MISCELLANEOUS

dated April 10, 1960: (From an editorial) Dandakaranya

DANDAKARANYA is a grand project that deserves to succeed, if only because of the hope of a new life that it seemed to offer to the many homeless refugees from East Pakistan, who are still leading a demoralised existence on doles in camps. The area coming under this scheme comprises nearly 30,000 square miles and offers possibilities for reclaiming over two lakh acres, at least 45,000 acres of which can be irrigated by two projects under investigation. The first hopes of a rapid resettlement of 20,000 East Bengal refugee families in this tract, even by July last year, have failed to be realised. What is worse, the actual arrivals from the refugee camps, even by March this year have been only 1,464 families. A high official of the Dandakaranya Development Authority now blames the refugees themselves for this slow progress, describing the Project area as “a guest house where all arrangements have been made to receive the numerous guests, but where very few have arrived.” It is true that political elements in West Bengal have continuously sought to exploit the unhappy condition of the refugees in camps and to teach them to resist resettlement in areas outside Bengal. But this does not absolve the DDA of responsibility for delaying the execution of the Project.