Corporate carpet bombing

August 22, 2006
Corporates from around the world are engaged in carpet bombings of
their projects in Jharkhand and Orissa, the two minerally rich States
in India. State governments and the Central governments have been
playing facilitative roles to this disturbing trend. Disturbing since
at the receiving end are those who shared intimate relationship with
nature – adivasis and nature itself.
Casual survey of the projects lined up for the two States investements
run into billions of crores in terms of mining and industry. Some of
course is the SEZ (Special Economic Zone) variety that threatens
labour rights in addition to settlement rights and environmental
rights of Adivasis. The trend guarantees creation of teeming homeless
and hungry that will be ‘controlled’ by intensified security and State
violence.
There is a need indeed urgent need to halt this trend both for the
sake of life and nature. Industry and mining are creating the changes
in nature that are irriversible in its negative tendencies in doing
away with forests, agriculture, and survival and dignity of Adivasis
and others in these two states.
Indias draft tribal policy has no answer to the continued genocide of
nature and Adivasis of India. In fact it is highly confused and put
out for the discussion sheerly out of compulsion to do so by the
movement in India.
Of course State and Industry has sought to deal with the protest
movement in variety of ways such as repression through Police force,
Co-option through lure of ‘chair’ in the corridors of Power,
exploiting financial vulnerabilities of few activists by pro industry,
pro-mining non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and even attempted to
creat horizontal rifts on the lines of ongoing infamous ‘Salwa Jhudum’
in Chatisgarh. In North-West Jharkhand Dalits too have to shoulder
thier share of investment burden and so the responsibility of
resistance.
The so-called Secular State of India at central govenment have taken
beastly twist in suggesting various draconian modifications to
Environmental laws in India by progressively shrinking whatever
available democratic spaces in public hearings before these projects
are cleared. The reason of course is understandable: corporate Capital
cannot wait the long consultative duration as the interest rates on
the loans for investments keeps shooting and more the delay in
implimentation more the chances of failure of the projects.
Multinational corporates that have lines up for investments have
intesting character. Two major of the players playing with life and
dignity of adivasis, and future of planet earth are TATA and Mittal.
botgh of them have India character to them yet have investments
worldwide. The two corporates hve differing streanghts in their
nefarious ends: the former has over a century of experience in
environmental destruction and usurping surplus through lablour
exploitation while the latter have been able to gather its muscles
over a recent while and have gone about swallowing number of other
companies world wide. Mittals have investments in 14 countries of the
World and spread over 4 continents.
This write up is meant to provoke thinking and debate. I am sure once
you gather your guts you will say something very very important.
Sebastian Rodrigues, Ranchi.

West Bengal degenerates sign deal with firm whose account books are still dripping with the blood of millions of communists claughtered in Indonesia

By Ajay Prakash
25 August 2006
Last month, West Bengal’s Left Front government signed India’s biggest foreign direct investment (FDI) deal with the Salim Goup, an Indonesian conglomerate closely linked to the former Indonesian dictator General Suharto.
The founder of the Salim Group is Liem Sioe Liong. Reportedly the richest man in Indonesia, Liem owes much of his fortune to privileges granted him by Suharto, whom he befriended in the 1940s.
Suharto was responsible for the bloody purge of Indonesian Communist Party members and sympathisers between 1965 and 1966 that resulted in more than a million deaths. But this has not stopped Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI [M]) West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadev Bhattacharjee promoting the deal and brushing aside criticisms:
“Why should we rake up the past? They [the Salim Group] have invested in China, too. Our stand is clear. For the development of the state we need capital. We are not concerned about the character of the investor. To me capital has no colour.”

SEZs are set up by state governments, usually in collaboration with the private sector, as self-contained areas with their own water- and power-supply systems. Their great value to the bourgeoisie is that taxes, and labour standards and other regulations are waived.
According to India together, “To woo investors to the zones, the central government has been offering a number of fiscal incentives and concessions. For instance, the zones are deemed as foreign territories as far as trade operations, duties and tariffs are concerned. The units (100 percent export oriented) also have full flexibility in operations. They are exempt from all direct and indirect taxes. No export and import duties, no excise duty, no central or state sales tax and no service tax. The units do not require license for importing capital goods and raw material. 100 percent FDI is allowed in the zones. Repatriation of export profits is also allowed.”
The SEZs also offer investors cheap labour without any legal restrictions or interference from government bodies. Whether workers are blue collar or professional, they face similar working conditions, labouring for 10-12 hours a day for low wages, usually without paid overtime, holiday pay or retirement benefits. These are the sort of conditions that the CPI (M) is introducing into West Bengal as it woos foreign capital and Indian big business.

Link

CPM cadres raid Nandigram

8 dead; TMC, Cong call for bandh today
Subhrangshu Gupta
Tribune News Service

Kolkata, January 7
A group of CPM cadres, armed with automatic rifles and other weapons and wearing police uniforms, raided Nandigram village last night and gunned down at least six farmers in accordance to the party’s suddenly adopted policy of applying force against the Krishi Bachaoo Committee, opposing the land transfer to Indonesia’s Salim group.

In the clashes that followed between the two groups, two CPM workers were also killed. Over 12 were severely injured either by gunshots or blasts and they had been admitted to different hospitals in Midnapore town and Kharagpur, where the condition of seven was stated to be critical.

The villagers killed included Biswajit Maiti, Bhudeb Mondal, Sk. Salim, Bharat Mondal, Sankar Samanta and Bishnu Maiti.

According to official reports, the CPM workers encircled Nandigram village around midnight and attacked the farmers assembled in the Garchakraberia, Sonachura and Tekhali bazaar areas. The attacks were retaliated and soon followed an armed clash between the two groups.

Oddly enough, there was no police force posted around the place at the time of the incident as it had been withdrawn earlier following the decision of the all-party meeting in the morning.

The Trinamool Congress (TMC), Congress, SUCI and several other parties have givev a call for Bangla bandh tomorrow demanding the resignation of Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and the imposition of President’s rule in the state.

Meanwhile, Mr Bhattacharjee, who was busy today negotiating with a Dubai-based industrialist, Sheikh Suleman, for an investment proposal at Kulpi in the Sunderbans where some 640 acres would be needed for the project, regretted the incident at Nandigram but reiterated that the industrial expansion programme would continue.

The incident was an outcome of a provocation call to the party cadres by Mr Benoy Konar, senior central committee member, who is also a prominent leader of the party’s Kishan Front, for confronting the unwilling farmers and their supporters with force for ensuring an easy transferring of 10,000 acres there to Salim industries.

He said their policy would now be “gun for gun and lathis for lathis”, alleging that some Naxalites and the branded criminals had been behind the farmers’ agitations who needed to be firmly tackled. Mr Konar had asked the Left front partners like the CPI, RSP and the Forward Bloc either to support the government or quit.

Leaders of the three major front partners, namely the CPI, RSP and the FB demanded that the government should immediately stop “land grabbing policy” and hold all-party talks and adopt a decision on the future land acquiring for industries.

Ms Mamata Banerjee, who has been recuperating at a nursing home, and Mr Pradip Bhattacharyya, working WBPCC president, squarely blamed the chief minister for acting as an agent of the capitalists and held him responsible for the innocent killing in the Nandigram village.