Anarcho-environmentalism allegorised

The name Anaarkali in the present context has many meanings - Anaar symbolises the anarchism of the Bhils and kali which means flower bud in Hindi stands for their traditional environmentalism. Anaar in Hindi can also mean the fruit pomegranate which is said to be a panacea for many ills as in the Hindi idiom - "Ek anar sou bimar - One pomegranate for a hundred ill people"! - which describes a situation in which there is only one remedy available for giving to a hundred ill people and so the problem is who to give it to. Thus this name indicates that anarcho-environmentalism is the only cure for the many diseases of modern development! Similarly kali can also imply a budding anarcho-environmentalist movement. Finally according to a legend that is considered to be apocryphal by historians Anarkali was the lover of Prince Salim who was later to become the Mughal emperor Jehangir. Emperor Akbar did not approve of this romance of his son and ordered Anarkali to be bricked in alive into a wall in Lahore in Pakistan but she escaped. Allegorically this means that anarcho-environmentalists can succeed in bringing about the escape of humankind from the self-destructive love of modern development that it is enamoured of at the moment and they will do this by simultaneously supporting women's struggles for their rights.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

More Opposition to Land Acquisition

The mass opposition to land acquisition has now become a standard phenomenon. Here is another story of people opposing the acquisition of their land for setting up a coal mine. What is interesting is that this coal mine is sought to be set up by a subsidiary of the media group Dainik Bhaskar which is setting up a power plant and needs coal for it.

Villagers refuse to give land for coal mining
Ejaz Kaiser, Hindustan Times
Dharamjaigarh, February 28, 2011
Hundreds of young and old thronged the venue of public hearing meeting to express their strong opposition to a coal mine proposed by DB Power Limited even as they questioned the authenticity of environment impact assessment (EIA) draft report. The villagers asked the officials of DB Power Limited to allow them to live peacefully, “We are peace loving people but are made to fight against the injustice now. We will not allow our environment to get polluted and never give away our land”. The company is owned by the Dainik Bhaskar group.
The mandatory public hearing was conducted by authorities to seek the consent of the villagers in the region on environment clearance to mine about 91 million tonnes coal reserves of the area. Sariya coal block in Raigarh district is allotted to DB Power Limited for its captive mining to supply coal to their proposed 1320 MW Thermal Power Plant at Dhabra in Janjgir-Champa district.
The reserves spread out across 1700 acre covering six villages of Taraimar, Bayasi, Medarmar, Dharamjaigarh, Dharam colony and Bayasi colony of Raigarh situated about 330 km east of Raipur. If clearance granted, the company plans to mine two million tonnes of coal per annum.
The villagers objected finding several facts about the area were ‘deliberately’ excluded from the EIA report to seek clearance. “Many villagers don’t understand the content of the EIA draft as it is in English”, grumbled Indu Tethwani, a local community leader.
“We can happily live with elephants, bears and other wild animals found in Dharamjaigarh but not with DB Power company”, thundered Sunita Tirkey, in her sixties.
“Now we are being terrorised by the company. They are behaving like British rulers”, Adhir Majhi, residing in Bengali settlers Bayasi colony. Another elderly woman Bindu Bhoi asked, “Why only the poor
forced to get displaced?”
While registering their protest the villagers raised their concerns on pollution, displacement, compensation, employment and even survival once the company begins mining activity in the region.
Fearing strong protest, high security arrangements were made at the venue where the hearing was conducted and video-recorded. “We have deployed around 400 police personnel”, Raigarh superintendent of police Rahul Sharma told Hindustan Times. Anti-DB slogans by the villagers against the company heard throughout while the hearing was underway.
On couple of occasions, the villagers chased away and assaulted persons near the public hearing ground, alleging them to be men hired by DB Power Ltd to support the company. These men were seen circulating ‘consent papers’ seeking the villagers’ favour for the company.
The local administration organises public consultations to ascertain the concerns of people affected by large projects, as per the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) notification 2006.

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