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Jharkhand has been victimized by corruptedly politics right from the beginning

Jharkhand Assembly Election is over. The people of Jharkhand did not give a clear mandate to any political party or alliance, which surprises many people across the country precisely because there was a hue and cry on corruption prior to the election and it was also an assumption that the people are fed up with the corruption, instability and uncertainty created by the unholy alliance, small parties and independent MLAs therefore the expectation was for a clear mandate. Unfortunately, everything went just the opposite. The corruption icon Madhu Koda's wife Geeta Koda, Enos Ekka and many other corrupt and tainted candidates won the election. In fact, among 81 elected members, 59 of them (73 %) are tainted with pending criminal cases like murder, kidnapping and theft. Therefore, what kind of governance is expected from these people other than corruption, crime and corporate terror? 


The fact of the matter is the people did not give their mandates to the corrupt and tainted candidates but they got elected only because our democracy is on sale, which was clearly seen during the election. Now even the voters know that they can sell their votes at least once in five years. There is a major shift noticed in the villagers' minds. The slogan "no development, no vote" has changed into "no money, no vote", which the political parties have legitimated by openly distributing cash and kinds in the villages. According to Narottam Kumar of Dharampur village comes under the Mandu assembly constituency in Hazaribhagh district, a candidate of the national party gave Rs.50,000 to the villagers, carpets and Rs.10,000 to women group and provided liquor to men. Similarly, in Singhbhum region Rs.1000 packed in envelops distributed to each family and even the first time contesting independent candidates spent Rs. 5 to 10 lakh and secured 5 to 15 thousand votes. 


According to the latest report, the corporate houses have spent more than Rs.300 crore in Jharkhand Assemble Election by giving money to the political parties so that they can buy the votes and bring policies in favour of them. Interestingly, the fourth realm of the democracy -the Media also adopted the culture of "coverage package", with the principle of "no money, no news". The media houses had told to the candidates that if they want good election coverage, they must pay them in forms of ads. Now, it is socially accepted that a candidate can buy the votes, voters can sell their right to vote and the elected members are free to bargain for money generating miniseries. But the most shocking fact is the Adivasis who are known for their honesty are also involved in buying and selling the democratic rights and also favouring the corrupt politicians. 


Ironically, the holy priests are also in the part of unholy business of democracy. Will you be surprised if someone tells you that the corrupt politician Enos Ekka won the election and Benjamin Lakra with a clean image contested on the ticket of the Congress lost election only because the holy priests wanted that to happen? It is fact that the holy priests mobilized the people in favour of Enos Ekka on the basis of the work and benefits that he has ensured for the holy priests when he was minister before going to jail. Indeed, many Congress candidates lost the election only because the holy priests wanted to teach a lesion to the Congress. They believe that the Congress is the real culprit for Adivasis plight, which is of course not wrong. But the question is will they welcome the operation white hunt of Sangh Parivar against the Christians only because they hate the Congress? If the Christians are attacked in Jharkhand, they should not cry foul or pray to the almighty God to save them because they have handed over their houses to the devil for taking care of. 


However, the things in the state have gone extremely wrong despite the strong secular forces prevailing in the state; the communal forces could able to grab the power. In the Jharkhandi market of democracy, the Congress, JVM, AJSU and JMM are the gainers and the BJP, JDU and RJD are the losers but the biggest loser is the BJP, who has lost 12 seats despite having favourable climate for winning the election. Ironically, the BJP was not ready to concede the moral defeat and formed government with the JMM, AJSU and JD(U). The BJP has become shameless party, who can do anything for grabbing the power. The Congress-JVM alliance did not go for any kind of horse trading despite emerging as the biggest alliance with 25 seats. It seems that they are looking for the long term politics. If they could be able to maintain their alliance, they would be in the driving seat next time.   


Jharkhand is really an unfortunate state, where an independent MLA can become the state head, any one can manipulate the public opinion for grabbing power and swallow the huge public money. Take the example of the BJP, who defended its tie-up with tainted JMM leader Shibu Soren though they had tirelessly criticized the Congress for giving him ministry in the UPA-I. The BJP president Nitin Gadkari defended the party's decision of supporting JMM leader Shibu Soren to form the next Government in Jharkhand saying that stability and interests of the people of that state were the only concerns. Gadkari said it was Congress and not Soren who was responsible for corruption in politics. But he forgets that the JMM was the part of Madhu Koda government and not the Congress. It was supported from the outside but of course the Congress can not be given a clean chit. Both the parties – BJP and JMM seem to be the power hungry therefore they can justify everything. Another twist is Bandhu Turkey, who is supporting Sibu Soren to ensure that the investigation on purchase of games and sports materials for the national game halted. Most important question is will the BJP who tirelessly cries foul on the issue of corruption, shield Bandhu Turkey? 


Sibu Soren is also unique in many ways. In the Assembly election of 2005, he had ensured the defeat of the JMM by adopting the dynastic politics and now he became another Jai Prakash Narayan in giving secular certificate to the BJP, who was the key player in the demolition of Babri Mosque, Gujrat riots and Kandhmal violence. He repeatedly said, "BJP is not a communal party". After joining hands with the BJP, now he knows that the BJP is a secular party at least better than the Congress. The question here would be if the BJP is a secular party why he was the part of the Congress alliance earlier and also did not go for the pre-poll alliance with the BJP? Can he be allowed to portray a lion as a lamb merely to grab the power? Most of the MoUs (54) are signed by Arjun Munda to sell forests, rivers and lands of Jharkhand in the hands of the MNCs and Sibu Soren fought to save these. Will he be able to save land, forest and water with the BJP supported government? Can he say that the BJP is not a capitalist party or only the Congress sold the Adivasis resources? How long Sibu Soren will carry on corruptedly politics for grabbing the power?  


Jharkhand has been victimized by unholy politics right from the beginning. The state has witnessed the unholy politics brought by the BJP, flourished during the regime of the UPA and supported by the JMM. In these circumstances, Jharkhand can be saved only through two ways – i) a new regional party emerges with the understanding of Jharkhandi culture, socio-economy and politics of the indigenous people and ii) the almighty God, who can throw light over the power hungry and corrupt politicians for resurrection of the state. The unholy politics must be stopped if the state has to address the people's issues, engineer its destiny and grow with prosperity. Though Sibu Soren seems to be enjoying on his political move at this moment but he must be ready either to be jailed or leave the chair of the chief minister within next 6 months because he would be surely facing investigation agencies and one more Tamar test (election) as well and Jharkhand would be on sale, loot and robbery once again. Indeed, the future of Jharkhand seems to be dark under the unholy politics. 


Gladson Dungdung

Anti-Mittal cry (jal, jungle aur zameen) grows louder in Jharkhand

Residents of over 40 gram panchayat sabhas in Khunti today submitted a memorandum to the industry director, Aradhana Patnaik, protesting against the ArcelorMittal land acquisition bid to set up the Torpa steel plant.


In the memorandum of demands, the villagers vowed to fight "till the end" to safeguard their right over water, forest and land (jal, jungle aur zameen).


The letter was forwarded by the co-ordinator of the Adivasi Moolvasi Astitva Raksha Manch, Dayamani Barla.


The demands included that the state government halt land transfer in Torpa block immediately and that the ryot rights over villages that has been granted to ArcelorMittal is declared null and void.


Citing provisions under the Chhotanagpur Tenanacy Act and Santhal Pargana Tenancy Act, the residents argued that the villages' tribal communities were the "real owners" of the water, forest and land in the area. Thus, the government had no right to transfer these.


The Fifth Schedule of the Constitution, too, upholding the "traditional rights of the tribals" was quoted in the letter.


Instead of setting up new industries in the area, the residents have demanded that waters from Koel, Karo and Chhata be made available to farmers for agriculture.


Copies of the memorandum were also sent to the governor and industry secretary.


On September 14, members of 32 gram sabha had submitted a similar memorandum to Khunti deputy commissioner, while on September 22, yet another was shot off to the Gumla deputy commissioner.


Talking to The Telegraph Barla warned that the seething villagers were getting more and more impatient with the state as they felt that industrialisation was a threat to indigenous culture and values. "We are not going to sit idle," she added.


ArcelorMittal plans to start a 12MT greenfield steel plant in Torpa and Kamdara blocks and needs 8,000 acres for the projects. According to members of Adivasi Moolvasi Astitva Raksha Manch, several farmers from the 32 villages of Khunti and Gumla would be displaced if the firm goes ahead with its plan.


October 1, 2009 / Telegraph

Divine intervention to safeguard Adivasi lands

After innumerable demonstrations and rallies, tribals have now decided to seek divine intervention to safeguard their lands. They are now turning Durga Puja pandals into a platform to protest against land acquisition.


Accordingly, Bisthapan Virodhi Nava Nirman Sangharsh Morcha, the outfit that has been spearheading the agitation against land acquisition, has printed over 70,000 pamphlets and posters to create awareness among farmers. The posters will be distributed in pandals at Gumla, Godda, Hazaribagh and Dumka, though districts falling under Singhbhum-Kolhan region will be the main focus.


Kumar Chandra Mardi, a spokesperson of the morcha, said that although Durga Puja was not the traditional puja of the tribals, the grand festival is organised in many localities having a sizeable number of tribals. And local inhabitants visit Puja pandals in the villages as well as the city suburbs, or attend village fairs, at this festive time. "So, we decided to take advantage of the occasion," Mardi said, adding that they have printed 50,000 pamphlets and 20,000 posters to be distributed in pandals in peripheral areas of the city and at village fairs.


Mardi said the morcha, which is an alliance of 37 anti-land acquisition outfits active across the state, had decided on August 24 to intensify protests against land acquisition by industrial houses in the mineral-rich state. The decision to resort to poster and pamphlet campaigns at pandals during Durga Puja was part of the protest.


"Through the posters we have tried to make the villagers understand that selling their ancestral land to industrial houses will not be in the interest of villagers," he said.


September 27 / telegraph

Naxals obstruct development in Jharkhand village

Development initiatives in Jharkhand have received another blow with the rebel Naxals preventing the construction of a bridge over the Koel River.


Naxals in the Gumla-Lohardaga area are reportedly now forcing people to cross the river in improvised wooden boats at great risk to their lives. Several have lost their lives in the river. During the monsoon, the water level rises to 30 feet, increasing the danger to life.


The government has sanctioned the contract for the construction of the bridge, but no one is willing to come forward to undertake the task out of fear of a Naxal reprisal.


Local residents are in dire need of the bridge but the Naxals have been preventing its construction for a long time. It has led to an aggravation of problems in the daily life of local people.


Naxals don't want the bridge constructed out of fear that it would expose the location of their camps. About 50 villages in the region remain unconnected as a result.


They are hardly concerned with the development of the area or the welfare of the villagers.


"It is a main river here, but the locals have to face a lot of hardship to cross it. There have been several occasions when there were talks of bridge construction, and every time the Naxals just dismantle it. This is the reason why there is no development," said Ashok Shukla, a Gumla resident.


"It's been three to four years since the plans to construct a bridge over the Koel River are going on. But there has been no initiative to construct the bridge, and this has dejected the villagers here," claimed Baghmbar Ohdar, another resident in Gumla.

"We have read various newspaper reports about administrative officials' efforts to construct the bridge over the Koel River, but we are just living on assurances till date," Ohdar added.


"It is not just the families, but also education which has have suffered badly due to absence of proper bridge over the river. There are times when boats cannot float, especially during heavy rains," said Ajay Kumar, a Gumla resident.


Villagers are surprised when told the Naxals are the voice of the voiceless. They say the Naxals are the actual enemies.


Local residents are waiting for the day when development does actually take place, but are also aware that the Naxalites will view such developmental works as a challenge to their existence and not let it happen.


Aug.1 (ANI)

Superstitions keep patients away from healthcare programmes in Sahebganj, Koderma, Gumla, Godda, Garwha and Latehar


There is a cure for almost every medical condition. But how do health officials tackle superstitions?


With only 30 per cent of womenfolk living in rural areas turning up for immunisation programmes, state health officials have conceded that superstitions are keeping them away. And that is making it difficult for them to administer treatment or spread awareness among them.


For instance, many expecting mothers are afraid of taking the tetanus toxoid vaccine as they believe that it will lead to abortion or infertility, which can lead to being ostracised from society.


Such beliefs, health workers have found, were prevalent among residents of Sahebganj, Koderma, Gumla, Godda, Garwha and Latehar districts. However, an NGO, USAID, under its programme Vistaar, is working towards improving reproductive and child health in these regions through survival programmes, in association with state departments.


R Choudhary, the team leader associated with the project, agreed that superstitious beliefs were adversely affecting healthcare programmes. "We have been working in the rural healthcare sector for the past six months and so far the results haven't been very encouraging," she rued.


Many tribal women refused to take iron folic acid tablets. "Around 80 per cent of women suffer from anaemia but they refuse to take pills as they feel it would make them weaker," she said.


Immunisation of infants and children was another battle for health officials. "There are limited health services available. Women and children have to suffer due to low literacy rate and lack of decision-making powers. Besides, the infant mortality rate (IMR) is quite high. For example, in Sahebganj it is as high as 147 per 1,000 births," she said.


High death rate is mainly due to low birth weight, lack of basic knowledge among mothers, poverty, and inaccessibility to healthcare facilities and infectious diseases such as malaria and kala-azar.


Besides, nurses and midwives have to fight superstitions too. "We want to improve access to quality maternal and new-born care, improve nutrition and treat infectious diseases," the team leader said.


If only patients could hold on to this belief.


Ranchi, Aug. 5: Telegraph

Thinking about the home of my domestic servant

Mira is a young Christian tribal woman from Jharkhand who lived and worked in our home for the past year and a half. Gentle and waif-like, Mira worked with huge intelligence and a perpetual smile; lived in a private quarter on our roof; had her own toilet and bathroom; was paid well and had everything taken care of, so that her salary became her savings; ate three full meals a day, sharing our food; enjoyed watching cable TV; and had her Sunday off to attend church and spend the day with her friends in Delhi.


For a year and a half, Mira lived in a world that was far removed from where she was born and brought up. Then came a call from her family. Her brother was very unwell. Mira didn't know how unwell, except that the local ojha (tribal shaman) wasn't being able to cure him. Fearing the worst, Mira asked us to relieve her, so that she could take a train as early as possible to be with him and the family. We very reluctantly did; and gave her two months' salary as a bonus for her to tide over initial costs. Mira left last week.


This is where Mira went to. She lives in a village located in the tehsil of Kamdara, which is a part of the district of Gumla in Jharkhand. To reach her village, she had to take a train to Ranchi; then wait for almost 24 hours at the Ranchi station to take a connecting passenger train to Jharsaguda; get off at the station of Basia; and then walk four hours to her village.


Comprising 1.4 million people, over 68 per cent of whom belong to scheduled tribes, Gumla, according to the 2001 Census, is the 17th poorest district in India. In 2001, only 9 per cent of the households in the district had pucca houses, versus 52 per cent for India as a whole. Just 5 per cent of the households had electricity connections, compared to 56 per cent for India. Over 84 per cent of the households had no toilet in their home, vis-à-vis an Indian average of 64 per cent. Gumla is in India's heart of darkness. It is also overrun by Maoists.


The tehsil of Kamdara is much worse. In 2001, less than 5 per cent of its 54,000 households lived in pucca houses; only 4 per cent had electricity connections; 97 per cent of the households had no toilets; 98 per cent had no bathing facilities within their homes; just 14 per cent had a bank or post office account; and less than half a per cent owned a phone or mobile. Kamdara was in the bottom 4 per cent of all tehsils in rural India.


Mira's kutcha house has no electricity. There is no proper road linking her village to Basia. If her brother needs allopathic medical care — which he certainly will — Mira will have to take him in a cart for over three hours to some quack in Basia who pretends to be a doctor. Most likely, he will be injected God knows what ('sui' is a sign of high medicine) and prescribed tablets or purias of spurious drugs. Given that there are just 3 registered medical doctors per 10,000 people in Jharkhand, and probably less than 2 per 10,000 in Gumla, the brother's survival is in grave doubt.


After she goes through the ordeal with her brother, Mira's mother, a blind infirm, will then force her to get married to some subsistence farmer of the village — most likely a person far less intelligent and capable than she. And, unless she picks up courage to escape back to Delhi, she will sink in a quagmire of malnutrition, ill health and poverty.


So, as we laud 60 years of Independence and celebrate the stupendous entrepreneurship of today's India, spare a thought for Mira. She who was once lucky to escape abject poverty in one of the poorest and forgotten parts of India and make a decent life for herself in Delhi, has been pulled back to her home. To slave, sweat and suffer.


Think of this other India. If we can't get the fruits of development to Kamdara, believe me, a thousand Kamdaras may rise to get us.


Omkar Goswami

Gumla: Drive to identify fake ration card holders

The district administration is all set to launch a drive in the district to identify fake ration card holders. The administration will take the help of gram sabhas in identifying the fake ration card holders.


The administration's move is aimed at removing the inconsistencies in the PDS supply. Block level officials will supervise the identification process of fake ration card holders of different categories like those possessing red cards or AAY (Antyodaya Anna Yojana) cards or yellow cards or green cards.


The respective gram sabhas will identify the fake card holders at separate meetings.


The proceedings will take place in the presence of block-level officials of the gram sabhas concerned, Gumla district supply officer K P Kichingia, said, adding that officials of the supply department would also be a part of the team.


The administration has fixed dates for each gram sabha in all the 11 blocks of the district, Kichingia said.


Currently, the district has 576 PDS shops and 44,385 BPL card holders, 32,947 AAY card holders and around 80,000 APL card holders. Red card holders, too, will now get ration supply on a par with AAY card holders.


Gumla DC Rahul Verma said that the verification drive was necessary in view of the fact that many card holders of different categories have either passed away or migrated to other places.


The administration has appealed to the members of the gram sabhas to make the drive a success in the district.


June 5, 2009 / TNN

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