Railway Expansion
Displaces Villagers

A railway development project in Bihar puts an entire village in danger of displacement without adequate rehabilitation plans. Just last week, IndiaUnheard broadcast a story on a controversial mega dam project being planned in Manipur that would affect the lives of 40,000 people. Now, here is a similar video about a Central Railway development scheme in Bihar, where railway tracks are being constructed through the homes of a village. Varsha questions the sustainability of such projects, which are geared towards development but which do not take into account the people that might be affected. The project has been in the pipeline for just less than a decade and proposes the building of a railway from Haziput to Patna. Out of the 5000 households which would be affected in the village of Jalalpur, 450 decided to fight for their rights and filed complaints with the town, district and state offices. They did this with the help of various NGOs, including the Bihar Dalit Vikas Samiti, Ekta Parishad and Zheggi Jhopadhi Sangarsh Morcha, which Varsha has personally worked with in the past. Over the years, each time the construction was initiated, the villagers would air their grievances at the High Court and the Central Railway would receive a temporary stay order. This time, the High Court has ordered that the villagers be resettled within four months, and only after that is the railway construction allowed to resume. As expressed in the video, the inhabitants of Jalalpur - mostly daily wage labourers - are not against the building of a railway track. What they would like, though, is for these decisions to involve them as well. Leave a comment if you like this post. If you want to see more of Varsha's videos, click here.
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