Jharsuguda (Orissa), Jul 13: After backing tribals of Niyamgiri in Orissa who had opposed Vedanta's mining project, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi today said people facing displacement by the Posco steel project should get justice, proper compensation and rehabilitation.
“Congress is with the people to provide them justice. Development is essential, but the project affected people should be provided proper compensation and rehabilitation,” Gandhi said during an interaction with tribals at a youth conference here.
“If Posco provides proper rehabilitation to the affected people then we will be with Posco. If it fails to do so, we will be with the agitating people fighting for justice,” he said.
The Nehru-Gandhi scion said he had earlier visited Niyamgiri hills in Kalahandi district to be part of the tribal agitating against bauxite mining there.
To a question about alleged non-payment of compensation to land-losers of Brajarajnagar coal mines area near here, Gandhi said Congress was with the people in their quest for justice.
Stating that the Communists opposed development and liberalisation, and the BJP only thought of development of rich, he said it was the Congress which always thought for the development of common people and their interest. The fruits of development should reach the common man without any bias, Gandhi said.
To a query on the BJD government in Orissa, he said Congress could provide funds from Delhi and development schemes for the welfare of tribals, but it was the duty of the state to implement them.
“If you are not happy with the present government, fight at the ground level, stage dharnas, agitation and change the government through the ballot,” Gandhi said. Stating that Orissa was rich in natural resources, but the people were poor, he said some states were progressing fast, but states like Orissa, Jharkhand and Chhattishgarh were moving backward.
Gandhi also urged tribal women to form self help groups and take the advantage of various schemes for their development. In an interaction with tribal youths, Gandhi said tribal youths should not tolerate injustice and come forward to lead their own community with the Youth Congress providing a platform for them.
“Leadership is lacking among adivasi youths. Do not tolerate injustice, come forward to take the leadership for your own community,” Gandhi told in an interaction with youths after arriving here from Kotpad in Koraput district.
Adivasis were being exploited and not given their due share in development, he said, adding that they should join politics and monitor their own development.
Stating that the Youth Congress would provide them proper leadership training for a better tomorrow, he said “the Youth Congress has changed the election pattern with grassroot workers to elect their own leaders.
“I appeal to tribal youths to join the Youth Congress and fight the upcoming Youth Congress organisational election.
Congress will provide you scope to become a perfect leader,” Gandhi said. PTI