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Protest against the recent Amendments to the Land Acquisition Act and privatisation of healthcare in Jharkhand
Today civil society citizens, members from colleges and more than sixteen organizations from all over Jharkhand met from 10 AM to 4 PM at Bagaicha Namkum to express their deep concern about the recent disturbing amendments passed by the Cabinet to the Land Acquisation Act ( and soon to become law through an Ordinance). The eighty participants deliberated on this Ordinance and other important issues and resolved to oppose the undemocratic measures being adopted in violation of the Constitutional guarantees.
Amendment to Land Acquisition Act
The pushing through of the Land Act Ordinance violates all democratic norms. This amendment of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act 2013 gives the Government enormous powers to acquire land without the landholders’ and Gram Sabha consent for projects involving defence and defence production, village infrastructure development, village housing and electrification, industrial corridors and infrastructure projects including those taken up under Public-Private Partnership (PPP) mode.
In short, even the farm lands are not exempt from the above Amendment and the members attending the meeting felt that this Ordinance will even override the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution, the CNT Act, the Pesa Act and all such other protection guaranteed under the Constitution. The flurry of Governmental activities for rapid land acquisition will gain momentum with this Amendment and should be opposed by all the citizens of Jharkhand. The removal of the clause making the prior consent of the landowners mandatory gives the Government unbridled powers and it is the villagers, rural landowners and farmers who will bear the brunt.
Hence it was decided to oppose this Ordinance through public mobilization and a massive Rally would be held on the 24th of January to express opposition to this draconian measure.
Coal Block Auction
Supreme Court had declared the allocation of 214 Coal Blocks as illegal and cancelled the allocations. Now the State Government is putting the Coal Blocks on auction inviting the same Companies also to participate in the auction. This is a back-door entry for those Companies whose allocations had been cancelled by The Supreme Court. Trade/Labour Companies in the mining sector have come together and have declared a strike from January 6 to 9, 2015.
The members present in the meeting today decided to hold a Protest near Firayalal Chowk on the 8th of January to express solidarity with the Trade Unions on this issue.
Privatisation of Healthcare – Privatisation of Sadar Hospital
The members present decided to oppose this Healthcare privatization particularly of the Sadar Hospital which step if taken would deprive the farmers, villagers, tribals and the low-income group of this State healthcare facility. It is the Government’s duty to provide free healthcare for its citizens and instead it is depriving a large population from a necessary healthcare facility and only pandering for the rich citizens through the privatization process.
It was therefore decided that on the 6th of January, when the Assembly is opening, a Protest would be held in front of the Assembly to highlight this inequity and to oppose privatization.
Further a Massive March is planned from Sadar Hospital to Nepal House on the 6th of February where a Memorandum would be submitted to the Health Minister on this issue.
Communalisation of the Society
The members deliberated on the Ghar-Vapasi issue and the re-conversion plans and programmes of various fringe groups and decide to spread awareness amongst the public about the dangers of communalization through such attempts to divide the society.
The members present decided to meet again on the 24th of January to strengthen these efforts and to decide on joining hands together to fight for the rights of the Jharkhandis on the land, minerals, healthcare and similar issues.
Those who attended today’s meeting were from Ramgarh, Hazaribagh, Jamshedpur, Lohardagga, Ranchi, etc. and fron organizations such as Jharkhand Jungle Bacao Andolan, Jharkhand Mining Area Coordination Committee, Azadi Bachao Andolan, Jharkhand Nagrik Prayas, Jharkhand Visthapan Virodhi Nav-Nirman Morcha, Adivasi Mahasabha, Bharat Jan Andolan, Hoffman Law Association, Visthapan Virodhi Jan Vikas Andolan, College Professors, Lawyers, Journalists, etc.