In Chattisgarh the tribal district Batar, District administration has played in the hands of house of Tatas by way of stage managed public hearing bluntly violating the norms and set procedures as laid down in the Notification to grant Environmental Clearances.
By making mockey of the conditions of the Notification where Public Hearing is a mandatory requirement where consultation with the likely affected villagers are held. But to fulfill this mandatory requirements, public hearing was held at the campus of the district collector, which is at a distance of about 30 Kms from the project area. This was done with mischivious motives as it is known to all that the villagers are strongly opposing the setting up of any steel plant in their area.
The entire drama was enacted to show off that the mandatory public hearing is held. This has proved to be nothing less than a puppet show of the district administration where except the most of the tribals who are residents of the villages to be affected, all others were present whom the project proponent hired or managed with the help of District Administration to dance to the tunes of the project proponent house of Tatas.
Now, when the naked violation of the constitutional provisions are critisised, there are few faces who try to justify that the action of the Bastar District Administration was legal and as per the rules and requirements. They should better read the notification with annexures before spitting lie in public.
Important ingriedent of the same is to hold the public hearing as close as possible to the villages that too with in the Block area where project is proposed. Fact is that out of 9 villages to be affected are all in Lohandiguda Block and one is another block but none of these villages fall in the area where the so called puppet show in the name of public hearing was stage managed so as to complete the mandatory requirement of holding public hearing.
Well, There are enough proofs that are left behind to prove that the puppet show was held in the name of Public Hearing in violation to set rules and norms. It is mandatory to videograph entire proceedings without without any editing and to be submitted with the recommendations. How this video will show the faces of those thousands of tribals who are residents of the villagers who were deprived to take part in the stage managed show? There are other lacunas also that can be the part of the objections that can be filed.
The recent drama of the Public Hearing for EIA is the part II of the earlier drama played with the tribals where mockery of the PESA Act has been made in full public view under fortified conditions so as to crush the democratic voice of the tribals. There is much water to flow down the Indravati River for Tatas who are in day dreams that they play with the sentiments of tribals, crush their voice, play with the constitutional provisions that safegurards the interests of tribals. Unholy nexus of the Tatas with that of the district administration needs to be exposed before the world.
I appeal to all demorcratic forces and civil society organisations to come forward to help the victims who have fallen pray to the illegalites at the hands of the district administration.
Human Rights Activist and
Director, Tribal Welfare Society