Tribals refuse relief, CM in tight spot Tribals dance for peace in Sambalpur
Shutdown, Total & Spontaneous We've no details of Kalinga land deal: Naveen minister
Tribal dialects for primary schools BJP bosses eye tribal vote pie

 Tribals refuse relief, CM in tight spot
    a. Bereaved families Spurn Naveen govt. …

By Sandeep Mishra/TNN, February 2, 2006

Bhubaneswar: Families of 12 tribals who died in the January 2 Kalinga Nagar firing have refused to accept ex gratia compensation from the Naveen Patnaik government. This has brought to the fore the tribal community's deep resentment and anger against the latter.
    The state government has been trying hard to convince the tribals into accepting its relief package. So far, Jajpur collector Arabinda Padhee has met the bereaved families twice, without yielding any results. Not withstanding this, he said, " We will keep on trying to convince them...We hope good sense prevails (on them)."
    In the wake of the Kalinga Nagar violence, the state government announced ex gratia of Rs five lakh for each of the victims' families. In addition, the Center also agreed to offer Rs five lakh to each family.
    Observers said the tribals were unlikely to accept any relief as long as the government does not fulfill their seven-point charter of demands.
The demands are no fresh displacement on grounds of industrialization, five acres of land in lieu of land acquired, and rights over possessed land, action against state finance minister Prafulla Ghadei and four senior officials for the Kalinga Nagar incident. Ex gratia of Rs 20 lakh each for families of the dead and Rs 10 lakh for each of the injured, ban on multi-national units and withdrawal of "false" cases slapped against tribals.
    Vistanpan Virodhi Jana Manch chief Chakradhar Haibaru categorically said the tribals would continue their agitation till their demands were fulfilled. Ex-National Commission for SC and ST chairman Dileep Singh, Bhuria said, "It is against the tribals’ dignity to accept money in lieu of their lives and livelihood."
    The toughening of stand by the tribals may upset Naveen's efforts to make peace with the tribals. Prior to this, the tribals outright rejected the government's invitation for talks. They have also refused to lift the blockade of NH-200 that has caused huge losses to the state's economy.
    Some state government officials said the tribals were refusing compensation owing to pressure from community leaders, instigating by Opposition parties and social organization and fear of the money getting laundered by vested interests.

b. ...As divided Opposition fails to cash in on angst

By Rajaram Satapathyn/TNN, February 2, 2006


The show of solidarity among Opposition parties to pin down the Naveen Patnaik government in the aftermath of the Kalinga Nagar killing is in a disarray with different outfits announcing to go ahead with separate tribal rallies.
    The Opposition parties, particularly the Congress, had made the January 2 Kalinga Nagar police firing an issue to push the government into a corner. They succeeded to some extent in effecting the January 7 unprecedented statewide bandh. In a bid to cash in on the tribal sentiment, the parties decided to intensify the agitation and proposed a statewide rath yatra carrying the ashes of the 12 victims. The expenditure for the yatra was pegged at around Rs 7 lakh, a large part of which the Congress hadA agreed to bear.
    Sources said the tribals of Kalinga Nagar, whose agitation was initially confined to road blockades and demonstrations were accordingly coaxed to join the yatra. However, midway through the preparations, signs of a crack appeared in the Opposition ranks.
    The Congress, plagued with intern squabbling, nearly withdrew from the programme, while the other parties decided to announce separate rallies. "It is for the Congress to explain why it hacked out of the programme," said OOP leader Bijay Mohapatra.
    PCC president Jayadev Jena parried questions on the yatra. He said the February; rally in Bhubaneswar would send the right signal to the government that its days when numbered.
    "The Congress has championed the cause of the downtrodden and tribals in particular. Several senior party leaders from New Delhi will address the rally."
    Sources said the J B Patnaik group in the party was not inclined to the idea of a statewide agitation. They said JB was no keen on doing anything that would go against certain business houses, whom he patronized during his tenure', "It is in the interest of the Opposition to be united and fight against the government." said Congress leader Sarat Rout.
    "Tribal leaders have to agree first. They will meet, and decide accordingly." The rath carrying the ashes of victims in 12 separates urns has begun its journey. It would go to Puri where the ashes would be immersed in the sea.


Tribals dance for peace in Sambalpur

    Samhalpur: People from tribal communities, including those from neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, congregated not very far from the killing fields of Kalinga Nagar to spread the word of peace.
    The tribals, attired in their traditional dress, gathered here at Gangadhar Mandap for the Lok Mahotsav, where they hop and sing to the beats of their musical instruments. Their dances and songs depicted peace and coherence with the law of nature. At the same time, there are also tell tale displays of aversion to infringement of their rights.
    Dancers from Adilabad district of Andhra have their heads decorated with peacock feathers. Their bodies are painted like tigers and they have barks of trees for their loin clothes. "Such a make-up of our bodies represents three concepts. A peacock's feathers on the head symbolises love, peace, tolerance and beauty and the tribals are epitome of such values," said leader of the dance troupe S Mahendra.
    "The body painted like the stripes of the tiger, symbolized ferocity and bravery and it meant we would not allow injustice or tolerate them. Barks of trees represented attachment with nature and our love for it. Trees are part of tribal life," Mahendra added.
    They perform Gusadihi. During the entire event, they dance to drum beats crooning Huuu, Hooo, Haaa. "As they live in dense forest, the heart of nature, they make such sounds to frighten away the wild animals but not to kill them. They love animals, but can't tolerate any atrocity from them. That is the meaning of their dance." an interpreter said.
    A shift from Andhra to Orissa hardly makes any difference in the tribal's nature and sentiments. Bondas of Malkangiri in the state are well known for their attachment with nature. The tribals worshipped nature for its benevolence and protect them from deterioration unlike the urban civilization, said Sanki Majhi, a lady dancer at the festival.
    "Let the Lok Mahotsav, which mainly deals with folk culture of the countryside be an eye opener for everybody to love and protect nature," commented Ranjan Panda, a social activist.
    [Dancers from Sambalpur stunned the audience at the ongoing Ekamra Mahotsav Festival, which was inaugurated at Ekamra Haat in Bhubaneswar on Friday, coinciding with the conclusion of the Lok Mahotsav - another prominent event on the cultural calendar. Colourfully attired performers displayed a variety of acrobatic yet rhythmic feats to the heady beat of drums of myriad shapes at recital of the traditional dal khai and chadeiya dances. The chadeiya is an ancient bird-catching ritual ahead of the village feast whereas the dal khai celebrates the bounty of the harvest.]

Shutdown, Total & Spontaneous
a. Rajnath douses BJP's quit cry fire

TIMES NEWS NETWORK, January 8, 2006


Lenders of the state BJP who were priming for a showdown with their BJD coalition partners in the aftermath of Kalinga Nagar received a setback with the party's central leadership on Saturday rejecting any suggestion of snapping ties with chief minister Naveen Patnaik's party.
    The local unit had to eat humble pie after being asked to cap their simmering anger at their ally a day after state BJP chief, Jual Orarn went public with his threat to pull out of the Naveen government over the killing of 12 tribals. Oram on Friday took the first flight to Delhi to petit-ion the central leadership for a green signal to cut the umbilical cord after six years of alliance.
    The state BJP team that met party boss Rajnath Singh in the Capital included Orissa Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha chief Dharmendra Pradhan and Rajya Sabha MP Surendra Latli. The team reportedly was closeted with Rajnath for a full 30 minutes in Delhi on Saturday.
    Rajnath sources said, made it clear to the visiting delegation that support would not lie withdrawn from the Naveen government over the Kalinga Nagar issue. Worried about a possible tribal backlash, both politically and electoraly in not only Orissa but also neighbouring Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh - also ruled by BJP governments - the party in the state had wanted to dissociate itself with the government at the earliest. Rumblings within the smaller partner about a pullout turned into a cacophonic chorus over the latter part of (lie week in political circles here. Rajnath, however, sought to redeem himself with its state satraps by a categorical expression of "grave concern" over the bloodbath. He also said tersely that the onus is on Naveen to ensure that such incidents are not repeated.
    BJP spokesman Prakash Javadekar later told reporters that though the police firing was "unfortunate and condemnable" there arises "no question of breaking the bond with the BJD".
    Oram — who has of late been taking potshots at Naveen at wanton over a string of issues ranging from the multibillion-dollar Posco deal to the surge in Maoist insurgency — had to tone down his criticism after considerable prodding from Rajnath. "I put forth the feelings of party MLAs before Singh. It is for the party central leadership to decide," Oram said later in the day.
    Only on Friday, Oram, MP from Sundergarh, had been trenchant in his criticism of Naveen's handling of the broader issue of rehabilitating displaced persons in his great industrial surge and held the government solely responsible for the killings.
    Saturday’s developments come as a distinct blow to the state BJP leadership, which holds the portfolios of revenue and industries in the government.
    The ally BJD, pushed to a silent corner immediately after Monday's firing at Nuagon, was quick to hit back after reports of Delhi's tete-a-tete reached here. BJD secretary-general and Panchayati Raj Minister Damodar Rout said flatly that Oram's pullout threat was "both unfortunate and deplorable".
    "Oram is playing his old (gramophone) record of criticism for the government. He has forgotten that governance is a matter of collective responsibility and the BJP is part and parcel of (the scheme of things). Moreover, the Kalinga Nagar incident involves the industries and revenue departments, which are headed by BJP ministers. So who exactly is Oram blaming?" Rout, known for his candor, said.
    Observers here had, however, discounted Oram's intent of actually pulling out saying the BJP was trying to wean out a pro-tribal message to minimize the political fallout in its tribal vote bank.
    Even a BJP MLA from the tribal community, who had supported the quit call, admitted in private that the threat was only a pressure tactic to keep up the pressure on the Naveen government. "The BJP would never have carried out the threat," he said, refusing to be named.

b. The cost of a strike: Enormous

TIMES NEWS NETWORK, January 8, 2006
    Bhubaneswar/Cuttack: Sunday's bandh has inflicted huge losses on the state and its people in terms of money and revenue.
    Financial experts said the strike cost the business and transport sectors losses amounting over Rs 100 crore. Similarly, the state exchequer incurred losses worth around Rs 20 crore in terms of revenue, while thousands of daily wage earners lost a day's income.
    Official sources said about 7,000 lorries were stranded at the state's minor and major entry points, including Jamshola, Girishola, Laxmannath and Luhur Chatti. Tills cost the government taxes worth over Rs 13 crore.
    There after the hit transporters the most as it brought around 6.000 private buses, over 67,000 trucks and more than one lakh other carrier vehicles to a grinding halt. Private bus and truck operators kept their vehicles off the roads, fearing attacks from bandh supporters.
    Commuters also suffered a lot as nearly a thousand private buses that originate or pass through the state's largest bus terminus at Badambadi in Cuttack did not ply Private bus operators claimed to have lost over Rs 90 lakh, while truckers pegged their losses at over Rs l0 crore.
    " This (the bandh) is certainly not a good indicator for the development of trade and industry in the state," said finance minister P C Ghadei. A finance ministry official added, " The death of innocent lives is no doubt a matter of shame. Closure of all activities to score some brownie points also does not help the state and its people."

We've no details of Kalinga land deal: Naveen minister

    Rajaram Satapathy/TNN
    Bhubaneswar: The state government has said it does not have full information on the Kalinga Nagar land deal with Tata.
    This is likely to further deepen the crisis over Kalinga Nagar that has rocked the state since the death of 12 tribal protesters in police firing near a steel plant site earmarked for Tata on January 2.
    The government’s lack of knowledge of the land deal came to light when Congress legislator Umesh Swain sought details of monetary transactions concerning the allotment of 2,000 acres to Tata in the Assembly Swain specifically wanted to know how much money the government received from the steel giant and how much it paid to displaced people for their land. On Tuesday, revenue minister Manmohan Samal told the House, " We are collecting information (in this regard)."
    Dissatisfied with Samal's reply Swain said, " It is strange that the government has no information about the issue that has raised so much storm...The government is working for the benefit of industrial houses at the cost of poor people."
    Obsevers said there was resentment at Kalinga Nagar ever since the government started acquiring land for setting up industries there in the Nineties. The January 2 violence broke out when local tribals sought more compensation in the form of cash and land for the plots they gave up for Tata's proposed six-million-tonne steel plant at Kalinga Nagar. This also sparked protests in tribal-dominated Jharkhand and Chhatisgarh and parts of Vest Bengal.
    Tribals claimed that they got on an average Rs 37,000 per acre acre, though the government disposed off their land at over Rs 3.5 lakh per acre to industrial houses.
    A senior revenue official said the government acquired 6,K°5 acres of private land and paid over Rs 35 cr. to their owners between 1992 and 1996. In addition, 6104 acres of government land was also acquired in the area for industries.

Tribal dialects for primary schools

    Bhubaneswar: In yet another move to pacify the agitating trials, the Naveen Patnaik government has decided to introduce 10 tribal dialects in primary schools from the coming academic session. School and mass education minister Narendra Pradhan announced this in the House on Wednesday; hours after a group on Santhali students staged a demonstration-demanding introduction of Santhali from the primary of the university level.

BJP bosses eye tribal vote pie

    TIMES NEWS NETWORK, February 12, 2006
    Bhubaneswar: BJP functionaries from across the state on Saturday locked to Jeypore, one of the busiest commercial hubs in undivided Koraput district, to take stock of the party's situation and chalk out its future course of action.
    The meeting, attended by 110 of the 120 members, is being considered quite significant in view of the party's attempt to strengthen its position in the tribal belt.
    The BJP has faced a serious compulsion in the aftermath of the Kalinga Nagar incident to take a definite stand on the issue. Though a section of the partymen have pointed out that being in the government is their biggest compulsion, others are not willing to buy this argument. They fear that the party may have to pay a price in the future for its present policy.
    Though BJP state president Jual Oram and some tribal MLAs have expressed anguish over the January 2 incident in which 12 tribals were killed, it is unlikely to yield much result for the party, they said. In this connection, they cited the near confusing statements made by party leaders in the Assembly during the fourday-long debate on the Kalinga Nagar incident. The BJP's helplessness was so discernible all through that it gave enough scope for the Opposition to taunt them continuously suggesting that the party should withdraw its support to the Naveen Patnaik government.
    Some BJP ministers argued in the House that they could not after ford to become like the Opposition parties because they were part of a coalition government.
    Many party functionaries, however, are not satisfied. "If the party needs to be vocal despite being in the government, it should not hesitate to do so," a senior functionary said.
    "The Kalinga Nagar issue is definitely on our agenda. We do understand the people's feelings. The matter will be discussed on Sunday when the party takes up the political agenda," party MP Dharmendra Pradhan said.
    He hoped that the executive committee in Jeypore would strengthen the BJP's position in the region because never before has such a meeting been organised here. A public meeting that over 10,000 people are expected to attend will follow it, he added.