ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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WEST BENGAL-Hosiery Workers Desperate Struggle

ECONOMIC AND TOLlTICAL WEEKLY the original owner is trying to usurp it. He repeatedly said that the bondhua mukti morcha should look after the poor like him. "There is no other organisation for 'he poor.'' Laru Jonko, a tribal woman leader from Singhbhum sad that the district morcha should press demands for land and forest rights. The right to the forest products should be given to the poor of Palamau. Oilseed press-machines could help the women. Balram Tiwari, an advocate of Palamau and one closely associated with the district morcha, stressed upon the fact that the Act of 1076 had provision for special magistrates and .special coin's to try bondhua cases. Palamau had not one. The three subdivisions Dalongani, Lachar and Carhwa should have three special magistrates, Balram fights for the boudhuas in the civil court. Cases come alter much delay and anyway even if he wins in the lower court, the maliks appeal to the high court and get free. He also admitted that the Balaman morcha had hundreds of lists but those had to be verified before pressing for action. Rameswaram admis candidly that the morcha's achievement so far is the gradual removal of fear from the hearts of the bondhuas and non-bondhuas. Swami Agnivesh referred to the Supreme Court judgment by Justice P N Bhag- wa'i and made it clear that the contractor's labourers were as much landed as these in the agricultural sector. If this year's conference has succeeded in drawing attention to the system of slavery it is a measure of success. I think that the district morcha now, with the help of the Delhi- based liberation front, should con- cen'rate on a rehabilitaton-cum-libera- tion programme. The poor non-bonded of Palamau are with the morcha. Local writers, journalists and social activists are alive to the problem. But who can make the rusted and corrupted district machinery move into action? According to a media report the Bihar chief minister claims more than 80 per cent achievement in the implementation of the 20-point economic programme in the State. What is his answer on Palamau? The Kutku dam and other such projects will submerge villages and make thousands destitute. What has the Central government to say? For Palamau eternal bondage? The bondhuas and non-bondhaus demand answer and action.

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