People’s Resistance against Land Acquisition at Nandigram Nandigram Village Nandigram is a cluster of villages in the east Midnapur district of West Bengal. It is situated on the banks of river Haldi. On the opposite bank lies the well-known industrial city –Haldia, which is under the administration of the Haldia Development Authority of West Bengal Government. Although it is in such proximity to an industrial city, the village is unaffected by development and primitive in its living standards. The roads are rudimentary and and the transport is archaic and hazardous. The only connection to the nearby Haldia city is by ferry.
There is no bridge over the river. Nandigram is politically well-organized under the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI-M) which a leading faction in the Left Front government of West Bengal. The people are totally dependent on multi-crop land for their subsistence. The idea of Special Economic Zone The government of West Bengal deliberated that Haldia could made an industrial hub if Nandigram could be acquired for Special Economic Zone (SEZ). The Government of India had introduced the concept of SEZ in April 2000 with the object of enhancing foreign investments to promote exports from the country.
Accordingly the policy furnished that the allotted SEZs would be deemed foreign territory for the purpose of trade operations, duties and tariffs. The state government had an important role to facilitate and provide land for the approved projects. The SEZs also have the advantages of income tax exemption for the first five years, permission for 100% foreign direct investment, and hosts of other benefits. The projec...
ts may be established by private, public r foreign firms or as combination of their partnerships.
This was a fast-track development programme and the development starved people of Nandigram were expected to welcome it. Haldia Petrochemicals as well as Indian Oil Corporation had already created over one lakh jobs. Now, the government believed, if Nandigram too could be integrated into the project, an even greater opportunity for employment could be created. Moving ahead with the idea The government of West Bengal zeroed in on an Indonesian firm called Salim Group for a 50-50 partnership with West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation.
The Salim Group wanted 35000 acres of land. Apart from the chemical industrial set-up the Group would also construct 100 km long 100m wide Eastern-link expressway and a four-lane road bridge over the Haldi river, connecting Haldia city to Nandigram. Both the road and the bridge would be connected to National Highway 34. Upbeat with the very idea of potential benefits that may accrue to the local community as well as the state government, the government started the process of land acquisition which would eventually affect around 40,000 people.
Formation of Anti-Land Acquisition Committee Soon after the government started the process of land acquisition, the divisions in the mind started reflecting on the ground. The like-minded people in the political spectrum shifted and public opinions started forming and along with it originated an association called Bhumi-Uchchhed Pratirodhi Committee (BUPC). The resistance movement was started by the activists of the Trinmool Congress, splinter groups from CPI (M)
Forward Block activists, Naxalites and Maoists etc.
The primary objective of BUPC was to prevent the government from acquiring land in Nandigram by all possible means and to protect the traditional sources of livelihood for the people in the village. Anti-climax By 2007, the scenario worsened as both the state and BUPC assumed tough stand. On 15 March 2007, 11 people were killed when the state police opened fire on activisits who were opposing the government to take possession of the land. Moreover 50 people were injured during the police action.
In October, armed activists of CPI (M) entered Nandigram and as aresult 25,000 villages took refuge in neighbouring villages out of fear. In BUPC-CPI (M) clash, two people died. Many people died again in December in the fight between BUPC and CPI (M) activists. The violent incidents were criticized across the world. Under tremendous pressure, the government shifted the venue for SEZ to a new location at Nayachar, 30 km from Haldia. (Source: Albuquerque, D. (2010). Business Ethics: Principles and Practices. New Delhi: Oxford University Press) Course Outlines Ethics Course Outlines Ethics: Meaning, Evolution, Definition and Scope
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