For the past 10 years, a small group of villagers in Sindri (Jharkhand) have been agitating for weeding out ‘fake’ displaced persons, allegedly given employment by Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC). As many as 9,000 such ‘fake’ claimants were employed, allege members of Adivasi Ghatwar Mahasabha, which is demanding a CBI investigation into the issue. They have tried everything, says Ramashray Singh, who claims to be an advisor to the Mahasabha.
“They have gone on fast, held demonstrations, taken out processions, sat on dharnas and women have even stripped in the past to draw attention to their demands,” he says. But nothing has worked so far.
“As many as 1,670 villages in the area were acquired in 1953-54,” he explains and claims that few genuinely displaced persons were given employment. Citing the example of Telkuppi village, he says that 1,700 villagers had been displaced from the village, but only 500 of them were given employment.
The villagers have staged at least 150 fasts and protest meetings during the last 10 years, some in Delhi and Kolkata. But though the DVC management has signed 34 agreements with the Mahasabha, none of the agreements has been implemented.
The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and the Jharkhand Chief Minister’s attention were also drawn, says Singh. But, besides acknowledging receipt of letters and petitions and marking them to each other, to DVC and to other ministries for ‘necessary action’, nothing has been achieved so far, he adds.
“Although BJP governments are in the saddle at both the Centre and in the state, the Raghubar Das government in the state has ignored advisories on the subject from the central government. Is it the possibility of opening a pandora’s box that is keeping the Jharkhand government from ordering an inquiry,” questions the Mahasabha in several communications to the Centre.
“The right to job and right to being heard are both being denied by the anti-Adivasi government in Jharkhand,” alleges Singh.
The JMM MP (Rajya Sabha), Sanjiv Kumar, has also demanded a CBI inquiry and supported the demand of the Mahasabha.
But there are no signs that their five-decade long wait is going to be over any time soon.