Farmers of West Bengal Should Not be Forced to Give up Farmlands for Mining Industry: SKM

SKM urges the Chief Minister of West Bengal to instruct the local police and administration to immediately stop repression and arrest of villagers and activists and start a democratic dialogue.

bengal
PC: Survival international

Alarming reports are emerging from West Bengal that farmers of Deocha-Panchami-Harinsingha-Dewanganj area of Birbhum District are being forced to accept a “compensation package” announced by the State Govt. for giving up their farmlands and pastures on which the State Govt. wants to set up a greenfield coal mining project.

About a third of such farmers are Santhal Adivasis(Tribals) and there is also a sizeable population from the minority community and disadvantaged classes. It is reported that the State Govt. has not followed the legal process of holding gram sabhas, presenting the mining project details and rehabilitation package in such sabhas and obtaining consent from the villagers in such sabhas. Instead, the administration has followed a clandestine process of obtaining purported consent from individuals, which is illegal.

Media reports have also highlighted that democratic and peaceful protests by farmers are being brutally repressed by the local police and administration and a reign of terror has been unleashed on adivasi villagers, many of whom, along with activists who are supporting them, have been arrested and jailed.

The coalition of the farmer organisations, Samyukt Kisan Morcha(SKM) has been observing the events as they unfold and is distressed that the farmers are compelled to give up their farmlands, pastures, homestead and farm livelihood for the sake of mining and industry.

SKM has demanded that farmers should not be forced to part away with their fertile land unless they give their consent through a process clearly laid down in the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013. Samyukt Kisan Morcha shall always work to protect the right and interest of farmers and stand with India’s agrarian society in any crisis they face.

SKM urges the Government of West Bengal to hear the voice of farmers of Deocha-Panchami-Harinsingha-Dewanganj area in a transparent, public and legally mandated manner so that justice is done to farmers. SKM urges the Chief Minister of West Bengal to instruct the local police and administration to immediately stop repression and arrest of villagers and activists and allow an environment of peaceful and democratic engagement to commence.

Issued by-
Dr. Darshan Pal, Hannan Mollah, Jagjit Singh Dallewal, Joginder Singh Ugrahan, Shivkumar Sharma (Kakkaji), Yudhveer Singh, Yogendra Yadav

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