Wednesday, June 18, 2008

memorandum to NHRC

Prakrutik Sampad Surakshya Parishad

(P. S. S. P.)

At: Kucheipadar, P.O.: Kashipur. Dt.: Rayagada- 765015, Orissa

Cell : 09437818854 , Email :

To Date : 21st July, 05

The Chairman

National Human Rights Commission

New Delhi

Sub : Repression in Kashipur in Rayagada district in Orissa and request for immediate intervention of the honourable chairman

Sir ,

We the people of Kashipur are bringing following points for your knowledge. Before that we want to say that several letters and memorandum have reached to you and several quarters regarding the repression in Kashipur.

In the mean time again we have faced lathicharge on 15th June, 2005 which is second time during six months and nearly fifty people during this period have been sent to jail. Five national level human rights organizations namely PUCL (Orissa), PUDR ( Delhi), APDR ( West Bengal), HRF ( Andhra Pradesh), INSAF- India have visited the area and have condemned the police repression in the area. But this has not had any impact of the district administration of Rayagada in Orissa.

The facts are like this,

Beginning of second phase of repression in Kashipur

1. More recently on 15th June, 2005 armed police reached the UAIL (Utkal Alumina International Limited) plant site of Guguput village. There was a PSSP meeting going on of nearly 500 people and mostly tribal women. Without any announcement the police started lathicharging, gas shells, blank firing and also picked up nine people. Later when a group of youths were returning in the night to Kucheipadar village on 25th June were picked up by armed police and were sent them to jail after torturing them in the police station. It has become a usual practice since 1st December, 2004 that people are picked up, kept first in police lock up more than a day and then sent to jail.

2. On 1st December, 2004 the Superintendent of Police and District Collector of Rayagada district including ten platoons of police went to D Karal – Nuapada (Kashipur Block) laying foundation stone of a police barrack and police outpost at the plant site of UAIL to help in construction work of the latter.

3. People of PSSP (Prakrutik Sampad Surakshya Parishad) in Kashipur are demanding medical facilities and educational institutions which are essential for a descent life. The government of Orissa instead of providing these facilities when intended to start construction of police outpost and police barrack generally meant for armed police, people started opposing the idea.

4. On 1st December, 2004 police platoons reached the spot for opening up of the police out post and police barrack and people got the information in advance and sat of the road. When police reached the spot the tribal women sat on the road and did not leave the road. Then the Officer In charge of Tikiri Mr. Kishore Mund announced “leave the road otherwise we would rape you” and further he derogatorily said “when you are in habit of sleeping with your father and brother, what is wrong if you are raped by us”. This nasty threat crossed such a limit that eleven elderly tribal women put off their clothes, became totally naked and went in front of the police barricade boldly and challenged the police to rape them.

5. The Tikiri OIC then on 1st December, 2004 who was controlling the mega phone announced “you bastards tribal, davits how could you fight against the government” “we have orders of the government. Leave the road otherwise would be killed”. Then police started pelting stones and it did not have any effect on the gatherings. Then the police used tear-gas and it is true that people threw the same shells towards the police. Then police resorted to blank firing due to such firing people started leaving the road and while returning the police chased them and beat them severely. Two tribal aged women including four men were arrested on the same day. PUCL of Orissa Unit Report says that “the police have threatened the women to rape them in the open congregation during their agitation on 1.12.2004”.

6. Subsequent repression by armed police: From 2nd December, 2004 Kashipur was verbally seized by the armed police. CRPF which has been deployed in Southern part of Orissa for anti-naxal operation were deployed around Tikiri- Kucheipadar village in Kashipur and flag marched every village. The Indian Reserve Battalion was also mobilized. The armed police battalions did march pasts and patrolling inside the villages to create a fear psychosis among the people. The police is also harassing people in market places and in other places of their work by indiscriminately questioning them, picking them up, detaining them in the police station and beating them up in the custody also. This has seriously affected the peace, life and livelihood of the poor tribal people of Kashipur area as they can not go to the market or near by townships and even into their own fields.

7. By today fifty activists have been arrested and out of them still twenty four activists of PSSP are still in jail for more than three months. Already there is a rape incident happened by the armed police in newly constructed police out post at D. Karol where a dalit lady of D Karol was raped and molested by the armed police on 17th January,2005. The local police Officer in Charge Kishor Mund refused to accept the FIR.

Where our fault lies

8. Utkal Alumina International Limited (UAIL) is a joint venture of Hindalco and Alcan of Canada. The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between the government of Orissa and the company in 1993. Due to the popular struggle UAIL could not start its work until 1/12/2004.

9. UAIL is a 100% export oriented joint venture alumina consortium. In 1993 Indal, Tata, Norsk Hydro and Alcan were originally part of the consortium. Subsequently some of them withdrew and now Hindalco has 55% share and Alcan has 45% share of UAIL. The total cost of the project is estimated at Rs. 4000 crores. Bauxite would be sourced through open cast mining from Baphlimali of Maikanch panchayat, which has an estimate of 195 million tons of bauxite and will be transported to the plant site at Doraguda near Kucheipadar village (25km from the mining area) via conveyor belt. The capacity of the plant will be one million ton of alumina and will be increased upto three million tons according to the UAIL report. As per expert’s view, for these three million tons of alumina nine million tons of bauxite would be extracted annually. This means the UAIL would finish up the entire bauxite of Baphlimali within 22-23 years. The alumina generated at this refinery proposed to be sold at US $85 a tonne is estimated to be the cheapest globally.

10. The UAIL project would acquire 2865 acres of land of Kashipur block and much of this is cultivable land. The project has announced the compensation package but all people have not accepted the compensation package yet. Some of them have accepted during the period of repression because police pressurised them. Money is not of any use for us and the company and government is refusing to give us land against land.

11. On 16th December, 2000 police brutally gunned down three unarmed tribals at Maikanch Abhilash Jhodia, Raghu Jhodia and Damodar Jhodia and injured many more. After this shocking incident the former commissioner Sri Dillip Singh Bhuria visited the area. Also the former President of India K.R. Narayanan after this incident in his Republic Day speech on 26th January, 2001 said “the future generation should not blame us we have destroyed the tribals for our development.”

Company speaks lie

12. False information by the company: UAIL claims that the project will displace only 147 families from three villages of Talakarol, Ramibeda and Kendukhunti as per 1991 census. The Nosrk Hydro’s estimate puts the number of Project Affected Persons (PAPs) as 750 families and the human rights group Norwatch of Norway estimated nearly 60,000 families would be affected. As per PSSP’s estimation nearly 2500 families will be affected by the alumina plant only and another 2000 families would be affected by mining in three panchayats namely Maikancha, Kodipari and Chandragiri GP of Kashipur block. UAIL is not disclosing its project proposal and is not giving any information. Above all we are going to loose our land and livelihood and the company and the state government are keeping us in dark.

13. No Gramsabha resolution: People of Kashipur are not interested in the project and due to the resistance UAIL could not start its work until 1.12.2004. Neither UAIL nor Government of Orissa has ever discussed these matter are before any of the six grampanchayats which is going to be affected by the project. They are Kucheipadar Grampanchayat (GP), Hadiguda GP, Tikiri GP, Maikancha GP, Kodipari GP and Gorakhpur GP. As per the Grampanchyat Act of Orissa all voters of the Grampanchayat are the members of a gramsabha, as per the Provisions of the Scheduled area Act, 1996 (PESA) gramsabha resolution is essential. None of the above gramsabha has ever passed any resolution in favour of the UAIL.

14. Consent of Gram sabha is a lie : Superitendent of Police , Rayagada says in media “ in the gramsabha the villagers gave their consent to vacate their lands for construction of Alumina Industry”. This is a lie. Out of 24 villages 3 villages will be completely bulldozed by UAIL in the first phase of its project namely Ramibeda, Kendukhunti and Tala Karol hamlets. But on 9th September, 2004 the district collector Sri Pramod Kumar Meherda , IAS with heavy platoons of police in nearly 27 vehicles reached in the area in early hours and cordoned off the villages. On that day he took the consent of those three hamlets only. Those three hamlets are part of three wards of two grampanchayats Kucheipadar and Hadiguda GP. As per the grampanchayat act of Orissa all voters of a ward are members of a pallisabha and 12-14 wards constitute a grampanchayat. Even on that day the consent of complete pallisabha was not taken. That the consent of the gramsabha was taken is a blatant lie by the SP of police. The presence of police at the time of consent of hamlet was well reported in the local media also.

15. Omission of Kucheipadar village : The letter of SP speaks that the Kucheipadar village has been omitted by the UAIL. It can not be true. The reality is that just below the Ramibeda village , one of the displaced villages, the land of Kucheipadar starts. Secondly the UAIL does not share the neither new nor old physical plan of the project. Also the UAIL is not sharing whether the company has renewed environment clearance, forest clearance and mining clearance from the central government. But besides these , the important point is Kucheipadar is supposed to be the office of PSSP which is resisting the UAIL project. It is not fighting for saving only its own village.

16. Allegation against outsiders: The District Administration often accused the non-tribal activists as outsiders. This has also come in the PUCL report while taking interview of police officers. They have been already implicated in several false cases and have been forced to go underground.

17. No environment clearance: From the confidential source it is clear that the UAIL does not have renewed mining clearance, forest clearance and environment clearance. It does not have any gramsabha resolutions favouring the company. Also environment assessment report done by Engineers India Limited commissioned by the UAIL goes against the company. But the company is sharing neither its proposal, not the environment assessment report nor its plan etc. The INSAF team while visited the place found all these lacunaes from the company’s side and have mentioned in their report.

Kashipur falls under the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution of India, which guarantees land to the adivasis and forbids the transfer of tribal land to any non-tribal entity or activity. As per the Samata judgment, the government and the aluminium company are non-tribals. Also, we are informed that for their private gains neither the government of Orissa nor UAIL is paying any respect to the Gramsabha resolutions of any of the Gram Panchayats. This is in flagrant violation of the Provisions of the Scheduled Area Act, 1956. In the interim period, the people of Kashipur , Orissa, with support from the people of Chhatisgarh and Madhya Pradesh came together in a protest dharna on the 4th and 5th of March in Delhi and also submitted a memorandum the honourable President of India on March 5th seeking his Excellency’s intervention.

In this context we urge that

1. Immediate withdrawn of all armed police forces from the area and police outpost. The police barracks should be closed down;

2. Release of all activists of PSSP and false cases should be withdrawn;

3. UAIL project should be cancelled and gramsabha resolution should be mandatory before installation of any project;

Finally we urge the Chairman to visit the area for first hand information of the repression and pressurize the government to stop any type of anti-tribal action.


Bhagaban Majhi

Convenor, PSSP

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