Jharkhand CM to review new R&R policy, remove deficiencies

Written by State Bureau | Jamshedpur, Sep 27 | Updated: Sep 28 2008, 07:35am hrs
Jharkhand chief minister Shibu Soren said he would review the state's new rehabilitation & resettlement (R&R) policy and remove any deficiencies in it. The state cabinet, under the leadership of outgoing chief minister Madhu Koda, passed the R&R policy on July 16, after several months of dithering.

Soren, who was here on Saturday to inaugurate the renovated Ghaghidih jail and visit the Canvas 2008 trade fair and the Indo-Danish Toolroom premises, said the government would implement the policy only after doing the necessary.

The chief minister, on being asked if there were deficiencies in the existing R&R policy, said: "There can be deficiencies in anything."

According to him, seldom had an R&R policy been framed for Jharkhand that was in favour of the local people.

"There should be industry, and we are committed to it. I too understand the benefits of industry, but that doesn't mean that while industry progresses, the local people should perish," said the chief minister.

Soren spoke about a recent Bhushen Steel incident. Villagers at Potka, 20 km from here, roughed up the company's officials who had gone there to survey land for a steel project. The officials were garlanded with shoes and their faces smeared with cowdung. They were then made to walk barefoot a long distance. The CM said the incident took place because the officials had gone there without informing the locals.

"There is already fear about resettlement. They should have taken the help of the administration, politicians, local leaders, etc, as adivasi villages have the Manki-Munda system in place," he said.

Soren was told that some units were threatening to pull out of the state as neither coal blocks nor iron ore was being made available to them by Jharkhand. He said that he was not aware of anyone pulling out of the state and that allotment of both coal blocks and iron ore was in the hands of the Centre and the state was only a recommending authority.

The chief minister said the state would soon go for panchayat polls, which have been pending for around 25 years.

Later, at Canvas 2008. Soren said industry, trade and the government should contribute to the betterment of the local people.