Rejecting the NMDC’s decision of disinvestment in its plants and demanding employment opportunities to the Adivasis who gave off the land to NMDC, SC/ST Employees association of NMDC NISP Nagarnar plant wrote to the head of National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC).
The letter appealed the head of NMDC to reconsider the decision of privatizing the Nagarnar steel plant. It said that till now 2100 acres of land was collected through district administration for the construction of the steel plant and works are underway in the project. Out of 1365 families of farmers who gave up the lands, only 303 persons got employed and the rest are making rounds NMDC for employment.
As already 14000 crores of money have been invested into the plant, the association questioned the corporation’s decision of privatizing the plant.
“The central government’s slogan ‘sab ka saat sab ka vikas’, is not reflected in the lives of the poor farmers in Bastar” and said that the association will fight against privatization of the plant in all possible ways. It also said that all sections of people in Bastar will unite together and do not let the private parties to take up the plant for which the lands of their ancestors are used.
The Nagarnar Plant, a greenfield steel plant in Chhatisgarh was conceived as a project that could offer employment to local tribal population. However, in December 2016, Niti Aayog suggested strategic disinvestment of the Rs 15,000-crore in the plant. With the NMDC giving nod to the proposal, situations of unrest emerged among employees and job aspirants concerned about their future.
Speaking to Newsclick, Maheswar Nag, President of SC/ST Employees association of NMDC NISP, Nagarnar outrightly rejected the NMDC’s decision of both disinvestment and privatization.
He said “more than seventy percent of lands collected for the plant by NMDC belongs to adivasis. While the land was collected multiple times in 2001 and 2010, Government and NMDC couldn’t keep up to their promises of providing fair compensation and offering employment to project affected families”
“The tribals have given their lands to NMDC as it is a public enterprise considering that the youth will get employment. The sudden decision to privatize the plant despite its proper functioning will not be accepted”, he added.
NMDC's two workers' unions, Steel Sramik Union (SSU) and Sanjukta Mazdoor Sangathan have been protesting against privatization of the plant since December last year.