Reports from Jharkhand

Dhanbad: Coal Mines Workers Union (CMWU) gheraoed officials of Sudamadih Shaft Mines on June 1 in protest of Coal India Ltd. (CIL) decision for closure of the mine. Situated in Jharia coal belt of Dhanbad district, the management has deliberately removed water pump from the mine so that water will be filled and the mine will automatically be closed. The workers led by CMWU leader Nakuldev Singh held out a militant protest. As a result management abandoned the eviction process and fled from the spot, leaving crores of implements inside the mine including electricity transformers etc.

Ramgarh: A month-long campaign against privatisation of electricity was conducted in district Ramgarh from 23 April to 23 May. The campaign targeted a franchisee company which the government has entrusted for electricity supply in the rural belt of the district. A large number of peasants were mobilised against this privatisation drive forcing the said company to leave. This campaign was concluded in a big mass meeting which was addressed by CPIML leader Bhubaneshwar Bedia. The Revolutionary Youth Organisation (RYA) has now announced a regional level protest on this issue.

RYA also organised an agitation against fare hike by local tracker owners which resulted in Rs. 3 curtailment in the fare from Ramgarh town to Ghutua, which was announced earlier to be at Rs. ten.

Koderma: A protest dharna was organised in Koderma district headquarters on 7 June to highlight problems in water and electricity supply and black-marketing of PDS foodgrains.

Ranchi: Owing to governmental policies leading to unabated exploitation of forests, people of Panch Pargana region are facing attacks of elephants which is being overlooked or undermined by the officials and politicians leading to further escalation of the problem. On 4 June, a party supporter Ravilochan Munda was killed by an elephant while another CPIML cadre Gaur Singh Munda was injured. Angered people gathered in an spontaneous protest and blocked the highway. Only then the officials came to listen to the grievances of the people, where they also announced compensation money for the family of the deceased, people continues to wary of assurances given on the spot. Incidents of elephant attacks also happened in Humta and Gitildih panchayats where many houses of rural folk were raged to the ground. A protest meeting was organised in Humta where people ‘arrested’ forest officials for four hours till they got assurance for some concrete measures including a special forest dept. team to be engaged in diverting the elephants.

In Chandandih of Silli block people protested against the inaction of administration and police over a worker’s death on duty, a road blockade was held and two local politicians who tried to broker a deal with the employer were even beaten up by the public. Ultimately local administration came in action and the blockade was lifted.

Khunti: Jharkhand Construction Workers Union organised a protest rally in Khunti and submitted a 10-point charter to the district labour office. The rally held on this occasion was addressed by Bhuvaneshwar Kewat, Secretary of the Union, Laldhari Manjhi, Gopal Mahto, Poonam Oraon and many other workers.