"Fell At Officials Feet, Even Then They Razed Our Farms," Jharkhand Farmers Claim Land Taken Forcefully For Adani's Powerplant
In Malli village of Jharkhand’s Godda district, tractors and bulldozers of Adani group razed down the standing crops from the fields owned by at least ten farmers. Despite the Adivasi farmer’s several pleas to the officials, their fields were destroyed ruthlessly. Even as many fell at the feet of the officials, the bulldozers didn’t stop. The farmers claim that almost 16 bighas of their land, including their ancestral burial ground, was illegally grabbed by the Adani group to build a power plant, without any notice being rendered to them beforehand. However, Adani group has refuted all claims.
As per BBC report, for the powerplant of Adani Group, Godda district’s Motia, Gangta Govindpur, Patwa and Poreyahat constituency’s Mali, Gayghat, Sondiha are under the process of acquisition. The government claims that most of the Raiyats(landowners) of Motia, Gangta Govindpur, Patwa and Mali village have been compensated.
According to a local, Jayant Yadav, who spoke to The Logical Indian, this incident happened on August 31 when some officials of Adani group brought tractors and bulldozers to forcefully capture the Adivasis’ farmland.
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He says the men (Adani Officials) came in the afternoon, and they gave orders to destroy the crops on land, which Adani says is now theirs. He also says that farmers’ long-standing crops over 16-17 Bigha were ruined in minutes. More than 4,000 trees including- Palm trees, Neem, Indian rosewood trees and others were destroyed.
No one heard their plea
Another resident of the village, Mary Nisha Hasda, while speaking to the local media, said that the Adivasi families went to the Deputy Commissioner, Kiran Kumari Pasi, to complain about the issue, with a complaint letter.
“When we went there with a complaint letter, the officer did not accept it. She, in fact, told us that there is pressure from the state government and that they (Commissioner) cannot do much about it. The Commissioner also said that the Adani power plant company has already acquired the land and now no one can stop them from installing a power plant,” lamented the Nisha Hasda.
“We were never given any compensation”
While talking about the compensation allocated by the Adani Power Plant, Hasda said, there are only a few farmers, who have been involved in the land acquirement agreement with Adani Group have received compensation, while the rest have not been paid even a single penny. “Only those people (Dalal) have taken the compensation money from the Adani group, the rest of us have not taken any compensation from them,” she said.
Although, she said, “When we went to the Deputy Commissioner, Kiran Kumari’s office, she repeatedly said that our compensation is kept at the department of revenue and land reforms office. She was repeatedly urging us to take the compensation money, but that is not we want,” implying that they want their land to be returned to them and not any monetary compensation.
“Our only source of living is farming”
The Adivasi families of Malli village in the Godda district have been surviving on the farming for a very long time. For these ten families, the loss is devastating. The locals claim that the government is acquiring their land for the Adani project, even though many do not want to sell. They say that they do not want money from the Adani group, they just want their ancestral land to remain with them as it is their only livelihood.
Hasda also claimed that the Adani officials also destroyed their ‘Jang Baha’ (ancestral burial ground). She said that when they complained about this to the Deputy Commissioner, the Adani field officials were present there. She claims, that after the meeting, the Adani officials meet the villagers and said that they did not know, that the place they destroyed was their ancestral burial ground. So, the officials offered them to give a small piece of land near the burial ground. “They said they will give us a small piece of land and will also build a platform, where people can sit,” she said. However, the furious villagers said that it is their burial ground, not a garden.
“We have our ancestor’s grave there and we want to save guard it. How can we see our ancestral’s grave being destroyed by the people?” Hasda questions.
Adani’s response to the villagers claim
The Adani group told The Logical Indian that the Adivasi’s land was allotted to them by the state government and they have not faulted any rules in acquiring the land. “APJL (Adani group) has been granted with Land Possession Certificates (LPCs) for the proposed Project as per Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Bill (LARR) 2013 and has never violated any rule/act during the process,” reads their statement.
About the alleged atrocities against the farmers, which were caught on camera, the Adani group in their official statement said that nothing of this sort has happened and that this was an attempt to malign the name of the organization by parties with vested interests.“APJL neither supports nor is involved in any act of aggression against the local tribal population in its presence for the last three years in the region and the company shall never be a party to such deplorable acts,” the statement adds.
Further, the Adani group states that they have given proper compensation for the land they have acquired from the Raiyats (Adivasi families). “APJL has deposited required compensation with the Government of Jharkhand, and this will be distributed to those Raiyats who may have appealed to the Government. However, if any additional compensation is required to be paid the same will also be considered by the Company on humanitarian grounds.”
The Adani group have also stated that they have finalized the agreement for the land deal in a meeting in which the farmers were also present. However, the farmers’ have refuted the claim, saying they have never attended any meeting by Adani group.
The Logical Indian also tried to reach the Godda district Deputy Commissioner but, she was unavailable for the response.