Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A silent hunt for dissent

10 am, October 12 — Jagdalpur, Bastar district headquarters town in Chhattisgarh, looks like a ghost town. Large areas around the collector’s office have been cordoned off. Around 50 tribals sit in a hall waiting for a public hearing of the environmental impact assessment report of Tata Steel’s proposed Rs 10,000-crore greenfield steel project in the district’s Lohandiguda block.It’s noon by the time officials of the district administration and Tata Steel arrive. Sashi Bhu­shan Prasad, head of Tata’s environmental division, is presenting the report. His start is dramatic: “One hundred and twenty-five years ago, Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata had a dream for a village in Jharkhand, and that is Jamshedpur. It was many times worse than our Bastar.”


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