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Saturday, February 11, 2012

Issues Ailing Jharkhand

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An article by Latika Mishra 
Amid cheers from the crowd and many unattended issues, Jharkhand  celebrated  its 12th statehood day in november, last year. Many schemes were announced and eight mega projects were inaugurated with a hope for a better tomorrow. With a will to make women empowered the theme declared for the year was ‘Bitiya-Varsh’. 

Map of Jharkhand

In the eleventh year of the formation of the state scores of issues continue to hamper the speed of the development in the state. The issues range from the everyday scams that surface in the news, poverty, hunger and malnutrition that doom the health, maoist activities that create unnecessary terror resulting into the loss of armed forces and infrastructure.

With a vow to eradicate corruption from the political machinery, Chief Minister Arjun Munda assured the execution of the project within the set time frame. But four days after the celebration yet another scam: Jatropha cultivation scam appeared in the news.

Arjun Munda: Chief Minister Of Jharkhand

In absence of skill-training women in the rural areas are forced to migrate to cities and many times out of state to work as construction, mining and stone workers, domestic servants and agricultural labours. It is needed that more self help groups would emerge that could help them in binding to their home districts, that could check illicit trafficking of girls and women and children being victims of forced labour.

Poverty is the basic cause of all social vices. Low average per capita is associated with a high degree of income inequality. Disparity of income distribution between the rural and urban areas in the state is startling and this accounts from the high incidence of poverty in the rural areas. Equitable distribution of resources and income is needed to bridge the gap.

Garhwa and Palamau are districts in which impoverished families forced to eat roots due to the drought have been in the news last year. This year too fluoride in water that caused fluorosis was in news and led the union minister Jairam Ramesh to intervene into the scene. Being a mineral rich state, unwanted minerals in the groundwater used for drinking purpose is a common problem here.

Worsened situation of women in the state add to the plight of Infant and Childcare in the rural and backward areas of the state. Cases of alcoholism and domestic violence prevalent among tribal men ruin the family most often and the responsibility to eek out livelihood burdens woman folk that further worsens the infant and childcare in the state. It has been proved that tying of infants on backs hamper their development and thereby health.

Newspapers report that cases of AIDS and Malaria are on rise in the state. Existing superstitions also block the health care services in the state. Many deny the free service of the sahiya in-lieu of the suspicion regarding the quality of the medicines that are provided free of cost.

Still half of the population is illiterate in the state. Mid-day meal scheme is carried out to pull out idle minds out of the doors of their houses but the results to speak of success are yet to be noticed.

The over exploitation of fossil-fuel is due to the coal mafia active in the state. Despite the state being mineral rich agriculture continues to be the mainstay of the locals here. Jharkhand is the largest producer of lac and lac-cultivation has the potential to aid to the economy of the villagers as it can be carried alongside. Chattisgarh has emerged as the leading producer of lac despite the presence of NINGR (National Institute of Natural Gums and Resins), their policy is needed to be understood. Other allied agricultural activities needs encouragement at the block level that can act as subsistence in case of droughts.

Declining forest belt due to illegal tree felling is alarming due to climate concerns of the day. This is happening due to alleged association of forest officials and mafia that operate together behind the screen.

Illegal land acquiring practices that have been prevailing in the region from time immemorial result into displacement of the original inhabitants, in absence of any legal document to prove ownership. Due to absence of laws, the possible fear reins the minds of locals regarding possible risks after displacement: landlessness, homelessness, food insecurity, increased morbidity and mortality, loss of access of common property and social disarticulation.  Industries are prevented from establishing their foothold in the state due to displacement issues blocks high investment flow, rising employment opportunities and increasing service based sectors. 

The state was carved with rosy dreams for bright future of the tribals. But the slow rate of development presents a picture of sorry state of affairs in the state. 

Many languages are on the verge of extinction for the failure of recording the words and discord on the choice of scripts between the native speakers. The linguistics authorities across the world needs to be alienated and consulted.

Human Rights have been denied to the tribals from a long time by the ‘sadans’ that have settled here. Overexploitation, bonded labour, child-labour continue to exist despite the stern laws that have been enacted off-late. Children of lower background are denied basic rights and are forced to work in hotels, motels and other industries.

From the sports point of view, Jharkhand has promising potential in its youth to act as sport professionals, as evident from the National Games 2011 and sportspersons need encouragement. But media reports that they are harassed by the officials and their job recruitment is delayed often.

The state has undergone a rapid change in the past decade as the old machinery of the then existing Bihar has been uprooted and Jharkhand has recently started functioning from the lower level after the long waited parliamentary elections. The ailing issues of Jharkhand can be dealt only by proper publicizing in the incoming years.

Key Words: Jharkhand,statehood, Arjun Munda,landlessness, displacement, tribal

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