Activist roots for tribals

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  • Published 16.02.12

Jamshedpur, Feb. 15: A Gandhian on a nationwide mission to fight for original dwellers today blamed the nexus between government and corporate entities for the displacement of tribals in a number of states.

P.V. Rajagopal, also a member of the National Land Reforms Council who is holding Jan Satyagraha Samvad rallies — aimed at linking with outfits representing native settlers across India — said the “unholy” nexus stood in the way of established laws such as Chotanagpur Tenancy Act and Santhal Pargana Tenancy Act.

“Even the Panchayat (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act is not being executed in Jharkhand, which is a serious matter. It is the direct responsibility of the governor to see that such laws are implemented throughout the state,” said Rajagopal, who began his campaign in Kanyakumari on October 1, 2011.

The activist, who has so far covered 10 states and has plans to visit 14 more before winding up on October 2 in New Delhi, was in the city to support the three-day agitation of those displaced by the Dimna dam project in Patamda block of East Singhbhum.

Rajagopal told The Telegraph that corporate entities like Tata Steel virtually called the shots vis-à-vis development issues in Jharkhand.

“The corporate sector decides the area in which development activities will be initiated. This should not be the case. Rather, the government should decide on development areas and the parameters,” he said. Rajagopal has opposed corporate giants like Posco, Vedanta, Jindal, Tata Steel and Essar, which have acquired land for projects in various states.

He opined that the direct fallout of land acquisition was mass immigration of tribals to urban areas. Rajagopal promised to inform the Centre about the displacement of people in Patamda and raise the matter with the Prime Minister, who, incidentally, is the chairman of NLRC.