Deocha Pachami area of Birbhum district of West Bengal, is stated to be having huge deposit of excellent quality coal underneath stretched over 3400 acres. A high quality basalt is also existing on the surface level. For long, discussions were going on to start mining of that coal by evacuating the residents of the area. It was promised by the TMC-led state government that all those to be displaced would be suitably rehabilitated and receive employment in the mining project. Those who would lose cultivable land are also supposed to receive suitable compensation.
It is pertinent to mention that those who are residing in that area are mostly peasants and workers of the nearby stone-quarries. But with the excavation date nearing, no concrete measure in regard to fulfilment of the promises seems to be in place. Given the bitter experience of the past as to how reality falls short of government declarations and petty party interests, nepotism and extreme corruption come into play, the affected people mostly poor tribals and backward communities have decided to launch a united movement to secure their legitimate demands. Our Party has taken the initiative to organize this movement.
On 29 November last, Comrade Madan Ghatak, Birbhum District Secretary, SUCI(C), led a four member deputation to the local Deputy Magistrate and pressed for meeting a 6-point demand. The deputation emphasized on concretization of rehabilitation-compensation and job guarantee after considering the opinions of environmentalists, voluntary organisations, mining experts and all other concerned before excavation starts. The 6-point demands are:1) instead of open mouth mining, underground mining should be the basis of the project, 2) before starting work, list of persons affected should be made, 3) permanent job must be provided to at least one of each displaced family,4) by no means coal blocks are to be handed over to private owners, 5 ) steps based on science be taken for afforestation and environmental preservation,6) priority be given to the local people to recruit workers in the mining area. Comrade Madan Ghatak called upon the people of Deocha Pachami to get organised for achieving their legitimate demands drawing inspiration from the historic Nandigram-Singur movements and recent victory of year-long magnificent peasant movement.