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Meet focus on land conflicts

Development is integral to progress. But can conflicts it gives rise to be avoided?

The question cropped up during the two-day seminar on development and locational conflict that kicked off at the auditorium of Nirmala College in Ranchi on Sunday.

The meet was held on the occasion of the 15th annual conference of Association of Geographers Bihar and Jharkhand and was a debut for the capital.

Ranchi University vice chancellor L.N. Bhagat graced the occasion as the chief guest. As many as 150 delegates from both the states and from different disciplines are attending the meet.

The seminar hosted a mine of talent who offered their precious ideas on Day One.

“If research work is action-oriented, then policy-makers can implement them in the development process,” said Bhagat.

Convener of the meet Debjani Roy also pointed out some home truths. “Limited resources and unlimited needs, multiplied by rapid population growth have formed the premise for locational conflicts,” she said.

Kamla Prasad of VBU University, Hazaribagh, and Tikait Manjhee of KSGM College in Nirsa, Dhanbad, drew attention on how developmental process had changed the economy and cultural landscape of Jharkhand and also how displacement of people and their proper rehabilitation always remained on the dark side of the process.

Researcher Goretti Mariam Ekka and RU associate professor Jayashree Shahdeo jointly presented a paper on how acquisition of land and vertical growth of the city over the past decade had caused conflicts in Ranchi and squeezed agriculture land.

The dark underbelly of the state was further laid bare by VBU professor Janardan Bhagat who discussed how likelihood problems plague the growth of primitive tribes like Birhors who are mainly forest dwellers.

Senior associate professor of Nirmala College, Ranchi, Rashmimala Sahu focussed on development strategies versus rights of indigenous people with special reference to Odisha’s Niyamgiri Hills.

The seminar also offered an interesting twist by delving on locational conflicts as depicted in literature.

Janet Andrew Shah, an English mentor of Ranchi’s Nirmala College, attempted to unfold that pursuit of excess wealth did not lead to the goal of prosperity or happiness with reference to Oliver Goldsmith’s poem The Deserted Village.

Speaking on the same lines was Afrinul Haque Khan, who also teaches English at capital’s Nirmala College, discussed about migrants and their survival strategies as depicted in V.S. Naipaul’s The Mystic Masseur.

Swati Parashar, a lecturer at Monash University in Australia and who originally hails from Ranchi, brought feminism to the limelight.

“In our society, particularly in rural areas, the voice of women is inaudible and their empowerment is also a myth. But it should be kept in mind that they are a part of the society and the impact of development and conflict on them is equally,” pointed out Parashar

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