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Friday, April 27, 2007

Identify with the poor

Subject: Eminent Political Scientist Prof Manoranjan Mohanty in the POSCO Debate Date: Fri, 27 Apr 2007 09:03:23 +0530 POSCO Factor..............Three Panchayats have rejected the POSCO Project. Prof Manoranjan Mohanty Delhi University
Dear Sachi,
From Agamee Odissa I know about your deep commitment to the cause of the people of Orissa. I am giving short replies to your questions on POSCO.
1. I do not think that the giant POSCO project will change the character of Orissa economy. It will continue the extractive character of the economy of the last hundred years using Orissa's raw materials for metropolitan development elsewhere. Unless an integrated chain of development with agriculture, rural industries together with sound health and education policies come up with local people's support and some heavy industries which manufacture goods using local natural resources come up as part of a larger development strategy there will be no fundamental change in the poverty-stricken region.
2. I am against the idea of SEZ. The Chinese experience is regrettable as it has produced dens of exploitation of migrant labour, women among other things. The Chinese started SEZ because they did not wish to allow foreign caitalists to enter all areas.Now they are everywhere in China and in our case the whole country is open to them. So the idea of granting tax concessions and anti-labour practices and even full power over law and order is wrong. People are resisting it in many places in India.
3. The clever statement on POSCO directly taking land from people will only facilitate mobilization of the local elite with money and favours against common people. Panchayats have the power under law to reject and three Panchayats have rejected the POSCO project. Democracy is not about formal procedures but substantive rational discussion at every level. The government is commercializing and criminalizing the entire process and we are in for a prolonged confrontation in Kujanga, Kalinganagar and Kashipur. After Maikanch and Kalinganagar firings the Nandigrm firings have shocked the whole country and now people will not allow wrong policies to be imposed with impunity by the governments.

Orissa is at crossroads of development and political choices and I am hopeful that more and more educated people will identify with the poor, but struggling masses of Orissa and advocate alternative pro-people strategy of development. All the best
Manoranjan Mohanty
-- Sachi Satapathy Coordinator, Orissa Politics Platform
Winner, Infosys Young Achiever's Finalist Award-2005 Mobile-(0)9901307460

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