ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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BIHAR- A Labourer Goes to Court

September 11, 1976 fruit, while the average cost of producing one tonne of processed fruits in this region is nearly 10 per cent higher than that in the country as a whole". The paper ruled out terracing as an effective answer to the problem of shifting cultivation. Without soil survey, terracing would he unwise because of its heavy cost and risk of landslides. Moreover, not even one per cent of the territory of the NE region had been properly surveyed till the middle of 1972. Only slopes with a width of 15-20 feet could be used for bench-terraced cultivation. According to Misra, it was doubtful whether such a large land mass for bench-terraced cultivation was available in the region to substitute completely the 4,57,000 hectares under .shifting cultivation. And even if everything went well, it was douhtful whether the tribal producers would be be- nefited by the tremendous growth of cash crops. Already the NE Hill region had been producing cash crops for a long time without accruing to itself any benefit. According to Misra, the idea that Jhuming or shifting cultivation yielded low output was a myth. In 1971-72, the yield from Tripura Jhum cultivation and the all-India average was, respectively, 1151 kg and 1145 kg per hectare. "It is the cash nexus with the rest of the [Indian] economy entered by them through the production of cash crops and borrowing of money that tends to impoverish them.'' But this observation remained unelaborated either in quantitative or in qualitative terms.

BIHAR- How Bokaro s Builders Live

BECO ENGINEERING has secured an industrial licence for diversification of machine-tool production at the Ballah- garh plant., It has been authorised now to manufacture pipe-threading inn- chines, flame hardening equipment facing lathes, special purpose lathes, and double-column planning machines. Meanwhile, the order position for machine- tools is satisfactory. The company has recently received orders from UK for export of machine tools worth Rs 65 lakhs. The market for rolled products, which was somewhat depressed, is also now showing signs of revival. The company has taken steps to diversify the range of products of the rolling mill too. During 1975, Beco's production of rolled products, including bright liars, was 8,335 tonnes as against 9,936 tonnes during the previous yean Power restrictions in the earlier part of the year and recessionary trend in the economy were responsible for lower production. Production of castings and forgings was also lower at 875 tonnes, against 96-1 tonnes previously. Although sales were lower, the company earned a higher gross profit, and was able to resume payment of equity dividend with a recommendation of 6' per cent.

BIHAR- Exploited Builders of Bokaro

 The expected contribution from this source is placed at Its 10 to Rs 15 cro- res per annum. Similarly, all government licencees, contractors, and others who benefit from government sanctions and permissions are being approached in groups by the state Directorate of Small Savings and Lotteries to become .regular contributors to small savings. It appears that small savings contributions will become and added qualification for award of contracts and licences.

BIHAR-Elite Uses of Minority Status

 rats in the field for which they are paid something between 30 and 50 paise per rat, their livelihood is quite closely allied to the existence of a rodent problem. This is one reason why the benefits to the farmer from control overstate the social benefits; another, perhaps a more substantial reason, is the ability of rats to migrate.4 Reduction of losses due to rodents is not of much social value if the control method merely results in the rats migrating to a neighbour's field with only a minimal reduction in the rodent population.5 The only effective method of alleviating the rodent problem is on a communal basis. A control programme is just being started in Hyderabad district by the Andhra Pradesh Agricultural University in collaboration with Agricultural extension officers and pan- chayat officials. The programme, per- Jps rather ambitiously, is designed to cover the whole district within the next year and it will be of great significance if this experimental project establishes that the high degree of co-operation and co-ordination required, right down to household level, is in fact obtainable.

BIHAR-Pitfalls of Compulsion

Pitfalls of Compulsion Arun Sinha ALTHOUGH the winds of compulsory sterilisation are blowing over many parts of the country, in Bihar the extreme measure has been advised against for the present The major reason is that medical facilities in the rural areas of Bihar are very meagre. Though smallpox has been nearly eradicated, epidemies like polio, malaria and kalazar still haunt several areas. The infant mortality rate in Bihar is 140 per thousand. "We cannot enforce compulsory sterilisation'',, says a deputy director of family planning, "unless the poor are guaranteed that their two or three children will have a normal life expectancy.'' So, before thinking of using compulsion "we will have to take consibility of protecting children at least up to the age of five years from fatal diseases. Also, we should provide sufficient nutrition to both the children and the mothers in the poor families".

BIHAR-Industrial Blues

price. Yet, the Petroleum Ministry appears to find much satisfaction in the fact that, as a result of ''rigorous management combined with perspective planning'', consumption of petroleum product during the year increased by only 2.2 per cent compared to average annual increase of nine per cent in the past. True, after the world oil crisis broke out late in 1973, there was a flurry of activity to restrain consumption, and consumption was brought down by three per cent in 1974 compared to the 1973 level. But efforts in this direction were relaxed afterwards and 'normal' increases in consumption of 'oil

BIHAR-Protection on Paper

 the introduction of the bill but they were overruled by the Deputy Speaker, Farrok Pasha. Banatwala objected to the measure on the grounds that it contravened article 25 of the Constitution and that it was against the religious tenets of Muslims and Christians, Earlier, in the discussion on the resolution calling on the government to enforce compulsory sterilisation for persons with three or more living children, Banatwala had said that such a measure would not be either "national or secular". He pointed out that the state government had not carried out any scientific demographic studies to justify compulsory sterilisation. He also argued that the country's problems were those of a developing economy

BIHAR-Death of a Share-cropper

BIHAR Death of a Share-cropper Arun Sinha CROP-SHARING being conventionally a verbal contract, the peasant is all the time walking on a tight rope. A mere wave of the landlord's hand means ejectment and penury. Working in such conditions, the share-croppers of Tilkari village in the Kharagpur block of Monghyr district are pitted against a lew absentee landlords. Notable among these landlords is Deoki Mandal who, according to a non-official claim, owns 5,000 acres of land. In Tilkari he has 125 bighas. Land in Tilkari, one-half of whose population of 2,500 depends on -sharing, is classified as the most fertile in Monghyr district. This deserves to be noted, for Monghyr is known for its poor agriculture; while its northern part is annually visited by floods, the south is plagued by droughts. The peasants of Monghyr are very poor, only a little better off than the rural tribal workers. Wages for agriculture work are very low: by convention 1.25 seers of coarse grains a day.

BIHAR-Platitudes on Flood Control

exactly implies. The ceiling laws lay down the ceiling on ownership of land and the procedures for the determination of the surplus land, its acquisition by the state and its distribution among the landless and the poor peasantry. In spite of the lowering of the ceiling under the present ceiling laws, landowners have so far declared as surplus hardly six lakh acres. The question is whether the deadline of June 30 for the implementation of ceiling laws will be considered to have been met if just these six lakh "surplus" acres are acquired and redistributed or does the scope of the commitment extend to the acquisition and distribution of all the surplus land that can become available once fictitious and benami transfers and other devices to evade ceiling are finally thwarted.

DHANBAD-Moneylenders Reign of Terror

January 17, 1976 DHANBAD Moneylenders' Reign of Terror Arun Sinha SHE was pregnant, but did not look young; her face was wrinkled and scarred and she had black rings under her eyes. "I borrowed Rs 400 some years ago I have paid Rs 4,800 as interest", the haggard woman worker spoke up before the deputy collector. "I cannot do otherwise. I cannot say no," She threw up her hands, folded them in the air, and said, her lips violently quivering: "Only death will save me, Balm!". The moneylenders of Dhanbad are all-powerful. Their writ runs across the entire coal belt. Moneylenders are often men of many "Parts. Tin's one, at the Tetulia colliery of Bharat Coking Coal (BCCL), where this woman works, has been a trade union leader, an employee of BCCL, as well as a successful moneylender. As an employee he receives a sizeable salary, as a union leader he commands union funds, but it is as a moneylender that he does roaring business. On paydays, he brings home gunny bags stuffed with notes. Among his clientele is Sohar Bhuyan, a middle-aged worker, who a decade ago took a loan of Hs 200, By the end of 1975, Bhuyan told the deputy collector, the moneylender had extorted Rs 9,600 as interest. ''I give him Rs 20 every week", Bhuyan said "and yet he is not satisfied". In December last the moneylender had turned up one day and ordered Bhuyan to hand over Rs 1,650 Which, he claimed, was the "unpaid Balance". Bhuyan was dumbfounded. "He said if I didn't manage to pay the money, he will beat me, and even kill me" Bhuyan had no douht that the warning was no idle threat. He had been beaten and tortured in the past.

BIHAR-The Chasnala Tragedy

January 10, 1976 BIHAR The Chasnala Tragedy Arun Sinha IN coal-rich Dhanbad, near which 372 miners, according to official figures, died of drowning in the deluged Chas- nala colliery last week, there stands a 'safety' hoarding every few yards. Most walls bear slogans which assure the miners: "Your life is most precious". At some places, the hoardings are faded. But that is no problem: a slogan-writer can be summoned in minutes from Dhanbad to put up fresh paint. Painters, who abound in the coal city, make a good living out of painting hoardings. There is one problem, though; they inscribe their slogans in English and Hindi, neither of which language the unschooled miners under- ed. 'Safety weeks' too are organised regularly. Mine disasters and deaths are all too frequent, however. Yet the coalminers are not deterred

PATNA- Innocents at a Conference

Innocents at a Conference Arun Sinha WHILE the delegates to the inter- national anti-fascist conference in Patna slept in their beds, hundreds of sweepers struggled through chilly nights to give the city's streets a clean look. After toiling for seven dark hours, the scavengers would collect Rs 4.25 each and manage their food at least for the following day. Several hours earlier, the delegates to the conference had had their sumptuous meals at the city's best bar-cum-restaurant whose billboard introduced the place as a hotel. The common people gaped with awe at the cars, the jeeps and the vans which were parked outside the bar. Automobiles were never seen in such large numbers in Patna: for a week the city resounded to hoots of horns and the streets were choked at more than one point. A knowledgeable source estimated that at least 300 vehicles had been mobilised for the conference

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