Saranda Action Plans Promise Development In The Neglected Tribal Area

It seems, finally in the latter half of 2011, the Union Government has woken up, to notice the plights of Adivasis (Tribals) living in the mineral rich but economically under-developed regions of Jharkhand, called Saranda. Being caught in the cross-fire between Government Forces and Maoist Forces is one of the added perks in the endless daily survival grind of the local indigenous population living not only in the Saranda Forest Region but many more similar areas across Jharkhand.

Jairam Ramesh, Union Minister for Rural Development
Jairam Ramesh, Union Minister for Rural Development

Under the leadership of energetic Jairam Ramesh, at last Rural Development have recognized that Maoism in the Adivasis’ Areas can only be defeated, by honestly and sincerely implementing the various high-sounding Rural Developmental programmes in these areas.

  • Need to strengthen the 3-tier Panchayat system in Jharkhand under PESA (Panchayat Extension to Schedule Areas) Act.
  • Need to build rural connectivity through all-weather roads under PMGSY (Pradhan Mantri Grameen Sadak Yojna).
  • Need to develop basic infrastructural facilities, like potable water, electricity, schools, health, et al in these rural areas.
  • Need to generate regular employment opportunities for the local population by using various employment generation schemes.

So, on his direction a team was appointed by his ministry constituting officials from Rural Development Ministry, Jharkhand Government and World Bank. This team visited the Saranda Region in West Singhbhum District and found that the District Authorities have no idea about the implementation of various Government Schemes in the area. During his visit to Jharkhand, Jairam Ramesh had advised the current Political Leadership of Jharkhand to change their way of functioning. He had also urged them to bring about positive change in the political culture of the state. Besides he asked Jharkhand Government to take necessary steps to honestly implement developmental works in the state.

So, to ameliorate the plights of the affected 7000 Adivasi Households with a population of roughly 36500 people living in the 56 villages under 6 Panchayats in Saranda Forest Region, the Rural Development Ministry proposed implementation of ‘Saranda Action Plan (SAP)’ by the Jharkhand Government.

Its key highlights of SAP are as under:

  • Distribution of Solar Lamps, Bicycles, Transistors, and Musical Instruments to all the 7000 families. (Estimated Cost Rs. 5.2 crores).
  • Installation of 200 hand-pumps in the villages. (Estimated Cost Rs. 1.2 crores)
  • To bring all the 7000 families under BPL (Below Poverty Line) Scheme and IAY (Indira Awaas Yojana).
  • Under Forest Right Act, to distribute land pattas up to 4 hectares and old age pension to the eligible families and persons, respectively.
  • SAIL (Steel Authority of India) has been asked to assist in construction of one Integrated Developmental Centres (IDCs) under its CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) activities. These IDCs would have PDS Shops, Health Sub-Sectors, Agriculture Information Centres, Bank/Post Office, Market, Godowns, etc. The proposal is to construct 10 IDCs at a cost of Rs. 5 crore each. SAIL has been further asked to consider running health-centres and supply vehicles for local public transport facilities.

{The pertinent point to note here is that Saranda Forest has rich iron ore deposit and SAIL operates highly lucrative Chiriya Mines besides few other iron-ore mines of the region.}

  • CRPF battalions would set up camps in the area to provide security cover to the local population and developmental initiatives.

The story of Saranda Forest Region is no different from the many similar Adivasis regions located either in Jharkhand or in other states. Each one of them is crying for development, but their voices have yet to reach the corridors of power, as if they are situated in some distant land.

Only the pro-active and honest Governments that can show that it really cares for the welfare of people, only then the Governments can hope to win back the trust of the alienated sections of our society including the heavily armed Maoists Cadres who are supposedly fighting violent battle for poor and deprived sections of society besides the hapless Adivasi Population who are caught in the midst of this ideological battle.

We said Governments, because both Union and State Governments need to join their hands to make some kind of headway in winning back the trust and goodwill of the Adivasi People with their genuine efforts to usher in economic development of the hitherto neglected areas. At last after a long delay, the Governments have made a beginning, but it is only a small step in the right direction to win back the heart of the alienated sections of our society.

Hopefully, the promises shall be kept by both Union and State Government in Saranda.

Team Focus

Team Focus

We are bunch of commoners and our bloggers' e-magazine focuses on the AlterNative Voices from Jharkhand, India.
Team Focus
Team Focus

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We are bunch of commoners and our bloggers' e-magazine focuses on the AlterNative Voices from Jharkhand, India.

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  1. Reuben Boipai says:

    Why does everybody talk about Saranda and nothing about the tribal people domiciled there? Under British Raj the area was a special province with legal matters, administration & governance different than India’s. The Governor/ Collector had a separate seat at House of Lords that Viceroy of India. British preserved the traditional Manki-Munda system of Taxation & Revenue Collection.The imperialists were the preservationists then.(Sir Wilkinson Act)

    I first request Mr Jairam to regulate and clean up the coal mining issues first and then from the lessons learnt built the plan for Iron Ore mining. All that ails Coal mining will else rejuvenate in iron mining & problems will multiply.

    By the way, I am a HO tribal and the 36,500 people living in Saranda are my Kin, so am naturally worried about them & their future. 
    In 1904 British census of Chaibasa only 100 non-tribal families were recorded living there but after a century ……..

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