About an year back, EHA started a Community Health and Development Project in Khunti district of Jharkhand state by the name 'Injot' which means light in the Sadri language. Couple of days back, I got the opportunity to visit the region.
The region was significant because of the 'Koel Karo movement' against the construction of a dam which I understood would have displaced a population of almost 200,000. You can read a recent article about this project in the latest edition of our in-house magazine Safar in Page Nos. 5.In addition, it had also historical importance in struggle for a separate Jharkhand state.
I understand the movement against the dam, led under the aegis of the 'Koel Karo Jan Sangathan' is the only struggle in India which has been successful in preventing such a dam from coming up.
Well, the snaps from the visit . . .
|The first thing that you notice is the absolute dryness of the region.The villages wait eagerly for the monsoon rains . . .|
|Well dug for security personnel within the forest who came to protect the construction of the dam.|
|Remains of the buildings constructed to house the security personnel (above and below)|
|Unripe jamuns waiting to ripe . . . They ripe once monsoon sets in . . .|
|The long walk towards the proposed dam site . . . Note the huge stone which has been split through to make way towards the site . . . Must have been quite an effort put in . . .|
|The dam site . . .|
|The walls of the dam were supposed to have been built at a height of about 50 metres from the top of this hill . . .|
|Picturesque view of the Karo river . . .|
|Another view . . .|
|The road built to transport things to the other side . . .|
|Memorial built in Tapkara village to remember 5 martyrs who were killed in a protest demanding seperate Jharkhand state in 1946 . . .|
|Memorial built to remember those who were killed during police firing on Feb 2, 2012.|
I felt sad after the visit . . . A region rich in tradition and history. It was obvious that the whole region continue to remain impoverished and backward.
As we visited the market after the visit, I happened to talk to few of the locals . . . They are sad that the government has ignored them. There was hardly any development. 'It looks as if the government wants to punish us for preventing the construction of the dam'. Echoes of similar sentiments are heard from the villages around NJH . . .
Even though there has been reports of the government having shelved the project, there have been no confirmatory official notes . . . The damage has already been done . . . People continue to live in a state of an unsure future for their land, culture and children . . .
I wish our country know about the struggles of such regions . . . There have been similar millions of countrymen who were unsuccessful in their struggle from being displaced . . .The oppression brought about on such people groups who do not have a voice fuels the country towards the so called term we call 'development' . . . The stories continue today.