Singur in Srikakulam?


By T S Sudhir

A Singur in Srikakulam? That’s the question uppermost in everyone’s minds as months of vehement opposition by local villagers, fisherfolk and environmentalists was sought to be brushed under the carpet to build a thermal power plant in Sompeta in Srikakulam in Andhra Pradesh. “We do not want it here” was the locals’ position. But is it so easy to take on the state and a powerful corporate house? Environmentalists claim the public hearing conducted in August 2009 was a farce.

Development models are riddled with these kind of issues. Are we giving to the people what they want or what we (the state) want? The administration says there isn’t Maoist presence in Sompeta to pin blame for the violence in which two people were killed, on the outlaws. But never rule it out. The Maoist stamp is a handy tool in such situations and before long, you could find many a villager being labelled a Maoist or atleast a Maoist sympathiser. We will give you power, the state insists. But no, you do not have the power to protest. Ouch. 

http://www.ndtv.com/news/videos/video_player.php?id=152426

(video of my story on NDTV on the clash between police and villagers-fishermen in Sompeta in Srikakulam on 14 July)

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About t s sudhir & uma sudhir

Uma Sudhir and T S Sudhir are senior journalists, based in Hyderabad. Both work for NDTV. Uma is a Tamilian, who was educated in
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One Response to Singur in Srikakulam?

  1. Serenity Stupidity says:

    Hi Tss/Uma,

    I think, that this pattern of, wetlands being used for “developmental activities”, is a very much core symptom, of the ills that are affecting our democracy.Herein, when i say democracy, i mean the “infrastructure”, that enables a civic society to collect taxes and spend them for development of the nation.

    This issue, is very close to my heart. The debate, as to Capitalism V/s Socialism, is such a classic one. Increasingly, I feel worried, that “astute” politicians, are becoming experts, at using the media focus for themselves; and in the name of democracy and social justice, lot of rotting is taking place, as to the development of the nation. Even leaving aside the Politicians, their “followers” among public, are increasingly closing their minds and hearts to the real issues, whereas all the time ready to lecture to souls like, as to the “truths” of various issues…

    To state in brief, I believe, that Capitalism, is needed, for development of word-class infrastructure; and this, in return, will enable the Social Justice. Now this process, is inherently dangerous. And true to the fears of such dangers, the manner of implementation in india, of capitalism, by which i mean, Industrialization, is threatening destabilization of India, like water under carpet. For, it is resulting in lop-sided development; which then slowly but surely manifests itself, in the form of Water-wars, Statehood demands, Youth being left no choice but maoism, and last but not the least, the merry hijacking of public sentiment, by unscrupulous politicians…

    I am sure you are aware of all these basic truths. But your statement “Are we giving to the people what they want or what we (the state) want?”, inspires me to participate and express my views.

    I am no expert on models or developmental blueprints;

    In fact, the use of the word “Capitalism” by me, may be wrong or misleading; it can easily result in unnecessary Diversion of the issue into the Capitalism-socialism debate; believe me, this is NOT about a capitalism-socialism debate; for that reason, I thank sudhir, for using the above mentioned statement, which i believe, can help in maintaining focus.

    Please continue to enable people like us, to contribute.

    Also, I would like to point out a very important thing i heard on a recent debate on Globalization, hosted by Burkha Dutt…..that often barren lands, are meant to be allotted / used for developmental activities, like building of Highways, or Infrastructure like a building-collection. But what are used instead, are agricultural lands, due to the greed of the politicians. This in turn, harms silently but dangerously, both cycles : cycle of agriculture : for we need FOOD as much as infrastructure.

    Again, land grabbing by politicians, may also be an issue “too common” to talk about; but then, in the above manner, is it not striking at the roots ?

    I request you, where and when possible, to link the issue of wetlands to agricultural lands…

    I understand, these issues are not something that we can focus on, in a continual basis, but I wish that the initiatives by you such as the continued reporting on srikakulam, can be built upon, slowly but surely.

    Regards.

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