A group of people from various walks of life came together to form Jharkhand Nagrik Prayas (JNP) and held its maiden anti-corruption meeting at XISS in Ranchi on Sunday.
The organisation discussed its future course of action with special focus on improving governance, promoting gram sabhas, developing and protecting tribal culture and languages, and creating employment opportunities for local people.
Describing JNP as a “group of concerned civil society citizens of the state”, P.P. Verma, a social activist and one of the founding members, said people should actively intervene in the affairs of the state.
“When Jharkhand was formed, it was expected that the new state would promote unity among diversity and preserve tribal culture and identity. The state was carved out of unified Bihar to generate job for indigenous people through proper utilisation of minerals and other natural resources. But the citizens have been rendered disillusioned,” Verma said.
He added that even 14 years after its formation, the state was suffering from rampant corruption and apathetic leadership. “Only a few people have got wealth and comfort, while a large majority do not have access to basic facilities like water, power, roads and education,” he argued.
Speaking at the meeting, over a dozen activists focused on human trafficking, Chotanagpur Tenancy Act, agro-based small-scale industries and the civil society’s role.
“The civil society should play a constructive role so that educated people use their knowledge for the benefit of downtrodden people. It must rise to the occasion and make the common people aware by protesting against misdeeds,” said C.S. Jha, former CMD of BCCL and a JNP member.
Ahmed Sajjad, a retired professor of Ranchi University, said educated citizens had a moral duty to act with all sincerity to correct this corrupt system and build a strong public opinion. “The common people have become self-centred and do not think about others. A change in this attitude may help bring in positive change in the society,” he added.
RU professor Shanti Khalkho rued that though Jharkhand was known as a tribal state, children still could not receive primary education in their mother tongues.
President of FJCCI Bikash Singh cautioned that public intervention was fine if there was a fruitful outcome.