Is Mittal Our God?

By Gladson Dungdung

Jharkhandmirror.org

15 January, 2010

L.N. Mittal

On 8 January, 2010, the media (forth realm of the democracy) reported us that the global steel giant Arcelor Mittal Company is all set to desert the state of Jharkhand and Orissa, where the company is not yet able to acquire land for its proposed mega steel plants because of the Adivasis’ protest against the land acquisition. On the next day, a leading daily of Jharkhand came up with a ‘special page’ on Mittal company apart from the auspicious front page story, which concludes with the final verdict “the God is ready to desert Jharkhand”. Of course, the story is not new as the Jharkhandi media carry out this kind of biased reports for the corporate houses regularly. 

In fact, when there is any kind of news in favour of the corporate houses, it always gets space in the front page but when the news is against of the corporate interest; it is either reported in unnoticeable manners or did not carried out at all. Ironically, it has been repeatedly done by the forth pillar of democracy, which is expected to be unbiased for the sake of democracy. As far as the Mittal Company is concerned, the media have always played a biased role. In July 2006, when L.N. Mittal the owner of the Arcelor Mittal Company had announced for its departure to the state of Orissa and played a dirty game for pressurizing the state government, the media told us the same thing that the ‘God is leaving the state’. The relevance questions are – Is Mittal our God? Are we incomplete without him and does Mittal really care about us?

The media houses have been attempting to coin L.N. Mittal as our (Jharkhandi people) god since the MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) was signed between the company and the Jharkhand government on October 8, 2005. The company has proposed for setting up a mega steel plant with the capacity of 12 million tones per annum at an estimated investment of Rs 40,000 crore. In addition to the steel plant, it has also proposed to set up a 2500 megawatt mega power plant and mining projects in the state. The company requires 25,000 acres of land and 20,000 unit water per hour for the mega steel plant and a township in Torpa-Kamdara region of Khunti and Gumla district. According to the original plan, the steel plant was to come up by the end of 2009 and the production would begin from 2012. Consequently, there would be a mass displacement as 256 villages would be affected therefore the Adivasis are protesting against it.  

However, the right from the beginning the media houses are playing a dubious role. The newspapers regularly reported that the company requires only 12 thousand acres of land and would provide job to 1 lack people in the state. The same newspapers are now reporting that the company requires 25 thousand acres of land for the plant, where 50 thousand people will get the jobs. The newspapers never report us that how the Mittal company has suppressed its own employees and thrown them out of the jobs when the company was in loss. A question comes to my mind is how can L.N. Mittal become our God who did not even spend a pie for India (which he claims as his own country) without self interest in his lifetime?

The Arcelor Mittal Company operates in 60 countries across the world and it has plants in 20 countries. In 2009, the company deserted thousands of its own employees across the globe. The demand of company’s steel had gone down to10 percent and its share fell down by 7 percent. The company had to cut production in Canada by 45 percent and axed 9,000 employees. It also cut the job of 1000 employees in lowest cost plant in Poland and shut down one out of its two blast furnaces in west Belgium. The Company was in the process to idle a plant in East Chicago and lay off another 400 workers. The company had total workforces of 3,26,000 which was cut down to 3,15,867 consequently, 10,133 people lost their jobs in the company by the end of October, 2009. Hence, the company has failed in protecting the rights of its own employees. In these circumstances, how can it give us the guarantee of jobs security in India and why our media do not bother to inform us about it? Do media run on coverage package of Mittal?  

Obviously, the Mittal Company has either purchased the media or influence in some other ways, which is of course resulting in the media’s exaggeration, manufacturing the consent and convincing people in favour of the company. The media exaggerated Mittal’s entry as a great achievement for the state and when the company threatened repeatedly to leave the state, the media coined it as the sky is going to fall in Jharkhad. The announcement of ITI was also projected as it would change the fate of the Adivasis. It was coined in such a manner that without Mittal, Adivasis of the region are beasts, uncivilized and sub-human. Finally, the CSR was propagated as it will change the fate of Jharkhand in over night. All these were done in complete planned manner to get the land by projecting Mittal as Messiah of Jharkhand therefore now when he has announced of shifting the project to the state of Karnata, the media keep telling us that the God is about to desert us therefore we should go to him, plead for not to leave us and surrender our ancestral lands for his steel plant.

Indeed, the Indian democracy is run by the corporate houses and the media is part of it. As far as the people especially the marginalized are concerned, they have only right to vote, which is also snatched by the threat of money, muscle and manipulation power. Of course, the corporate houses were not our god, they are not our god and they will never be our god. If they leave the state, we have nothing to lose but the politicians, who get huge money to buy the votes. However, the recent breaking news on ‘coverage package’ is the best example of how the forth realm of democracy is also on sale and betrays its own people. Should we still believe on the Media? If the media go on like this, we would have only choice to tell is ‘the media is of the corporate, for the corporate and by the corporate. Meanwhile, we are hopping that the Mittal also comes up with his own media house to manipulate the Adivasis’ lands but even after that he will never be our god.  

Gladson Dungdung is a Human Rights Activist and Writer from Jharkhand. He can be reached at gladsonhractivist@gmail.com



Categories: General

12 replies

  1. our media is entirely sold to the corporate world
    that is why we need to read you and others on countercurrents and dsector.org etc
    keep it up
    at least we know we are on the right side
    and our conscience is clear
    shyamala

  2. Mr. Dungdung ,you mentioned in this article “Of course, the story is not new as the Jharkhandi media carry out this kind of biased reports for the corporate houses regularly”.It should have been media of Jharkahnd.If it was Jharkahndi media it would have understood the sufferings and pains of millions of Adivasis who are living in pathetic condition till today because of the so called development projects.Most of the media houses are run by the people who are non-Jharkhandi,so how could you expect them not to be biased.

    The government needs our land,minerals,water and forest.Indeed for any state to develop there must be establishment of industries which can boost the economy of state.But is it the only way of development?There are many other ways which can bring development in a state.

    For an example….Most of the tribals of Jharkahnd are totally dependent on agriculture.So,the effort of the Government should have been to provide irrigation and cold storage facilities in every village and also the transporation facilities so that they can get the good value for the vegetables and fruits by transporting them in city market.

    The MP of Ranchi, Mr. Subodhkant Sahay is holding the post of the cabinet minister for Food Processing Industries since the last UPA regime.He could have provided Food Processing facilities in the villages of Ranchi which would require much smaller land compared to a Steel Plant.But I haven’t heard of a single food Processing plant being established in our state.Every year hundreds of truckloads of the manoges,tamarind and tomatoes and other fruits and vegetables are transported to other states where are processed and sold in overseas market at higher prices.

    So our politicians don’t implement those projects that would benefit our tribal comunity, rather they are interested in the projects which would boost their Swiss Bank balance . I appreciate all those tribals and social activists who did not budge away from their decision not to give land for Mittal’s steel plant amid lots of police pressure and threats.

  3. The current topic “Is Mittal our God?” is very apt and well argued.
    The problem with India is that all the well-off and well known people and institutions are on the side of the exploiters. The media is a disgrace, as you say. They never present the side of the common man.
    Mittal’s sole interest is money – he doesn’t care for the people. What will he do with it when he is dead?

    You have collected a lot of convincing evidence to bolster your claims and the case you make is logically sound. But those with the money and influence will not listen.
    Fellows like Manmihan Singh and Chidam have studied in the West and picked foriegn ideas and ideologies (like democracy, neo-liberalism, growth rate). When they return home, they imp[ose these ideas on a very different society -poor, backward and caste-infested. No wonder nothing works – these alien ideas have not been properly tested for local conditions, and Indian politicians are not bright enough to do adapt.
    My good wishes to you on the fine but thankless task you have been doing for ordinary people for a long time.

    Eddie

  4. Mittal is of course the god of those who rule Jharkhand, to whom he feeds golden jalebis. This includes the bourgeois media, who get a share in the spools.

    You? Who are you? What are you? Mere steel producers do not count.

    MD

  5. Dear Gladson,

    Yes..he is our God….atleast for those who are ruling the state including administrative officers. See they know that Mittal knows how to acquire existing businesses and mines by sharing the loot..They are sure about him and if he is treated like God…each one of these bastards can claim that they are doing every thing for the progress of the state and all those who do not want him to come are the enemies of the state.
    See the corrupt system has to project some one who is recognized world over to sell the state.
    I have never liked the idea of Mittals coming to the state.. My Mittals are all those who want the ore from the below the land of Jharkhand.
    I dont understand why every one in the govt is very active to take out mineral to develop the state…My view is to let the mineral remain inside the ground till every person gets good food, school and primary health. These can be obtained by agriculture, horticulture, fisheries and handicrafts…which can be done by villagers without leaving their home.
    The fine example is the expansion of Jharcraft , in the state. At present it is supporting 70,000 villagers who are busy making silk, weaving cloths, or making tribal so verniers . The progress is within 2-3 years and one single person The Director…of Jharcraft.
    Why cant the other IAS’s can do their jobs like this. Even if 50 of them ( though there are more than 500 officers) follow such programs honestly, all the problem of villages will be over.
    let the GOLD ( all ores) inside the land remain as a future security of Tribals..like rich people have gold, silver and diamond put in the bank lockers..

    RP

  6. And that is why, there is urgent need to explore all possibilities of a pro-people media. small magazines, local news papers of small scale , regional radio, net, twitter every forum should be utilized.
    all the best
    urmilesh

  7. In this context, as per my knowledge all the means of media, like Daily news paper, TV channel, Radio are owned or managed by big Corporate giants or by Powerful political parties within and outside the country. Today’s media medium is remotely controlled by business giants. Media presents the things before us accordingly to desire of powerful political parties or corporate house giant. Industrailists are never be God.

    Mahendra Purty
    New Delhi

  8. GREAT ARTICLE.
    THATS THE REAL WAY OF THINKING.
    STILL THE NEED OF THE HOUR IS MASS AWARENESS AT A WILD SPEED OTHERWISE EFFORTS OF PEOPLE WILL YIELD NOTHING AT THE END.
    ITS OK TO SATISFY SELF WITH PAMPERING IT BY SAYING WHAT WE DO IS ENOUGH.ALL OF US ARE SAME.
    I THINK A STRATEGY AT LARGE LEVEL IS STILL AWAITED TO REACH THE VIEWS OF PEOPLE LIKE YOU TO THE WORLD ALONG WITH SOME ACTIVISM PRACTICALLY TO STOP THIS WILDFIRE OF EXPLOITATION AND INJUSTICE.
    LETS HAVE JUST AND PEACEFUL WORLD FOR ALL WITH NO DISCRIMINATION.
    HOPE U TAKE MY VIEWS IN A POSITIVE MODE.
    YOUR BROTHER IN TRUTH AND JUSTICE.
    DR.IFTIKHAR

  9. Dear sir l have done bcom accounts hons mba with marketing and finance. I want to job in your company. As i belong to jharkand. Please sir give me one chance. I will prove myself. My contact no 9608179038. 9431338966

  10. Yes Godson, Mittal is your god. He is a British, Christian country resident. See, he is your God

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