People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
THE mighty valley
of Satluj basin in the tribal district of
Kinnaur, in Himachal Pradesh, rented with the slogans of 'DYFI Zindabad' and
‘Killer JP Industries Go Back’. More than 2500 youth gathered around the
National Highway 22 in hamlet Tapri on May 23, 2002 demanding the scrapping of a
project granted to the "notorious" JP Industries. The youth rallying
under the banner of DYFI were also demanding the BJP-led state government to
fulfill the just demands of the tribal people.
This area possesses
a large source of power generation in the form of natural perennial water in
Satluj river. But the capitalist style of power generation by getting the work
done mainly by private companies has played havoc with the area. As earlier
reported in these columns, the natural grassland, orchards and springs have
dried up. The displaced population has neither been rehabilitated nor employment
guaranteed in these projects.
struggle pertains to a new project in the offing, which has been sold to the JP
Industries. The notoriety of JP is well documented. He has modern 'managerial
skills' to his credit, whereby he throws the dead workmen (the nature of work is
very dangerous and accident-prone) into the Satluj or dumps with the muck coming
out of the tunnels. But, that is another part of the story. The project that he
is constructing is very dangerous to the terrain and will affect the already
sliding villages of Meeru, Ula and Urui. Hence this major demand ‘no
project’ has been taken up.
It is in this
background that the rally was organised in Tapri. The mobilisation came from 16
panchayats. A cross section of the population participated. The leaders who
addressed the gathering apart from the local leaders included the former MLA
from Shimla and president of state CITU, Rakesh Singha, former PWD minister of
the state and president of Lok Jan Shakti party, Mahender singh Mahender Singh,
vice president of DYFI Himachal state committee, Daleep Kaisth, president of
DYFI Nichar block, Sukhdev Negi and others. The leaders lambasted the state
government for hoodwinking the interests of the tribals and playing into the
hands of the industrial lobby. The speakers categorically reiterated the demand
of the people that the JP Industries would not be allowed to construct this
project and the government would have to widhdraw its decision bowing to the
will of the people.
The other major
issues and demands taken up include:
inquiry into the alleged sexual exploitation of tribal women at the hands of J.P
of grant to the tribal areas.
of a road from Kandahar to Rupi.
into the assets of certain BJP leaders of the area who have been gifted
bungalows in Panchkula and Pune.
compensation to be made to the people for laying of tower lines of already
As the terrain of
Kinnaur district is very tough, the target of mobilising people from 16
panchayats consumed almost one month of work of DYFI cadres. In Kinnaur, the
population density is 11 persons per square kilometer whereas that of Himachal
is 93 persons per square kilometer.
Initially the DYFI
was formed with the help of CITU working in the Nathpa Jhakri project. When
chauvinist slogans were given by a particular group (BJP Led) to oppose the CITU
on chauvinist lines, the CITU understood the importance and need of ‘all in
unity’ of the working people and the toiling masses of the area. To organise
DYFI was taken as a priority task and initially the help of the workers was