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WEST BENGAL-An Eastside Story

 WEST BENGAL An Eastside Story Mahasveta Devi NARAYANGARH and Sabong are adjacent blocks in the district of Midnapur. Both are very dry and the subsoil water-level is poor. Last year's drought has hit the two blocks most severely. Since last September the poor people, unable to wait for the panchayat to come to their relief, have started migrating to other districts in search of work. Narma, Maligerya, Fulgerya, Gama

SINGHBHUM-A Countryside Slowly Dying

SINGHBHUM A Countryside Slowly Dying Mahasveta Devi A VISIT to Singhbhum was long under contemplation and an invitation to attend a meeting, or sammelana, of the tribals of Rajenka and other villages was most welcome. The ACC factory of Jhikpani is causing much distress in the locality and among the people, be- cause cement-dust carried by the wind is ruining vegetation. This sammelana was organised by a committee constituted by people belonging to the Jhar- khand Mukti Morcha, Kolhan Raksha Sangh, United Mineral Workers Union, Mahila Samaj of Chakradharpur, Roro Asbestos Mines, nearby villages, etc. The approach to Jhikpani from Chai- basa was marked by a changing landscape. The fields lay barren grey tinder layers of accumulated cement-dust. The trees looked ghostly, the leaves hanging listless heavy with cement-dust .In the weekly 'hat' at Jhikpani the air was filmy with grey dust. Cement-dust fell continuously, relentlessly, upon everyone and everything. Within minutes we were covered too with cement-dust The tribals bought and sold, went about unconcernedly; the open sheds selling liquor were the busiest.

Witch-Sabbath at Singhbhum

Witch-Sabbath at Singhbhum Mahasveta Devi ON September 8, 1980, the Bihar Military Police, confronted by tribals assembled under the flag of the Jhar- khand Mukti Morcha at the small and picturesque town of Gua, chased some tribals who had to run to the hospital carrying one of their comrades injured in police tiring. Eleven were shot dead within the hospital. The BMP had, according to one tribal, fired 60 to 70 rounds and people of the surrounding area remain convinced that many more than the officially admitted number of eleven died that day. Who were the eleven? Someone has sent me a list of eight names:

Contract Labour or Bonded Labour

Contract Labour or Bonded Labour? Mahasveta Devi ON May 16, The New Republic of Ranchi published an account of some bonded labourers rescued from Sasarara after they had served their master for 22 years under sub-human conditions. They had been lured away to Sasaram with promises of 'good fobs', kept in captivity and made to break stones and blast rocks.

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