India: The Historic Struggles in Singur and Nandigram Against Displacement and Special Economic Zones

“In the name of development”

(English subtitled) 44:59

On the people’s historic struggles against the acquisition of fertile farm land by big Corporations, focused on Singur and Nandigram. The film is directed by Partha Sarathi Banerjee.  The film is in বাংলা (Bengali) but has English subtitles.

Fact-Finding Report on the Anti-Displacement Movement in India

Villagers man checkpoint to keep out government and company officials at site of planned POSCO plant in Jagatsinghpur, Orissa.

Over the past three years, there have been a number of particularly significant victories by the anti-displacement movement in India:  In West Bengal at Nandigram (Dow Chemical), Singur (Tata Motors), Salboni (Jindal Steel); in a number of places in Jharkhand; and now the historic victory at Vedanta’s proposed bauxite mine at Niyamgiri, Orissa.

In the summer of 2008, US activist David Pugh travelled to five states in India to report on the anti-displacement movement, including the intense ongoing battles against US and South Korean owned POSCO, and against Tata Steel in Kalinga Nagar, both in Orissa. Below is the complete report on his fact finding trip.

by David Pugh

I recently spent three weeks gathering information about the anti-displacement movement in India. I traveled to India on this fact finding mission in my capacity as a member of the Initiative Committee of the International Campaign Against Forced Displacement that was launched in June 2008 by the International League of Peoples’ Struggle.

As a guest of Visthapan Virodhi Jan Vikas Andolan, I traveled across five states in central and eastern India visiting the sites of proposed industrial and mining projects, Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and real estate developments.  I spoke with hundreds of villagers who are threatened with displacement and with many dedicated activists who are helping to organize the people’s resistance.

The villagers I spoke to, tribals, dalits and members of “other backward castes,” told me that the lives of their families are at stake.  Rapacious industrial and mining enterprises, supported by the state and central governments, are trying to grab fertile agricultural land. When bribery doesn’t work, the industrialists and government officials have sent in the police and hired outside goons to terrorize the villagers into submission. Continue reading