaon village, erected road blockade at Balitutha and establishing a camp at the same site where the protesters were sitting for the last 2 months, barricaded the road and the police establishing check point near Trilochanpur, with two platoons staying in a camp in the Trilochanpur school. The goons with complete support of the armed forces attacked in a strength of about 1500, heavily armed, with bombs, guns, bows and arrows and other weapons. After throwing a bomb at the protestors gathering and burning their tent, the goons mercilessly beat the anti POSCO protestors, especially targeting the aged and women.

The BJD goons were ruthless; Mrs. Ghura Das of Dhinkia a lady of about 65 had her broken by beating her with an iron rod; Mrs. Tulsi Das about 60 years old also had her hand broken by a severe beating; Mrs. Kunilata Swain, 32 years old was grievously injured on her forehead; Mr. Dwijo Dash, about 60 years old and Mr. Parikshit Maiti also about 60 were ruthless beaten and hands fractured. There is a huge list of others injured and beaten black and blue by the lumpen brigade of the BJD and POPSCO and none of the injured have been provided any medical assistance by the state till now, on the other hand the injured have to secretly smuggle themselves out of Dinkia and get medical assistance at Paradeep or Cuttack. Through this entire sordid episode the police were shameless partisans and they watched while old women and men were being beaten ruthlessly.

In a classic revelation of the true nature of the criminal justice system of India, those who were beaten have had further additions to their already absurdly long list of criminal cases filed against them. Several of the anti POSCO leaders and sympathizers have more than 200 criminal cases lodged against them, they cannot leave the area on fear of immediate arrests under ranging from attempt to murder, rape, criminal trespass, dacoity, arson etc. Not one goon has had a single case registered against them. This exposes the farce called the Indian Justice System and the truth behind the much touted "Largest Democracy in the World". This is the truth behind empty slogans such as "India Shining" "Land of Ahimsa" "Land of Mahavira and Buddha" "Father of the nation and non violent Gandhi" all this lies completely exposed while the class nature of the Indian state and its comprador rulers leave no stone unturned in serving their imperialist masters. But why to blame a boot licking dog such as Naveen Patnaik, when his true master, our revered soft spoken P.M., Manmohan Singh can shamelessly declare in Oxford that "India has greatly benefited from Colonial rule…" and in Washington he opens his address to Congress with the words, "I have come to sell India.."

Situation in Dhinkia Gram Panchayat:

Despite the reverses suffered, the morale of the villagers is very high and they are willing to face the police at any moment. The people expect that the first occasion for a decisive fight may come in the shape of entry of survey team along with Goons and Police. Their steely resolve was echoed in words from all age groups, "POSCO can be built only over our dead bodies". They are keeping night vigil on the boundary of the village and are preparing themselves to face the ensuing Nandigram style combined assault by the Armed Goons and Police. About 13 platoons of the police have been deployed all around Dhinkia with the notion of "maintaining peace and order", in reality they have laid siege to Dhinkia panchayat and its villages. Despite this ordeal and isolation, the people of Dhinkia putting behind all personal hardships are ready for a decisive fight. Grocery shops are not functioning properly for the lack of materials, as merchants supplying goods are facing hardships from the Goons and the police. Many injured are suffering without treatment.

Despite such fascist repressive measures the PPSS have been organizing meetings in Gobindpur and Nawagaon. In the last month some positive developments have taken place; the refusal of the Orissa government to compensate any affected families farming on so called government land has forced the pro POSCO agitators to take a harsh look at their anti people stance and to come to terms with the fact that their real interest lie with the PPSS and not with corrupt middle men and contractors such as Damodar Raut.

After the ruthless occupation of Iraq and the down trend and slowdown in the world economy the intensification of loot by developed nations is bound to get even sharper. The only realistic and practical solution to this onslaught can be through mass resistance movements such as Kalinganagar and the anti-POSCO resistance. The point to be noted is that these movements are inspiring in showing the resolve of the militant peasantry, hence they are the important sites of resistance against imperialism and the comprador elite in the third world. Therefore it is imperative for the democratic and progressive forces to firmly rally behind these struggles and provide them their unflinching support.


This Memorandum of Understanding is made on the Wednesday day of June 22, 2005, between the Governor of Orissa on the one part and M/s POSCO on the other part.

1. M/s POSCO having its registered office at 1 Koidong-Dong, Nam-Ku, Pohang-City, Kyungsanbuk Province, Republic of Korea, (hereinafter referred to as POSCO, which expression shall, unless repugnant to the context or meaning thereof, include its successors, executors, administrators, representatives and permitted assignees), is proposing to set up an Integrated Steel Plant of a total capacity of 12 million tonnes per annum in the State of Orissa at Paradeep, in Jagatsinghpur district.

2. The Government of Orissa, desirous of utilizing its natural resources and rapidly industrializing the State, so as to bring prosperity and wellbeing to its people, has been making determined efforts to establish new industries in different locations. In this context, the Government of Orissa have been seeking to identify suitable promoters to establish new Integrated Steel Plants in view of the rich iron ore and coal deposits in the State.

3. POSCO will establish an Indian company (hereinafter referred to as the "Company") through their relevant subsidiaries, related companies or third parties nominated by POSCO to invest in the State of Orissa in :

(A) steel manufacturing;

(B) infrastructure necessary for the Integrated Steel Plant and related Projects; and

(C) related mining of iron ore and other ores.

4. (1)The Company is desirous of developing and operating the following facilities on the basis described in this MoU in the State of Orissa with proposed investment of around US$ 12 billion or Rs.51,000 crores (approximately). The details of the facilities are given in the table below :




Capacity in MTPA

Project Details

Project cost in Rs. Crore (Approx.)

Time Schedule

Finished products

Steel Plant with FINEX / BF, along with other facilities like Lime Calcining Plant, Oxygen Plant, Captive Power Plant, Steel Melt Shop with Converters, Casters, Rolling Mills etc. (collectively, the "Steel Project") & Minor Port


6 (in two modules of 3 MT each)

1st Module

Crude Steel

- 3 MTPA

Finished Steel -2.82MTPA


To be commissioned by July 2010 or 36 months from the date of (i) taking title to and possession of land. (ii) registration of the executed prospecting licence,

whichever is later



2nd Module

Crude steel – 3MTPA

Finished Steel -2.82MTPA


To be commissioned by July 2012 or 24 months from Commissioning of Phase - I, Module – I,

whichever is later

Hot rolled Coil (4.5MT),





6 (in two modules of 3 MT each)

1st Module

Crude Steel


Finished Steel -2.82MTPA


To be commissioned by July 2014 or 24 months from commissioning of Phase - I, Module – 2,

whichever is later



2nd Module

Crude steel – 3MTPA

Finished Steel -2.82MTPA


To be commissioned by July 2016 or 24 months from commissioning of Phase - 2,

Module - 1.

Hot Rolled Coil (4.5MT),

Plate, Cold rolled coil

(1.5MT) etc.**

Note: Detailed time schedule for the commissioning of each phase

will be determined pursuant to Clause 18.

* Cumulative of Phase-1;

** Cumulative of Phase-2.

(2) The Company is also desirous of developing and operating the following related infrastructure based on the needs of the "Steel Project", on the basis described in this MoU :

i. mining facilities in the areas allocated by Government of Orissa/Government of India (the "Mining Project");

ii. road, rail and port infrastructure (the "Transportation Project"), including the dedicated railway line from the mine-belt to Paradeep;

iii. integrated township; and

iv. water supply infrastructure (the "Water Project").

(3) The Steel Project will be located at Paradeep. The Mining Project will be established at the mining site(s) that are identified as the mineral resources for the Company.

(4) To achieve the foregoing purposes, the Government of Orissa and the Company agree to be "Partners in Development" and have, therefore, come together to record their intentions through this MoU.

5. LAND :

(i) The Company will establish their registered office and national headquarters in the State of Orissa, in the city of Bhubaneswar. The Government of Orissa will identify, acquire and transfer a suitable tract of land between 20 and 25 acres for this purpose, in accordance with the specifications provided by the Company.

(ii) The Company will require approximately 4,000 acres of land (hereinafter referred to as the "Land") for the purpose of setting up the Steel Project and associated facilities, including the port facilities and a storage yard for coking coal.

(iii) In addition, the Company will require approximately 2,000 acres of land for township development, recreational activities and all related social infrastructure development (collectively, the "Integrated Township Development"). Out of this, approximately 1,500 acres would be identified adjacent/near to the Steel project and another 500 acres (approx.) near the Mining Project.

State Government will facilitate all clearances and approvals of the Central Government, if required.

(iv) In addition to the land required for the core activities of the Overall Project, the Company may require additional land pockets for development of the "transportation project", the "water project" and any other project-related infrastructure facilities.

(v) The Government of Orissa agrees to acquire and transfer all the above-mentioned land required for the Overall Project, free from all encumbrances through Orissa Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (IDCO) on payment of the cost of land.

(vi) The Company shall pay to the relevant authority (ies) the cost of such land. For private land, the Company shall pay the cost as determined under the provisions of the Land Acquisition Act and incidental charges as mutually agreed upon. For Government land, the Company shall pay as per the rates determined by the prevailing Industrial Policy Resolution on this date. For forest land, the Company shall pay the rates determined under the applicable Rules.

(vii) On its part, the Government of Orissa will expeditiously and within a reasonable time frame, hand over to the Company non-forest Government land for which the Company has completed all formalities. Acquisition of private land will be taken up on priority.

(viii) For rehabilitation of displaced families, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Package would be implemented as per prevailing guidelines and practices.


(i) Coal : The State Government agrees to recommend to the Government of India for allotment of suitable coal blocks for captive coal mining for the project either directly or through a PSU. Further, the State Government will assist the Company to get the allocation of coal linkage of suitable grade in the desired quantity to meet its requirement until it is ready for mining of its coal block.

(ii) Iron Ore : The Company will need the equivalent of 600 million tonnes of iron ore of an average Fe content of 62%, to meet the requirements of the proposed Steel Project of 12 million tonnes per annum. The Company may swap certain quantities (not exceeding 30% of the total requirement for the Paradeep Plant annually) of such iron ore which have high alumina content with equal quantity of low alumina content iron ore of equivalent or better Fe content imported for blending, in order to produce better quality steel in the Paradeep Project and conserve energy . Any export of iron ore by way of swap will be allowed only after an equivalent quantity of ore has been imported for the plant. The extent of the above quantity of iron ore by way of replacement for equal quantity of import of higher grade iron ore, will be within the framework of the Export-Import Policy of the Government of India applicable from time to time. It is clarified that no export of iron ore will be allowed from the captive mine except by way of full replacement through import of equal quantity of high grade ore and within the limits mentioned above.

(iii) The Government of Orissa agrees to grant prospecting licenses and captive mining leases for 600 million tonnes of iron ore to the Company after following prescribed procedures and completion of required milestones including approvals of Government of India. For this purpose, the Government of Orissa shall recommend to the Central Government and use its best efforts to obtain the Central Government's approval within the minimum possible time for the grant of prospecting licenses and the captive mining leases for the iron ore mines.

(iv) The Government of Orissa will recommend grant of the Prospecting Licences only after the following milestones have been achieved :

a) Formation of the Indian Company referred to in Clause - 3 has been done;

b) Feasibility study has been started and a Detailed Project Report has been commissioned ( July - November, 05);

c) Additional Soil test and site survey has been started ;

d) Preparation of Port Development Plan has been commissioned (July,05 – January,06);

e) Preparation of Industrial Water Development Plan has been commissioned (July, 05 – January,06);

f) Preparation of Township Master Plan has been commissioned (August,05 – March 06);

g) Preparation of Environment Impact Assessment Study has been commissioned (July,05 – January,06);

h) Requisition has been submitted to the Orissa Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (IDCO) for acquisition of land for the steel plant as well as the port;

i) The Indian Company is provided with paid up equity to the tune of at least US$ 50 million to enable it to undertake all the preparatory work required for setting up the plant.

(v) The Government of Orissa will recommend such areas as are free from litigation as well as encumbrances. In the event of litigation at any stage, Government of Orissa will diligently defend their recommendations made in favour of the Company in the appropriate judicial, quasi judicial fora.

(vi) Prior to recommending the case of the Company for Mining Lease, the State Government will ensure that the following milestones have been achieved :

a) The Company has submitted the Detailed Project Report;

b) The Company has submitted the Port Development Plan ;

c) The Company has submitted the Industrial Water Development Plan ;

d) The Company has submitted the Township Master Plan ;

e) The Company has ensured that application for Environment Impact Assessment Study has been submitted to the Government of India ;

f) The Company has filed necessary requisition for land for different components of the project with IDCO and has deposited necessary funds;

g) The Company has submitted the rehabilitation and re-settlement package for the oustees to the competent authority and received the approval of Government of Orissa;

h) The Company has submitted the proposal with requisite details for diversion of forest land which the Government of Orissa will recommend to the Government of India;

i) The Company has applied for Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearance.

(vi) The Indian Company is provided with paid up equity to the tune of at least US$ 200 million to enable it to undertake adequate investment connected with the setting up of the plant.

(vii) Recommendation for the mining lease will be made in two phases, commensurate with the first two modules and the last two modules of 3 million tonnes each. The recommendation will, however, be subject to suitable adjustment of mining blocks. State Government will take a decision pertaining to the first phase after the following milestones have been achieved for the first phase of 6 million tonnes :

a) Award of 50% of orders for civil and structural contracts in terms of value.

b) Placement of 20% of firm orders for machinery in terms of value.

(viii) State Government will make recommendation pertaining to the second phase after :

a) Commissioning of the first module of 3 million tonnes of the first phase has been achieved ;

b) Award of 50% of orders for civil and structural contracts in terms of value for the second phase of 6 million tonnes ;

c) Placement of 20% of firm orders for machinery in terms of value for the second phase of 6 million tonnes.

(ix) The State Government agrees to assist the Company in making a firm arrangement with the Orissa Mining Corporation (OMC) along with other private iron ore lessees in the State, to meet a substantial portion of the requirement of iron ore of suitable grade for initial period of steel making under mutually agreeable terms and conditions, if required by the Company.

(x) All iron ore Mining Leases and Prospecting Licenses shall be clean and free of any encumbrances.

(xi) Before the grant of mining lease, the Company would submit a detailed progress report of all components of the project with reference to the agreed implementation schedule (referred to Clause 18 (ii) hereinafter). The mining lease would be granted subject to the satisfaction of the Government of Orissa that adequate progress has been achieved in all critical parameters.

(xii) The iron ore mining leases shall be granted to the Company initially for a period of 30 years and will be considered for renewal on an application by the Company before expiry, for another 20 years.

(xiii) The Government of Orissa will assist the Company in obtaining all clearances, including forest and environment clearance and approval of the State Pollution Control Board, and the Ministry of Environment and Forest, Government of India under Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 and Environmental (Protection) Act, 1986 for opening up the iron ore mines, laying roads, constructing township etc.

(xiv) The Government of Orissa agrees to provide all possible assistance to the Company for acquiring mineral concession for limestone and dolomite within the ambit of the MMDR Act and MC Rules.

(xv) Govt. of Orissa will make best efforts and provide all possible assistance to POSCO for expeditious clearance of applications relating to mining lease and related matters such as forest, environment etc. so as to enable POSCO to start its mining operations in time to synchronize with the commissioning of its steel plant.

POSCO have requested to source an additional 400 MT of Iron ore from India for their existing steel plants in South Korea. This can be done through a long–term commercial supply arrangement from the open market. Any such trading arrangement shall fall entirely within the domain of the Government of India and will be regulated by the prevailing Export – Import Policy of the Country. No mine-able reserves can be provided by Government of Orissa purely for the purpose of direct exports beyond what has been indicated for value addition in the steel plant of the Company in Orissa in the preceding paragraphs. However, Government of Orissa will assist POSCO in establishing suitable contacts and interfaces with Government of India for this purpose.

(xvi) Chrome Ore : State Government will facilitate suitable long term arrangement with OMC and other lessees for supply of chrome ore to meet the requirement of the plant.

(xvii) Manganese Ore : The State Government would consider assigning appropriate priority to an application of the Company for mineral concession for manganese ore in the State as and when available within the ambit of MMDR Act and MC Rules.

7. WATER :

(i) The Government of Orissa will permit drawal and use of water from the Mahanadi barrage at Jobra in Cuttack or any other suitable source for construction and operation of the Overall Project as per the prevailing rates and appropriate terms and approval of the Water Allocation Committee, subject to availability.

(ii) The Company shall prepare and inform the Government of Orissa within a short period of time, the water requirement for each phase and the total water requirement for each component. The Government of Orissa will facilitate meeting these water requirements.

(iii) The Government of Orissa will permit implementation of a suitable water supply scheme prepared jointly by the Company and the Department of Water Resources, Government of Orissa. The Government of Orissa will allow the Company to operate and maintain necessary infrastructure including creation of water bodies, laying of pipelines etc. to pump required quantity of water for the development and operation of the Project.

(iv) The Government of Orissa will facilitate the process of obtaining various approvals expeditiously for the Company.


(i) The Government of Orissa shall assist the Company to provide adequate drainage and sewerage off-take facilities for each component project during both the construction and operation stages prior to commencement of construction after following all prescribed procedures and obtaining required approvals.

(ii) The Government of Orissa shall facilitate grant of all necessary approvals for provision of such facilities and the discharge of drainage and sewerage into such facilities.

9. POWER :

(i) The Government of Orissa have agreed to ensure that about 25 MW of power is made available to the Company to meet the construction power requirements of the steel plant, port, township and also the mining project. During the operation phase, the Government of Orissa will make best efforts to meet the power requirement of all components of the project including each of its components.