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Industries a bane for Bihar villages


Payal Bhattar,CNN-IBN
Jun 19, 2007 at 09:59pm IST

(Gaya) Bihar/ (Jharsuguda) Orissa: 200 kilometers from one of India's poorest districts, Kalahandi, is western Orissa's industrial hub - Sambalpur.

In the vicinity lies Jharsuguda district where many large corporations have either set up units or are buying land. Near a large steel unit is a village where the steel company purchased 400 acres of agricultural and barren land two years ago.

Now villagers claim the company is dumping lose industrial waste here. The impact - a mound of industrial waste now adorns an erstwhile flat area.

And even as the company shows no sign of easing up on dumping industrial waste, the waste is mounting and falling on to the roads, on crops and even in the village's water sources, contaminating the water.

All this allegedly, without farmers even receiving the entire money due to them for the sale of the land.

A few kilometers away, another large corporation purchased agricultural land a year ago and the story is the same here with villagers claiming they are still waiting to be paid for the land.

The sorry tale is repeated in Jharkhand andd Bihar, where villagers have the same sad stories to tell.

About 400 kilometers from Sambalpur is Jharkhand's capital, Ranchi. The inadequate infrastructure in the city is in stark contrast to the clean and green highways around it.

The highway between Ranchi and Bodh Gaya is a pleasant and somewhat surprising reminder of the highways in western India - courtesy the huge influx of Buddhist tourists that fly to Ranchi and then travel to Bodh Gaya by road.

About 10 kilometers away from the city of enlightenment is Gaya where the basic amenities are missing and people are still waiting for roads and electricity.

Without roads, there can be no public transport and apart from the two or three trains daily that connect them to Gaya - a journey which takes seven minutes by train and almost five hours by foot - there is no real concept of public transport here.

And here too - like in many places in India - villagers are resisting selling their fertile lands for an ethanol unit.

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