Skip to main content

Jamshedpur: Abject deprivation of Sabars, a PVTG, finds no place in poll discussions

PVGT women in Jharkhand's Sabar villages
By Siraj Dutta*
A recent visit to a few Sabar villages in Jamshedpur Lok Sabha constituency’s Ghatshila block exposed the “double-engine” claims of the BJP. Raghuvar Das does not tire harping about how the state is developing under the BJP-led state and central governments (“double engine”). One of Jharkhand’s particularly vulnerable tribal groups (PVTG), the Sabars, continues to live in hunger and extreme deprivation. Both the MLA and MP of this area are from the BJP.

Denial of ration and social security pensions

According to Supreme Court’s orders, all PVTG households are entitled to Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) ration cards on which they are to get 35 kg of free grain every month. In Jharkhand, all PVTG households are also entitled to receive social security pension of Rs 600 per month (hiked to Rs 1,000 from April 2019, as per a recent announcement of the state government).
Despite these protections, Joba and Banawali Sabar of Basadora village barely survive on rice and salt. Like others in their hamlet, they depend on the forest and the odd manual labour jobs for their livelihood. A hard day’s labour gets them Rs. 200. They neither have a ration card nor do they get the PVTG pension, as neither of them has an Aadhaar (click here for testimony).
In the four villages that were visited, at least 45 of 106 families are not enrolled in the pension scheme. Several of them also do not have Aadhaar (for testimony of such families of Basadora click here).
Malnourished child, Chhotadanga
Holudboni’s Sombari and Bhushen Sabar are denied ration and pension as they do not have aadhaar. Sombari is ill since a month. The block hospital did not conduct any test and just prescribed vitamin supplements. She continues to shiver, suffers with fever and has progressively become weaker (see testimony here).
Kishori and Malti Sabar of Holudboni are also denied their pensions as they do not have aadhaar (see testimony here). Phulmani Sabar of the same village is old and stays alone. Neither does she have a ration card nor is she enrolled for pension. Lack of Aadhaar may be a reason for this (see testimony here).

Destitution and malnutrition

The Sabar families live in dilapidated one-room houses, built by the government years ago. Most members of the community are severely undernourished. In Jharkhand, children are to get three eggs per week in Anganwadis and two eggs per week in the school mid-day meals. But children of Basadora do not get eggs in the local Anganwadi and only one egg per week in the school.
In Chhotodanga, Malti Sabar’s 23-day old daughter weighs just 1.8kg. She was kept in the baby unit at the block hospital for five days and discharged with a bottle of vitamin syrup. While medical attention from the Anganwadi worker and the doctor at the hospital may see the baby through, her condition exposes the hunger and malnourishment of the mother. The family survives hand to mouth existence.
Most of the families did not get any work in the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) in the last one year. Many also do not want to work under the programme because of the delays in payment of wages.
Destitution at Basadora

Lack of education

Hardly any adult of the visited villages is literate. According to the census 2011, only 21% of Sabar adults in Jharkhand are literate. The government seems to have made no special effort to improve the dismal rate of literacy in this community. Govardhan Sabar and Ravi Sabar of Chhotodanga dropped out of primary school as they were harassed by non-PVTG students.

Yet to get political attention

Jamshedpur goes to polls on May 12. The abject deprivation of the Sabar community finds no place in electoral discussions. Will the opposition Mahagathbandhan wake up to seek accountability from the double-engined BJP on questions of Sabars in the election season?
---
*With Jharkhand Janadikar Mahasabha

Comments

TRENDING

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam*
RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

India under Modi among top 10 autocratizing nations, on verge of 'losing' democracy status

By Rajiv Shah
A new report, prepared by a top Swedish institute studying liberal democracy, has observed that there has been a sharp “dive in press freedom along with increasing repression of civil society in India associated with the current Hindu-nationalist regime of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.” The report places India among the top 10 countries that “have autocratized the most”. Other countries that have been identified for rolling towards autocracy are -- Hungary, Turkey, Poland, Serbia, Brazil, Mali, Thailand, Nicaragua and Zambia.

RSS supremo Deoras 'supported' Emergency, but Indira, Sanjay Gandhi 'didn't respond'

By Shamsul Islam*
National Emergency was imposed on the country by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on June 25-26, 1975, and it lasted for 19 months. This period is considered as ''dark times' for Indian democratic polity. Indira Gandhi claimed that due to Jaiprakash Narayan's call to the armed forces to disobey the 'illegal' orders of Congress rulers had created a situation of anarchy and there was danger to the existence of Indian Republic so there was no alternative but to impose Emergency under article 352 of the Constitution.

Letter to friends, mentors: Coming together of class, communal, corona viruses 'scary'

By Prof (Dr) Mansee Bal Bhargava*
COVID greetings from Ahmedabad to dear mentors and friends from around the world…
I hope you are keeping well and taking care of yourself besides caring for the people around you. I’m writing to learn how is the science and the society coping with the prevention and cure of the pandemic. I’m also writing to share the state of the corona virus that is further complicated with the long-standing class and communal viruses.

Hurried nod to Western Ghat projects: 16 lakh Goans' water security 'jeopardised'

Counterview Desk
Taking strong exception to "virtual clearances" to eco-sensitive projects in the Western Ghats, the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) in a statement has said urged for a review of the four-lane highway, 400 KV transmission line and double tracking of the railway line through the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary and Mollem National Park in Goa.

Disturbing signal? Reliance 'shifting focus' away from Indian petrochemical sector

By NS Venkataraman*
Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), a large Indian company, has expanded and grown in a spectacular manner during the last few decades, like of which no industrial group in India has performed before. RIL is now involved in multi various activities relating to petroleum refineries, petrochemicals, oil and gas exploration, coal bed methane, life sciences, retail business, communication network, (Jio platform) media/entertainment etc.

Case for nationalising India's healthcare system amidst 'strong' private control

Counterview Desk
A draft discussion note, prepared by Dr Maya Valecha, a Gujarat-based gynecologist and activist, sent to the People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) as also a large number of activists, academics and professionals as an email alert, is all set to create a flutter among policy experts for its strong insistence on nationalizing India’s healthcare system.

Oxfam on WB project: ICT 'ineffective', privatised learning to worsen gender divide

By Rajiv Shah 
A top multinational NGO, with presence in several developed and developing countries, has taken strong exception to the World Bank part-funding Strengthening Teaching-Learning and Results for States (STARS) project in six Indian states – Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Odisha – for its emphasis on information and communication technology (ICT)-enabled approaches for teacher development, student assessment and digital platform for early childhood education.

Coal blocks for tycoons: Rinchi village tribals may be declared forest land encroachers

By Gladson Dungdung*
On June 18, 2020, the Government of India initiated the process for auctioning 41 coal blocks for commercialisation. These coal blocks are located in different states within India and most of them fall under Fifth Schedule areas. The Indian government claims that their decision to auction these coal areas is a big step towards making the country Atmanirbhar Bharat (self-reliant) in the energy sector.