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BHEETA MAATI: our soil, our earth, our home: A Report on Baliapal Missile Base and People’s Struggle

15 Aug 1988

The agitation by farmers in Baliapal and Bhograi blocks in Balasore district in Orissa against establishment of a missile test range, the National Test Range (NTR) prompted PUDR to undertake a fact finding. This report published in 1988, and examining the protest of the famers also points towards the anti-poor development being undertaken in Orissa since independence.

The report presents a social and economic survey of Orissa state and of Balasore district. The report highlights how the region of Balasore depends on betel vine cultivation for its prosperity. This prosperity is under threat by the NTR project.

In 1984 the Chief Minister JB Patnaik made the announcement for setting up the NTR. Immediately a movement against this project was launched and on 1st April 1986 barricades were also set up to prevent the entry of government officials associated with NTR. This resulted in police deployment and arrests. The report offers an account of the rise of the movement and the various groups involved. It looks at the attempts made the government to crush the movement including an economic blockade. The report also looks at the rehabilitation policy proposed by the government and offers a critique of it as well.

However the report ends with a pertinent question about why the Government is spending money on projects which will not contribute to the improvement of human life while deeper socio economic problems persist in the country.

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