Demonstration Calling for Closing of Stone Mines

ON 18 February, the streets of Chattarpur Nagar Panchayat headquarters were reverberating with “Jal-Jungle-Zameen Hamaara, raj tumhaara nahin chalega” (The water-forests-lands are ours, your rule will not work). Hundreds of villagers gathered under the banner of CPIML Chhattarpur to take out a rally against the irreversible damage being caused to the ecology and environment of the region due to stone mining and also to demand justice for the villagers of Bhalhi who are distressed by the functioning of the Dantuta Stone. They blocked the gate of the Chhattarpur SDO for nearly two hours. The rally culminated into a public meeting at subdivision office. CPIML Chhattarpur secretary Kapil Prajapti chaired the meeting in which villagers from nearby villagers shared their distress and experiences. A villager Ashok Oraon said that there is an atmosphere of fear in his village. During the day the police that provides protection to mines owner Anjani Kumar comes any time and at night the goons of Anjani Kumar open fire to continue illegal stone mining. On 7 February, mining officials had confiscated two overloaded trucks from the mines. However the villagers know that there are several such overloaded trucks. Villagers shared that the entire mine is illegally inside the boundaries of the village and because of that there has been a loot of the villagers’ lands. Even though a week long dharna was held outside the district collector’s office, there was no hearing of the distress of the villagers.

CPIML district secretary said that we will even go till the Supreme Court to ensure justice for the villagers. In Chhattarpur the administration has closed it eyes to the loot of resources. There is not a single checkpost in the region where overloading of vehicles or license of the drivers is checked. This in itself proves how the administration is complicit. There is an incident of highway truck accident every other day here. District convener of AISA Avinash said that by providing protection to the mining contractors, Chhattarpur is giving birth to feudal goons. This needs to end.