Press Note: April 22, 2014
With Tremendous Response from Voters, Campaign Ends on High Note:
Vows to continue challenging the Modi-fied Politics and Expose the Corruption of NCP
As the campaign for the 16th Lok Sabha draws to a closure today, the campaign witnessed tremendous response from wide range of people in the Mumbai North East constituency. This response and the large number of issues emerging is also because of the failure of Corporator, MLAs and MP in discharging their duties as elected representatives. None of them taken any steps to curb the fundamental corruption involved in the projects. There has not been any attempt to policy making focussing amenities and housing. People’s response to our campaign was because of we raising these issues in the past years and because of their faith in our continuous work on those issues.
Out of my nearly 40 years of work, the 17 years I worked in Mumbai has given me an inside out knowledge about the basic issues of the constituency. This election is important for us, as we seek larger representation of people in decision making and to continue raise those issue with more strength and vigour. Hence we make a pledge to implement all national level commitments by Aam Aadmi Party in its Manifesto and in the Mumbai Manifesto. Further, we issue a Mumbai North East specific prime issues pledging that we will leave no stone unturned to fulfil those. We also reiterate that all our efforts will be participatory, transparent and accountable, involving the people of the constituency across the caste-class-creed-gender differences, and political ideologies.
Hence we appeal to the voters to join us in these efforts, with their strengths and commitment, to bring in change and make our city corruption free. We will achieve this together with participation of people from all walks of life, contribution of professional skills and inputs from experts.
Modi’s lies and threat to not just secular fabric, but even dalits, adivasis and downtrodden
In a rally addressed by Modi in Mumbai yesterday he said that “Maharshtra would get electricity worth Rs 400 crores for free if the project (Sardar Sarovar Narmada project) was completed.” The blatant lie repeated for the second time in this election season is another attempt t to mislead the people. Maharashtra, which has also sacrificed a few thousands crores of revenue, by submergence of 33 hilly adivasi villages, will lose 9500 ha of land, parts of it are forests, in the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP). Additionally she spends Rs.3000 crores in proportion to the 27% of power from the project. SSP is an interstate project, with financial commitment by each of the party states. How can then the power be free to Maharashtra?
While Modi builds his campaign on lies and twisted facts, he poses a serious threat to the secular fabric of the country. By his silence isn’t Modi supporting Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s (VHP) president Pravin Togadia’s communal venom in Bhavnagar by saying “evict Muslims from Hindu areas”?
His outlook towards the dalits and socially marginalised is evident from his reported statement sometime earlier where he, observed while releasing his book Samajik Samrasata, that dalits were like mentally retarded children. What an irony, somebody who does not respect the dalits and marginalised writes a book with its title Samajik Samrasata (Social Equity)!
Last year, The Gujarat High Court ordered the Gujarat government to strictly adhere to the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of) Forest Rights Act, 2006, and the rules framed thereafter under this central Act. The order came on a public interest litigation (PIL) by a group of NGOs, which said the state government was violating the provisions of the Act in deciding the claims of tribals and had arbitrarily rejected more than one lakh such claims.
It will be a figment imagination, generated by aggressive advertisement that Modi with a proved track record for being anti poor, anti dalit, anti adivasi and minorities could lead the country which is built on the foundations of secularism, tolerance and respect to each other.
We will stand by dalits, who apart from asserting their identity and dignity, faces the challenge of getting the basic rights, as upheld in the Constitution, as envisioned by Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar. The positive discrimination and reservation will be implemented only when they stand united.
If Modi around, can NCP be far behind?
We will challenge the corrupt party NCP, who are involved in scams worth thousands of crores. Some of them include, irrigation scam, Gosikhurd canal scam, sugar factory scam, even the former Member of Parliament seem to have contributed to corrupt practices in using the MPLAD funds. By not raising the corruption issues in this Constituency, such as allotment of MHADA land, rehabilitation of slum dwellers and in infrastructure projects, he has permitted the corrupt practices.
He cannot shrug the responsibility of his inability to curb corruption, failure to address the fundamental issues of the constituency and not being around for the people when the people needed him most.
We will launch enquiries into all those allegations of corruption once the elections are over.
We appeal to all voters of the Constituency to come out in large numbers on the voting day, cast their vote and be a part of the democratic process. We appeal to the voters to cast their vote in favour of honesty, accountability and good governance and against corruption, communalism and injustice.
Narmada Bachao Andolan,
Narmada-Ashish, Off Kasravad Road,
Madhya Pradesh – 451551
Ph: 07290-291464; Fax: 07290-222549
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org ;
National Alliance of People’s Movements
National Office: Room No. 29-30, 1st floor, ‘A’ Wing, Haji Habib Bldg, Naigaon Cross Road, Dadar (E), Mumbai – 400 014;
20 April, 2014
1. A Lady Amidst The Aam Aadmi: The indefatigable Medha Patkar dons the Aam Aadmi Party cap to channelise electoral politics towards the many causes she espouses…. http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?290322
2. AAP seeks to submerge BJP, Congress in Narmada valley: At Udaipur, Ohri rushed through her daily chore of carrying pitchers of water from the village hand-pump to her house to attend an election meeting addressed by Narmada Bachao Andolan activist Alok Agarwal, now Aam Aadmi Party candidate in Khandwa Lok Sabha constituency. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/aap-seeks-to-submerge-bjp-congress-in-narmada-valley/article5929532.ece
3. Minorities may offset ‘Rainbow Alliance’ chemistry in south: On the face of it, the ‘Rainbow Alliance’ formed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), roping in the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) and Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) looks like a formidable alliance in the caste-sensitive Southern districts of Tamil Nadu in the coming Lok Sabha polls. The Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) another BJP ally, strong in northern belt, hardly has any presence in the south. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/minorities-may-offset-rainbow-alliance-chemistry-in-south/article5929271.ece
4. Lok Sabha elections: Will AAP’s Udayakumar spoil the party for traditional players in Kanyakumari? While the Aam Aadmi Party is making headlines in the North, it is also something to watch out for down South this election. In Kanyakumari, it is a six-cornered contest with two former MPs and MLAs in the poll fray. But the entry of anti-nuclear activist SP Udayakumar as the AAP candidate has spiced up the electoral battle. http://ibnlive.in.com/news/kanyakumari-will-aap-spoil-the-party-for-traditional-players/466108-37-64.html
5. India, US positioned to embark on closely collaborative path: S Jaishankar: He added that much more work was required to set the Indo-US relationship in stone - http://www.business-standard.com/article/international/india-us-positioned-to-embark-on-closely-collaborative-path-s-jaishankar-114041800313_1.html
6. ‘Gujarat Congress shied away from attacking Hitler-like Modi’: http://www.hindustantimes.com/elections2014/election-beat/modi-like-hitler-gujarat-cong-didn-t-attack-him-consistently/article1-1210146.aspx
7. Toyota strike: Karnataka govt steps in: Refers all issues between management and workers for adjudication - http://www.business-standard.com/article/companies/toyota-strike-karnataka-govt-steps-in-114041900732_1.html
12 April, 2014
1. Political Parties Deploy ‘Spies’ in Rival Camps: Contestants for the ongoing election in India are leaving no stone un-turned to ensure that their winning chances are more than their opponents and are not hesitating to spy on the movements of the latter. http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/andhra_pradesh/Political-Parties-Deploy-%E2%80%98Spies%E2%80%99-in-Rival-Camps/2014/04/12/article2164202.ece#.U0jpWlWSyo4
2. Anna Hazare Announces Support to Patkar, Two NDA Nominees: The septuagenarian social activist Anna Hazare has extended support to Medha Patkar contesting from North-East seat of Mumbai on an Aam Admi Party ticket. Besides Patkar, Hazare has also extended his support to, Raju Shetty and Sadabhau Khot, leaders of Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatna (SSS), one of the constituents of BJP-led “Mahayuti” (grand alliance). http://news.outlookindia.com/items.aspx?artid=836831
3. Muslim women protest against Abu Asim Azmi remark: A large number of Muslim women on Friday protested outside the state women’s commission office in Bandra against the comments made by Samajwadi Party (SP) state unit chief Abu Asim Azmi. The women expressed their ire at the remarks of Azmi and his party’s national chief Mulayam Singh Yadav. http://www.dnaindia.com/mumbai/report-muslim-women-protest-against-abu-asim-azmi-remark-1977492
4. Elderly couple go on hunger strike after officials goof on voters’ list: http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Mangalore/elderly-couple-go-on-hunger-strike-after-officials-goof-on-voters-list/article5904364.ece
5. Irom Sharmila denied request to vote: Manipur rights crusader Irom Sharmila, who expressed her wish to vote, has been denied the right. “If I am allowed, I would like to cast my vote,” Sharmila said while coming to an Imphal court for routine appearance today. However, chief electoral officer O. Nabakishore Singh said she could not do so. http://www.telegraphindia.com/1140412/jsp/northeast/story_18181832.jsp#.U0jpl1WSyo4
6. Punjabi men go on hunger strike in U.S. detention facility: http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/world/punjabi-men-go-on-hunger-strike-in-us-detention-facility/article5902282.ece
7. IMF, World Bank push for price on carbon: http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-world/imf-world-bank-push-for-price-on-carbon-20140412-36jda.html
8. India, Russia sign agreement on Kudankulam 3, 4 units: http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/india-russia-sign-agreement-on-kudankulam-3-4-units/article5901831.ece
9. Kudankulam n-plant commercial operation delayed again: http://www.news.nom.co/kudankulam-n-plant-commercial-8936475-news/
10. Daily Briefing | Green energy spending to combat climate change: http://www.carbonbrief.org/blog/2014/04/daily-climate-and-energy-links-11th-april-2014/
1. Land Acquisition Act has ‘loopholes’, says activist Medha Patkar: Medha Patkar today claimed there are “loopholes” in the Land Acquisition Act and political parties should listen to the voice of the “struggling people” if they want to resolve the conflicts over the issue of land. http://www.firstpost.com/india/land-acquisition-act-has-loopholes-says-activist-medha-patkar-1240725.html
2. Human rights defender Ms Agnes Kharshiing released; struggle for land rights of indigenous people continues: http://www.humanrights.asia/news/urgent-appeals/AHRC-UAU-032-2013
3. Privileging landowners over farm workers: http://www.thehindu.com/books/books-reviews/privileging-landowners-over-farm-workers/article5364822.ece?homepage=true
4. Villagers at NHAI door to give land. - 153 families near Jalpaiguri offer land for NH31D four-laning: http://www.telegraphindia.com/1131119/jsp/siliguri/story_17585632.jsp#.Uo2i_NKBn_k
5. Farmers oppose Pune‘s new airport plan; Ajit Pawar says land acquisition only with consent: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/farmers-oppose-pune-s-new-airport-plan–ajit-pawar-says-land-acquisition-only-with-consent/1196792/
6. Zero wait policy for airport land: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/navi-mumbai/Zero-wait-policy-for-airport-land/articleshow/26115130.cms
Three days long Satyagraha in Narmada valley comes to an end
Ten hours long dialogue leads to decion on land based rehabilitation Even as MP government in collusion with UPA dilutes rights of those affected in Irrigation Projects in Land Bill
Sardar Sarovar affected burn Disaster Management Plan
New Delhi, September 4 : Rajya Sabha voted the Land Acquisition, Resettlement and Rehabilitation Bill, and accepted three regressive amendments suggested by Madhya Pradesh government and accepted by UPA government. These amendments will take away the rights of the rights of the dam and canal affected people, even then hope is not lost on the struggling adivasis and farmers of the Narmada valley. We have fought for nearly three decades for our rights and we will continue to lead the struggle for justice and protect rights as enshrined in the Indian Constitution.
Since, September 2nd, 1200 adivasis laid seize to the office of the District Collector, Nandurbar, Maharashtra, facing Police atrocity and stayed put in protest of the illegal and unjust submergence due to Sardar Sarovar Project.
Over last 2 days various issues were raised by the Andolan and discussed with the District Collector. These issues include impact of submergence, land-based rehabilitation, forest rights including common property rights, and also displacement due to 7 medium projects, diversion of river water to the non adivasis families which has been opposed by Gram Sabhas in every tributary valley.
On September 3, at 11pm, the Collector brought a letter to the hundreds of people on the sit-in and addressed the meeting assuring action on the issues, which were discussed with the Andolan. Summary of the agreement between the authorities and the Andolan are :
These and other decisions are a major step ahead. However, the Andolan has warned the District and State administration through them that in the situation of no implementation of any major decision especially ‘’No sanction by Maharashtra to raising the height of the Sardar Sarovar “and full & fair land based rehabilitation of all the dam oustees adivasis, there will be an intensified ‘Jamin Hakk Satyagrah very soon.
Noorji Padni, Vijay Valvi, Yogini Khanolkar, Chetan Salve, Latika, Saisingh Pavra, Panaki Vasave, Medha Patkar
Sardar Sarovar Rehabilitation in Maharashtra: Adivasi Rights
Peaceful protest by 1200 adivasis: Police excesses condemnable
10 hrs dialogue with Collector, CEO and officials continues on 2nd day
Ensure Rehab before submergence: Else Review Project; Empty Reservoir Waters
Oustees challenge paper ‘disaster management’: Fraud in NREGS, PDS exposed
3rd September, 2013: More than 1,200 adivasis from the 33 hilly adivasi villages on the Narmada river bank, affected by the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) and 73 forest villages in the Satpuda ranges of Nandurbar District of Maharashtra, marched into the Collector’s office yesterday and demanded a conclusive answer to various serious issues such as compensation for illegal submergence caused due to the release of waters from the upstream dams in the SSP reservoir, land-based rehabilitation of more than 1,500 adivasi families in the 33 villages, rights of adivasis in the 73 forest villages, inquiry into and action against corruption in NREGA, PDS; ensure community forest rights, review of small and medium dams on tributaries of Narmada, lack of civic amenities at the resettlement sites, role and rights of Gram Sabhas, food grains at BPL prices for the children of Jeevanshalas etc.
As the andolankaris, a large majority of them adivasi women from various villages in the Shahada, Akkalkuwa, Taloda and Dhadgaon tehsils, walked into the gates of the Collector’s’ office at Nandurbar, an all-male armed police force stopped and severely assaulted many of oustees, who were pushed to the ground, but stood up and faced the police force with peaceful resistance. We strongly condemn the action of the police in dealing with the poor adivasi oustees, at the instance of the officials and demand legal action. Ultimately the officials had to concede and the police had to withdraw. The protest continued with spirited songs, slogannering and demands for justice, compensation, rehabilitation, action against corruption and all civic rights. Later in the evening, a large delegation of 40 adivasis, representing various villages, along with Medha Patkar and other activists held a 6 hours long dialogue with a battery of district officials including Mr. Om Prakash Bakoria District Collector, Chief Executive Officer, District Panchayat, Nandurbar Addl. Collector (SSP), Regional Officer, Resident Addl. Collector, Addl. Collector (Revenue) etc.
The Satyagraha continued within the Collectorate on the 2nd day as well, since the oustees wanted concrete decisions and written commitments. Senior activists and supporters visited the dharna site and extended their solidarity to the peaceful and valiant struggle of the adivasis in the Narmada valley, which is to shortly complete three full decades. Detailed discussions continued from 11 a.m. upto 4 p.m. in the afternoon. Some of the main issues and demands put forth were:
The oustees challenged the massive and absolutely illegal submergence in August, 2013, leading to destruction of hundreds of hectares of agricultural land, as also some houses such as the entire hamlet in Bamni with 8 houses affected by the reservoir waters, similarly 2 houses each in Chimalkhedi and Dhankedi affected. It may be noted that the hilly adivasi villages have been facing the impacts of illegal submergence since 1994 and this year, even the plain areas in the Nimad region of M.P. were severely hit by the dam waters, leading to destruction of thousands of hecatres of land and more than a 1,000 houses of adivasis-farmers, fish workers, landless, potters, small shopkeepers etc. in the Badwani, Dhar and Alirapur districts of Madhya Pradesh. The oustees also questioned the election politics of the Modi Government and stated that even after sacrificing, 9,600 hectares of land (6,500 hectares forest land and 1,500 ha agricultural land), Maharashtra has not been getting its due share of electricity, nor are its oustees fully rehabilitated, so the issue of pushing ahead the 70,000 crore giant Sardar Sarovar Project is certainly illegal.
In addition to the above issues the oustees also confronted the officials on the absolute lack of disaster preparedness or contingency plan during the dam-induced flooding, non-availability of health services and staff, despite the barges, inadequate boats etc. Other issues raised were; right to food, forest rights, right to fisheries, right to safe drinking water etc. in various villages of Akkalkuwa and Akrani Tehsils. A specific demand to recognize community forest rights especially of water sources, tree cover, forest produce, fisheries etc. was made. The Andolan continues to lay emphasis on community forest rights, beyond the individual claims, since responsibilities with rights of the communities to save forests not just for the present, but future generations is also absolutely essential. Illegal transportation of liquor in Dhadgaon and legal action against the same, as also against the Dhadgaon police Inspector was also called for.
No to 7 medium- dams on the tributaries of Narmada: The protestors, especially from villages Son, Jalola, Bhanoli, Kothar, Chandsaili, Kundal in the scheduled adivasi areas severely objected to the controversial Narmada-Tapi River link; a series of medium dams on the tributaries of Narmada, pushed by political vested interests; only to divert the river waters to the upcoming cities like Shahada and Taloda, at the expense of ecology of the Satpuda region, leading to displacement of more adivasis. The Chief Engineer Mr. Khairnar was pulled up by the oustees on the issues of environmental impacts, extent of submergence, R&R benefits etc. It was also warned that the administration will have to encounter a severe public agitation if the illegal river-linking project is pushed ahead.
MAJOR WRITTEN DECISIONS BY THE COLLECTOR ON DAY 2 OF SATYAGRAHA:
1. In-principle agreement that the rehabilitation of 1,500 adivasi families is pending. A hearing of all the undeclared oustees would be held shortly to take ahead the process of their declaration, inclusion in official lists and grant of R&R entitlements accordingly.
2. It was also decided to conduct an early social audit of the quality and availability of civic amenities provided at the R&R sites and original villages by the Narmada Development Division.
3. Collector agreed to show the lands for rehabilitation to the oustees from 7th September and a continued effort to identify land for R&R.
4. Food grains for Jeevanshalas (life-schools) to be provided at BPL rates.
5. Immediate inquiry into and action against corruption in NREGS, PDS and health services
6. All Panchanamas for crop losses to be recorded and compensation to be paid.
The oustees are determined to continue the Satyagraha even on the 3rd day, until all the major demands, listed above are met and clear decision not to permit raise in the height of the SSP is announced, until full compliance on R&R is ensured.
Punya Vasave Manglya Pawra Siyaram Padvi Vijay Valvi Noorji Padvi
Yogini Khanolkar Latika Rajput Meera Pinjaribai
Contact: 09423944390 / 09423908123 /09179148973
National Alliance of People’s Movements
6/6, Jangpura B, Mathura Road, New Delhi 110014
Phone : 011 26241167 / 24354737 Mobile : 09818905316
Web : www.napm-india.org
Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation, and Resettlement Bill, 2011 is scheduled to be introduced in Lok Sabha tomorrow. The Bill is to replace the colonial Land Acquisition Act, 1894 responsible for large scale forcible acquisition of the land from farmers, displacing and depriving millions and leaving them without any credible resettlement and rehabilitation.
Many of us have been engaged with the process of making of the new Bill for many years now. The new Bill however, is far from what it should be, we believe. It is in this context that we call you for a press briefing tomorrow, August 13th, 4:00 – 5:00 pm at Indian Women‘s Press Club, Windsor Place, New Delhi.
The Conference will be addressed by :
Roma, All India Union of Forest Working People
Yudhvir Singh, Bhartiya Kisan Union
Rupesh Verma, Kisan Sangharsh Samiti
Medha Patkar, National Alliance of People’s Movement (NAPM)
We look forward to having you there with us.
Madhuresh Kumar, NAPM 9818905316 Sanjeev Kumar, Delhi Solidarity Group 9958797409
National Alliance of People’s Movements
National Office : 6/6, Jangpura B, Mathura Road, New Delhi 110014
Phone : 011 26241167 / 24354737 Mobile : 09818905316
Web : http://www.napm-india.org
Facebook : http://www.facebook.com/NAPMindia
Twitter : @napmindia
Farmers Reclaim their Land illegally allotted to Ajanta SEZ in Aurangabad
NAPM Condemns Police Firing on Protesters Opposing NTPC Coal Mines in Karanpura, Jharkhand Killing Two and Injuring Others
New Delhi / Aurangabad, July 23 : Villagers of Shendra today reclaimed the land which was illegally transferred by Maharashtra Industrial Corporation to Ajanta Co to set up Pharma SEZ in MIDC Five Star Indusrtail Area, Shendra, Aurangabad. The action was supported and joined by noted social activist, Medha Patkar, Adviser and Founding Member NAPM, Balwant More, Rashtra Sewa Dal, Nanded, Maj Subedar Bam, Subhash Lomte of Socialist Front and others. Nearly 300 farmers from nearby villages also gathered with bullocks and tractors and tilled the land which was under illegal occupation of the company since 2008. Police, which never filed an FIR against the company after repeated complaints, came today defending the right of the Company, showing its anti people character.
In 2007-8, 35 Hectares of prime agricultural land, percolation tanks, village roads etc. was handed by the Dsitrict Administration to the Ajanta Projects India Limited without completing any land acquistion process under MIDC Act as mandated. False notices were issued, compensation paid receipts were given and land was said to be taken under possession by the Land Acquistion Officer. Based on the land allotted to them by Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation the Company obtained approval for Pharmaceutical and related Chemical Special Economic Zone from Union government. Till date no work has started on the project but Company continues to illegally occupy the land after erecting fences on the land of the farmers and tank.
Farmers were illegally evicted from their land in collaboration with the district Sub Divisional Officer, Police officials and others. Later, under the Right to Information Act, they got information from various agencies, which supported their claim to land. Tahsildar on duty on 27 November 2009 said that 35 Hectares of land in question was not acquired by the authorities, confirmed also by the Executive Engineer Minor Irrigation in a reply dated October 29, 2009. Farmers filed complaint to the police with copies to senior district officials, Industry Ministers and Union Commerce Ministry. However, till date no action was taken.
In meantime false cases were filed against some of the villagers in order to terrify them and pacify their resistance. Recently, on a petition filed by Bhanudas Gopinath of the village Shendra resulted in injunction from Aurangabad bench of High Court. This emboldened the morale of the 50 families whose land was illegally transferred.
“We are only exercising our right and not committing any crime. None of the government records show that right procedure was followed under MIDC Act, 1961 to acquire land in this case, on the contrary records show the ownership with Bhanudas and other farmers of the village Shendra. It is completely right for the tillers of the land to reclaim it and start farming. We demand that the responsible revenue and police officers be prosecuted immediately for forgery and misrepresentation of facts in the case; revocation of the status of SEZ granted to Ajanta co.; de-notify the land and recognise the right of the farmers over the total land, since company has failed to initiate any work till date,” said Medha Patkar.
She further added that it is high time that a Special Investigation team be constituted to look in to the fraudulent land dealings which has been ongoing around Aurangabad town where farmers are being cheated. Land mafia till date has transacted nearly 30-40% of the 2,34,000 Hectares of land to be acquired for Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor, Greater Aurangabad and Aurangabad Metropolitan City project. No notification has been issued by the authorities but illegal and fraudulent transactions are being enacted and a speculative land market is today flourishing around the city. Media reports are often being planted fuelling stress selling by the farmers at times but no clear information is being given on the DMIC and other projects coming to the farmers. In coming days NAPM will continue to expose such land dealings, support the people’s resistance and assist in building of the movement against the DMIC and other projects in Aurangabad.
NAPM also condemns the killing of two activists of Karnpura Bachao Sangharsh Samiti in a police firing today morning at Chatti Bariahattu Karanpura Jharkhand. They have been leading a valiant fight against the land acquisition for NTPC coal mines. In 2005, National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) acquired mining lease for captive mining in an area covering 16 villages of 3 blocks- Pankiri Barwadi, Chatti Bariyatu and Keredari in Hazaribagh District of Jharkhand. Today the total number of villages to be displaced has risen to 60, with the total affected population being close to 40,000 as opposed to 16,000 which is the claim made by the company. From 2005 till date mining has not begun and any attempt of starting work has been thwarted by the Gram Sabha resolutions and also active resistance from the people, who are to loose prime agricultural land in Karanpura Valley. It seems Hemant Soren, newly sowrn in Chief Minister is determined to push Corporate Agenda, but people’s resistance will continue to fight to defend their land, water and forests which are necessary for survival of the nation and people.
Vilas Bhongade, Suniti S R, Dr. Sunilam, Prafulla Samantara, Suhas Kolhekar, Gabriele Dietrich, Sister Celia, Major General (Retd.) Sudhir Vombatkere, Arundhati Dhuru, C R Neelakandan, Geo Jose, Bhupender Singh Rawat, Kamayani Swami, Mahendra Yadav, Rajendra Ravi, Vimal Bhai, Seela M, Madhuresh Kumar
National Alliance of People’s Movements
National Office : 6/6, Jangpura B, Mathura Road, New Delhi 110014
Phone : 011 26241167 / 24354737 Mobile : 09818905316
Web : www.napm-india.org
3rd July, 2013
More than 1,200 displaced storm NCA Head Office
Challenge illegal decision to raise Sardar Sarovar dam height
Expose false claims of rehabilitation and environmental compliance
More than 1,200 women and men from the Narmada valley stormed and occupied the head office of the Narmada Control Authority, Narmada Bhavan at Vijay Nagar, Indore yesterday on 2nd July. The loud and strong protest by farmers, labourers, fish workers, potters, small shopkeepers, adivasis and dalits was against the decision to raise the height of the Sardar Sarovar Dam from the 122 mts (present) to the 138.68 mts (final height) that was learnt to have been taken on 27th June at New Delhi. It was at the end of the protest that the agitators learnt from authentic sources that as a result of the voice raised by the people and their supporters, the meeting of NCA to finalize raise in dam height was postponed.
The decision by the Resettlement and Rehabilitation (R&R) Sub Group (NCA) chaired by the Secretary, Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment was despite the fact that it was earlier very critical that not less than 40,000 families in the submergence area and to be affected even at the present dam height are not rehabilitated with entitlements of land for the farmers, alternative livelihood for the landless, house plots and amenities at the resettlement sites. While since 1994, adivasi villages and since 2000 even densely populated villages in the plains are being affected, the largest number of villages affected, are in M.P. (193).
The decision was made on the basis of false claims and reports by both Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra and even Gujarat, what were taken as the basis for pushing the dam, under political pressures from the Narendra Modi Government. The people with large strength of women, beyond caste and class were obviously upset that the decision is to be finalized in the full NCA meeting in utter violation of the Narmada Tribunal Award (1979), environmental conditions in the clearance, 4 judgments of the Supreme Court, (1991, 2000, 2002 and 2005) and the state level rehabilitation policies.
Previously, the height of the SSP was raised from 110 mts to 122 mts in a similar manner in 2006 which led to 21 days fast by Medha Patkar, Bhagwati behan and Jamsing bhai at Jantar Mantar, Delhi. Since then, the permission was not granted, as every time it was proved that thousands of families remain to be rehabilitated. In M.P, a Judicial Commission of Inquiry was appointed by the State High Court, when massive corruption was unearthed by the farmers themselves, along with NBA, in the rehabilitation process. The state government itself had to admit 686 land purchase registries as fake, while the actual figure could be 3,000 or even more. Inquiry by the Commission is on since the last 5 years in every aspect of rehabilitation including house plot allotment, quality of civic amenities, fraud in the lists of PAFs, betrayal of landless etc. The report is due any time after October and a pre-mature political decision on the dam would be a huge fraud on the people and the Courts.
The Govt. of Maharashtra was always taking a stand that rehabilitation o hundreds of adivasis in the state must be completed prior to dam construction and submergence. Yet, its new Secretary, Rehabilitation, seems to have misreported the position in the state. It is in this context that the people at NCA yesterday, raised every issue in rehabilitation, environment, cumulative impacts of all dams vis-à-vis regulation in the valley and the costs-benefits of SSP. Shyama behan, a fisher woman compared the fish catch before and after pondage and questioned, whether the officials including Mr. Pawan Kumar, Director Environment, NCA knows anything about fisheries ! “We will not allow commercial contracts to be granted to outside investor in SSP reservoir, as we have invested our sweat and blood, over generations”, she said.
Pemabhai, an adivasi from the plains of Nimad warned the officials that NCA cannot accept the reports from NVDA, M.P. State agency or Maharashtra, unless a thorough scrutiny of the same is made. Maglia bhai from Village Bhadal, Maharashtra narrated the story of one adivasi Leharya Ganya, who attempted suicide on the 30th of June, as even after 4 years, since shifting, he was not given possession by the owner of land, whom the government had not paid full price. Pemalbai Koli of Village Dhanora represented the landless women, many of who are excluded from the list of eligible PAFs and left deprived of house plots and alternative livelihoods which is their right. Kailash Awasya, Bhagairath Dhangar, Adv. Yogni, Chetan Salve, Medha Patkar and Meera exposed the false claims on paper and distortions in the decision making process.
Many youth and the aged from the Pahad and Nimad questioned the officisls Mr. Pawan Kumar, Director, NCA and the Dy. Director, Mr. Asif, rehabilitation, who were made to reply and promised that they would certainly look into every issue immediately. The people, occupying the NCA premises, warned the NCA that if any decision is taken to submerge such a vast area and drown the people illegally, merely under the pressures and political expediency exhibited by Gujarat, it will not be tolerated. People and activists with supporters from Indore asserted that:
R&R Sub Group must withdraw its illegal decision, if already taken, and NCA should not finalize the same, admitting that more than 40,000 families are residing in the submergence area and most of those, affected at the present height are also not rehabilitated.
NCA must not submit to pressures from the states, but play a major and independent role in strictly monitoring and ensuring compliance with law, policies and judgements on rehabilitation and environment, through frequent field visits and investigation.
Land should be identified for eligible farmers, including adivasis, to rehabilitated them, as per the Narmada Tribunal and Supreme Court Judgements and cash disbursement, as special package, must be stopped, for ever. Maharashtra should not offer cash package to the hilly adivasis in lieu of land.
Right to fisheries should be granted to the fish wotrkers, alternative livelihood to other landless, as per the NVDA’s Action Plan, 1993, recognized by the Apex Court.
All major sons should be rehabilitated, with land, as per the Tribunal Award and Judgement of the Supreme Court, 2005.
No further construction at the dam, including pillars and bridges, should be permitted at this stage, which too would increase submergence by 1.5 mts, as it would be committing contempt of Court and people, both.
NCA must ensure that all those who have faced losses (crop), labourers (houses), fish workers (fish, nets and boats) and shopkeepers (shops and material), potters etc. are compensated.
The mass action ended at 7:00 p.m. with people warning that if their houses and farms get submerged due to Sardar Sarovar or water releases from upstream dams, as happened last August, they would be compelled to take shelter in the same Narmada Bhavan. They also insisted that NCA must monitor compliance, fully and fairly, without relying on false statistics coming from the state; or else the people would be compelled to lock up the premises. When the Uttarakhand calamity has already taught a lesson, we cannot allow the Narmada valley to face the same, people from the most beautiful and ancient valley warned the officials.
Surbhan Bhilala Devram Kanera Kamla Yadav Kailash Awasya
Ghokru Ranveer Tomar Shannobehan Madu Machuara Medha Patkar
Phone: 09179148973 / 09423965153
NATIONAL ALLIANCE OF PEOPLE’S MOVEMENTS
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People’s Commission Report on Special Rehabilitation Scheme Released
SRA Projects full of Illegalities and Irregularities, Demands Cancellation of Fraudulent Projects and Demands implementation of RAY
Mumbai, June 24th : People’s Commission Report on Slum Rehabilitation Scheme in Mumbai was released today by Justice (retd.) B N Deshmukh, High Court, Aurangabad. The Commission was appointed by NAPM in order that a thorough enquiry could take place in to the irregularities and illegalities complained by hundreds and thousands of the slum dwellers included in the Scheme. The Commission was also appointed since the government of Maharashtra went back on its promise to appoint a joint enquiry committee to look in to 15 SRA projects, with Justice Suresh as Chairperson. This promise was given during the nine day fast by Medha Patkar and others while the official notifications were modified giving false reasons of Court’s directive and the enquiry was transferred to High Power Committee. Having no faith in the HPC, the people’s movements, Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan and others decided to continue the struggle, and forcing the State government to finally appoint a Committee under the Principal Secretary, Housing to undertake the enquiry into Six SRA projects in January 2013.
In this context NAPM decided to go in for a parallel enquiry from the eminent experts panel as an initiative from the civil society, under the chairmanship of Justice H Suresh. Other members included Smt Amita Bhide, Prof. TISS, urban habitat policy expert & member of the High Power Expert Group appointed by High Court, Mumbai in 2005; Sh. Chandrashekhar, architect and member of High-rise Buildings Committee, Govt of Maharashtra; Shri S Suradkar, former Inspector General of Police and Simpreet Singh, senior social activist. The panel went through a long process of investigation for months, conducted public hearings, visited the SRA areas and communities, invited and heard developers who appeared before the Commission and referred to the submissions made by the residents, their groups and organisations as well as the developers. The Commission also referred to secondary data and information available in various policy documents and reports. The Commission benefitted from the long experience and research of the panel members as senior policy interveners.
The Report has brought out a number of frauds and illegalities infesting the SRA projects and the serious flaws in to the SR Scheme itself. It indicates how the developers – politicians – bureaucrats together have favoured the builders more often than the residents and permitted violations of laws, rules and the scheme itself. The Scheme’s objective of the rehabilitation is often marred since displacement of hundreds of families without rehabilitation has also been a result of wrong application and corruption in the eligibility criteria and list of beneficiaries evolved thereby. With no registered agreements in the hands of the residents, the Commission has reported a number of cases where they are cheated or kept hanging in the non livable transit camps or the rented houses without the rent being paid regularly. The report brings out the stories of oppression and repression by the residents of decades old communities who are driven out using intimidation and luring tactics, ultimately to dump them, violating their rights. False cases filed against the residents, unrequired questioning of residents by police are used as harassment tactics. The Report exposes the role of the police in favouring the developers, many a times not admitting the FIRs and compelling the residents to run from dawn to dusk and reach the Courts at enormous costs.
An important highlight of the Report is regarding the transfer of the land to the builders which the scheme legitimizes, going against the expected principle and goal of equitable land use in the megalopolis of Mumbai where 60% of population being slumdwellers, resides on not more than 9.24 percent of Mumbai’s land. The allotment of land out of the communities land to the investor builder has attracted the politicians and others to also come forward and become partners in SRA schemes. This, as Report brings out, has resulted in complacency and favouritisim within the sanctioning and monitoring authorities such as SRA and Revenue department with the builders and have left the residents with little or no channel for redressal of their grievances. The Commission has concluded, going beyond the CAG report which shows that instead of 8 lakh houses only 1.5 lakh houses have been constructed under SRS since 1996 till 2011, that the Scheme is more or less a failure in terms of strengthening the Cooperatives of slum dwellers and rehabilitating them at a better standard of living.
The Report goes into the details of 6 SRA projects including Shiv Koliwada, Ramnagar (Ghatkopar), Ambedkar Nagar (Mulund), Indira Nagar (Jogeshwari), Chandivili (Mahendra and Sommaiyya quarries) and Golibar (Khar). These are the very projects which are also being enquired by Principal Secretary Housing Govt of Maharashtra, whose report is also expected soon. The People’s Commission is releasing the Report for the vibrant Civil Society and will submit the same to the Govt of Maharashtra this evening. Expecting serious consideration and prompt action on the recommendations, the Commission would await the official report from the Ministry of Housing and ponder over it, planning its future strategy to bring in the pro people democratic and just housing scheme that would result in equitable distribution of land and protection of people’s right to shelter as part of right to life, under article 21 of the Constitution.
The report’s recommendations includes urgent review of the 6 SRA projects under scanner as also the overall SR Scheme itself. Where the projects are not consented to by the communities those should be cancelled and amalgamation to big chunks of land diverted to the builders under 3k clause of the slum act 1971 or otherwise under some pretext should be withdrawn. The Commission instead suggests that with the people’s consent and readiness the community should be permitted and promoted to build their own housing schemes in truly cooperative way using their own labour force and artisans as also retaining land underneath the slums with their own rights.
The recommendations include alternative housing schemes on the basis of Public Public Partnership that would include Rajeev Awas Yojana, with due participation and vision coming from the people, and people’s organsiations.
Medha Patkar Sumita Wajale Madhuresh Kumar