The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

typescript - J.H. Hutton's tour diary in the Naga Hills

caption: Conflicting interests, land and timber requirements between Borjan Colliery and village of Kongan
medium: tours
location: Kongan Borjan
date: 19.6.1925
person: Hutton/ J.H.
date: 29.5.1925-29.6.1925
person: Pitt Rivers Museum Archive, Oxford
refnum: Hutton Ms. Box 2
text: 19th
text: To Kongan. Whence I went down to the fort and then down to Borjan where I met the Sub Inspector of Naginimara, and then back to Kongan. I am more than concerned about Kongan village. Six months ago the Colliery took up more surface rights just where Kongan are to jhum next year, and meanwhile they are fast destroying all the tonkopat trees. It is true they pay Rs.5/- for each tree cut down, but that Rs.5/- probably goes in rice or modhu or to buy a dao and meanwhile there is one tonkopat tree the less. Even if the owner plants another (assuming that he possesses suitable land) it won't be replaced by growth under at least a generation as the tree is a very slow grower; and of course he doesn't plant. When the Colliery got this grant it was assumed that Kongan would always be able to go on jhuming the surface, but the terms of the grant have made this reservation worthless, as the colliery can, and does go anywhere on it they please to cut timber and have ruined for jhuming acres of land which they do not actually mine or build on. Scattering houses about the place and shooting shale and waste here and there also makes jhuming rights on the land so treated of very little value. It is not possible to jhum successfully in small patches among goats, horses, cattle, children and colliers. Only six months ago another large area of Kongan's jhum was taken up for building. The Manager admits that far more land was granted to the Colliery than necessary, the object of taking it being to cut trees for pit props. This of course renders the surface rights for Kongan's jhum worthless.