Farmers and Industry Battle over Land { 168 images } Created 22 Oct 2009

In the era of liberalization and privatization, a sizeable number of mineral processing industries are coming to invest in the mineral rich state of Orissa. As a result, there is a large involuntary population displacement of the marginalized sections including tribals. There is a resistance leading to agitation by 'already' and 'potential' displaced persons resulting in state's brutal suppression, as in the case of TATA at Kalinganagar, Vedanta at Lanjigarh and POSCO at Jagatsinghpur.

India's farmers, mostly poor, malnourished and illiterate, have suddenly found themselves in possession of the country's scarcest resource. In Orissa, 14 different industrial projects, valued at well over $35 billion, have hiccupped and then completely stalled because people have refused to give up their land. Four of the biggest projects - including the POSCO plant - could displace as many as 50,000 people, the United Nation Development Programme estimated in 2008. And all across India, some 190 different projects - including more than 70 government sponsored infrastructure projects like roads and railway lines - have been frozen, as landowners have balked at the prices the government and industry offers, protested over the speed with which the government has sent surveyors and police to acquire land and rejected the grubby houses, cheap land and uncertain jobs that companies have offered as compensation for their displacement.

With my current project, am trying to document people's relationship with their land and their emotional attachment to it. Their struggle is an example of such struggles all across India and I feel my work is an important means to carry the message of their courage, determination and dignity. This body of work highlights the injustices inflicted on deprived communities who confront many deeply entrenched, industry sanctioned and politically supported structures.
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