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

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BIHAR

Marachi Massacre Arun Sinha THE ease with which a mahanth's mercenaries gunned down four women farm workers in Marachi hamlet of Hilsa "block in Nalanda district on November 27 goes to show the power of the feudal lords in the Bihar countryside. In a typically clever move, these mercenaries filed a counter-report with the police charging that the victims, along with thousands of others, had invaded the mahanth's farm to loot his ripe paddy crop and had fired "hun- dreds of shots" at them. It is surprising, to say the least, that all these shots missed the target. Two days after the killings when I visited Marachi, there was no trace of any of these shots to be found anywhere. The mahanth\s people were all hale and hearty.

BIHAR-Troubles of Gandak Project

October 18, 1975 collaborative defence, research schemes, the proposals for which emanate from various defence agencies In the US, are routed through ARPA "to ensure proper co-ordination''. According to an article in New Scientist (August 8, 1974), quoted in the PAC report, "ARPA is an elite group of civilian scientists conducting high risk research and development of a revolutionary nature in areas where defence technology in the ITS appears to he falling behind or in areas where the US cannot afford the risk of falling behind.'' ARPA was responsible for evolving a herbicide war- fare programme under the guise of food technology research. ARPA financed a GCMU-like project in Burma in 1907 before GCMU was set up in New Delhi. It was ARPA again which eon- ducted a blood group survey in south India and in other Asian countries. This survey was related to the development of ethnic weapons by exploiting genetically related susceptibilities and intolerances in order to use germ or chemical weapons selectively against certain populations. The New Scientist also revealed that within ARPA is a project called AGILE, a counter-insurgency research programme responsible for opening up limited warfare technologies. When the PAC drew the attention of the Ministry of Defence to project AGILE and asked whether the Ministry was aware of such activities of ARPA before entering into an understanding with it, the Ministry stated in a written note: "ARPA is the advanced research project agency of the US Defence Department. This agency is responsible for the support of research projects with well-recoguised centres for research both in the US and abroad. From the records available to us, it appears that in 1967 when the clearance for the BNHS project was given on a technical point, our organisation was not aware of the project AGILE supported by ARPA." The official response to the PAC Report has been that it is the carelessness of certain ministries and heads of national research organisations such as the ICMR and NICD and the lack of co-ordination between different government organisations which are to blame for what has happened. The solution to the situation has, therefore, been seen to be to institute reviewing committees to study the agreements signed between the Indian Government and WHO and between WHO and the US government, and to devise administrat ive reforms to improve co-ordination among ministries and government departments, In July 1974 when the journalists, who played a key role in exposing the 'research' projects in question, began to doubt the real character of these projects, they were confronted by a wall of bureaucratic silence. The ICMR and the Ministry of Health were unwilling to answer questions regarding the projects. The DG-ICMR refused to divulge information on the plea that press reports about the GCMU's activi- BIHAR AN ordinance is expected soon in Bihar which will empower the government to take over any piece of land necessary for the execution of its river valley projects. In this connection, it is the Gandak project which the authorities primarily have in mind. Under the provisions of the proposed ordinance, the government will be able at short notice to acquire land in the project command areas by paying to the landowner 50 per cent of the price immediately, The remaining 50 per cent will have to be paid in instalments then after. The price of land will depend on the locally prevalent price and the category of land. It is evidently the delay in the acquisition of land for the work on the Gandak project that has motivated the ordinance. The Gandak project has in fact suffered much and repeatedly on this count. Owners have been often unwilling to part with their land in the command areas. They have haggled with the project authorities on the question of land maps and have resorted to litigation when the authorities have refused to accept falsified records. The court takes its own time in settling the matter. Even undisputed acquisition tab's at least a couple of years.

BIHAR- More Laws against Bonded Labour

October 11, 1975 mission. In 1973-74 the cost of production (including interest on loans) per tonne went up to Rs 154.42 as against the average sales realisation of Rs 141.74. During 1974-75 the gap widened further. The Committee also notes that the Corporation has not maintained an integrated system of cost and financial accounts. The standard cost per unit of final output including quan- titative consumption standards of limestone, gypsum, power, coal and explosives has been laid down. But standards in physical terms for consumption of stores and spares per tonne of limestone raised, clinker and cement production per unit are yet to be finalised. The Committee has recommended an exa- mination of the financial position of the company.

BIHAR- Housing the Poor Dismal Performance

SLUMS Economies and Diseconomies of 'Clearance' D N Moorty THE recent demolition of slums situated on municipal lands, has been depicted at times as a step towards the eradication of these ghettoes of filth and misery. The Municipal Corporation has initiated demolition proceedings in five out of 18 wards. Some two lakhs of slum population have been affected

THE BIHAR FLOODS

September 6, 1975 ed bund. Hundreds of villagers flocked into the town. Thousands of others sat inside make-shift shelters on the embankment. By August 2, much of Musahari Block had become inaccessible by land, as had several other Blocks in the districts of Muzafiarpur, Champaran, Sitamarhi, Samastipur, Darbhanga and MadhubanL Musahari received priority in relief

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