DGP defines the road to peace, if Chhattisgarh govt takes it

Chhattisgarh DGP Ramniwas's stress on land reforms and a check on illegal acquisition follows a Bilaspur High Court notice to the state government and Korba West Power Company Ltd for illegally acquiring land of tribals for a plant. The court action came on a PIL filed by journalist Alok Prakash Putul, who had reported that the company had first got some BPL tribals to fraudulently buy land worth crores from other tribals and then illegally got a power of attorney from the buyers with the support of government officials. The tribals both buying and selling were reportedly clueless about the deal.

Last year, The Indian Express had reported how companies were acquiring land across Chhattisgarh by bypassing laws. In one instance, the authorised land agent of the health minister was among government officials arrested for the fraud, while the home minister's son was implicated for transferring the land of tribals to a company.

The DGP's admission that the "builder-bureaucrat-politician nexus" in Chhattisgarh has created a whole "new class of landlords" that tramples over the rights of Bastar tribals is a stern reminder to the Raman Singh government.

Significantly, the officer's concerns constitute the core demands of Maoists and, for one, police and the rebels are on the same side. But if "rampant plotting" has affected the "economic and agricultural scenario" and created a law and order crisis, what prevents the government from arresting the trend? If the anodyne for tribal discontent is so clearly prescribed, why not swiftly take the pill?

Possibly as an effect of the Aam Aadmi Party's emergence, Raman Singh recently announced "zero tolerance for corruption", and launched a helpline for all such complaints and assured immediate action. Instead of introducing any number to dial, the chief minister could have begun from his own ministerial council. He could also have introspected, and checked the companies that received coal blocks and iron ore leases recommended by the mining department, which he is in charge of. Some such cases are being probed by the CBI, some pending in the Supreme Court.

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