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

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Refugees-Endless Waiting

Refugees-Endless Waiting

FOR more than ten years now, the East Bengal refugees at the transit camp at Mana, Madhya Pradesh, have waited. They were promised arable land in the so-called Dandakaranya Project, they were promised facilities, they were promised irrigation water, a house site for each family, a stable future. None of these matured. The Project, about which at one time much was being written, remains still-born. Administrators have come and gone in quick succession, considerable funds have been frittered away, but the arable plots have remained a distant dream. It is rocky, unfriendly terrain; the topography is all what East Bengal never was, or is. The only possibility of agriculture is by clearing the bush. Most of the bushy areas are however under the occupation of the Adivasis. The jungle provides them their livelihood: lumbering, quarrying, hunting, and some quantity of jhum cultivation. It was cynical to ask the refugees to clear the Adivasi land and get themselves settled. Naturally, not much progress has been made in the past fifteen years. The dispossessed and uprooted were set, deliberately or otherwise, against the under-privileged, down- trodden ones.

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