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Medha Patkar

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The Two-Day Chetavni Dharna concludes today (25 June 2014)

Union Water Resources and Social Justice Ministers Uma Bharti and Thavar Chand Gehlot meet Narmada Oustee’s Delegation. Assure that the NCA and Rehabilitation Sub Group will look into the demands, before taking further action

Hundreds of protesters issue strong warning to NDA Govt

CPM, Congress and AAP express solidarity with SSP Oustees

Group of MPs and Distinguished Citizens to visit Narmada valley before monsoon session

New Delhi, June 25 : The two day ‘Chetavni Dharna’ of hundreds of Sardar Sarovar Project affected families at Jantar Mantar concluded today with a strong warning to the Prime Minister and NDA Govt. to undertake a serious review of the illegal decision to raise the height of the Sardar Sarovar Project and assess the true costs and benefits of the Project, which is to cost Rs. 90000 crores, while the Govt. has decided to submerge 2.5 lakh people in the valley. In the name of Kutch and Saurashtra, Gujarat plans to dole out lakhs of hectares of command area land and water to the corporates and industries.

Briefing two key concerned Union Ministers Smt. Uma Bharti, Water Resources Ministry and Shri Thavaar Chand Gehlot, Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry, Medha Patkar and delegation exposed the illegality of decisions of NCA and clearance to the project by the sub-groups (Environment and R&R), on the basis of official documents, court orders and Ministerial correspondence and in violation of Court order.

Ms. Bharti accepted and directed the officials of the Narmada Control Authority to look in to the serious issues pointed out by the team and review the decisions in a participatory manner. We also learned that Mr. Gehlot was wrongly briefed by officials that the recent decision was in “compliance” of the Supreme court judgement while the reality is diametrically opposite and clearance to the dam is utter violation of the court.

Earlier in the day, Medha Patkar, Yogendra Yadav, AAP; Prashant Bhushan, Supreme Court lawyer, Nikhil Dey, of National Campaign for People’s Right to Information addressed the press. Mr. Bhushan condemned the fast – track clearance approach of the Modi Government in all matters and attempt to quell the voice of people’s movements, who are actually trying to raise real people’s issues in the country and challenge undemocratic decisions, as also loot of exchequer by massive corruption and corporate pandering.

Mr. Yogendra Yadav, pointed out that the SSP decision is not just one step by the NDA Govt. but is fully indicative of the approach of Mr. Modi, which they would like to continue for 5 years. This means decisions would be towards destroying environment, suppressing the legitimate rights and voice of people. He challenged the Govt. against submerging hundreds of villages while 1000 crore judicial inquiry into R&R corruption is ongoing and called the country’s aam aadmi and aam aurat to stand up against every undemocratic decision of the new government.

Medha Patkar expressed shock at the fact that decision of the Narmada Control Authority, is basically a political decision pushed by Mr. Narendra Modi, in violation of not just law and contempt of court, but also by bypassing the three concerned Union Ministers, Uma Bharti, Thavaar Chand Gehlot and Prakash Javdekar, all from Madhya Pradesh who had virtually no role in the decision making process. She urged Mr. Modi to face the reality, face, hear the people and come forward for a comprehensive review of the entire project, a duty which is bound, as Prime Minister of India.

Nikhil Dey, of NCPRI denounced those ministers who call themselves deshbhakts but actually work against the interests of the people, if acche din would come then it will for few people at the cost of bure din of millions of poor people. He expressed hope that the time is not far away when they will rise against this tyranny.

Brinda Karat, a long time voice of CPIM inside the Parliament and outside, openly challenged the arbitrary and anti people decisions of Modi Sarkar, be it the 14% rail fare hike, proposals to dilute labour laws of the country as also the move to drown 2.5 lakh people in the three states organized under a three decade old non-violent social movement. She recalled that even in 2006 the CPM supported the Narmda struggle, but over the past 8 years, not rehabilitation, but huge corruption in M.P. and corporatization in the garb of ‘dam’ and ‘development’ has been pushed.

Gautam Mody, Secretary of NTUI lent support to the struggle and called for coming together of farmers, workers and industrial labour to challenge the corporate agenda and the time has come when every people’s movement in the country have to start talking to each other and understand the deep rooted inter-linkages of the issues and tyranny of the political class.

People raised slogans that the country does not belong to Ambanis and Adanis but to aam aadmi and adivsis, the farmers, fisherpeople, workers, small traders and toiling masses,who represent 90% of the country’s population.

Speaking at the protest, Supreme Court Lawyer Sanjay Parikh stated that the stipulation of the Narmada Award and Supreme Court has been fully violated by the Governments, especially Madhya Pradesh where the illegal policy of encashment has led to absolute loot of tribasls and poor people and massive corruption.

Alok Agrawal, struggling for the rights of oustees for Indira Sagar, Omkareshwar etc for more than 20 years challenged the illegality in dam after dam including SSP and called for a complete review of the cascade of dams on the Narmada which is displacing lakhs of family and submerging lakhs of hectares of forest and agricultural land. Advocate Clifton D’Rozario, Organising Secretary AICCTTU, told the gathering that time has come again for the tillers and toilers to stand up against the ihuman displacement and provide an example to movements of this country.

Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal arrived at the protest yesterday and expressed full solidarity with the struggle and promised that their party would raise the issues both inside the Parliament and also across the country.

A team of MPs and distinguished citizens would visit the valley very soon, mostly before the beginning of the Monsoon session, to raise the issues both within the country and also at every national fora. Modi led Modi Govt.

Protest actions were also held in different cities of Mumbai, Pune by support groups and memorandums to the president were given.

Concluding the two day dharna, a mashaal juloos was undertaken by the protesters and was resolved that satyagraha will be held in every village of the submergence area,where thousands of families,schools, temples, mosques, ghats, markets, panchayats, lakhs of trees etc. still exit.

Meera, Bhagirath Dhangar, Yogini Khanolkar, Kailash Awasya, Kamla Yadav

Contact : 9818905316

Press Release: Unlawful demolition leaves 600 homeless in Mumbai

GHAR BACHAO GHAR BANAO ANDOLAN

c/o NAPM, Room No 29-30, Ist Floor, A Wing, haji Habib Building, Naigaon Cross Road, Dadar (E), Mumbai 14

Press Release 21st May 2014

UNLAWFUL DEMOLITION OF 130 HOMES, 600 RENDERED HOMELESS

Slum dwellers start Satyagraha asserting their right to shelter: Aam Aadmi Party to support

National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) condemns the unlawful eviction of 600 people and brutal demolition of 130 homes that took place at 90 ft. Road, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Nagar, Mulund (E), Mumbai yesterday, May 20th.

In January 2013, Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan had set up an enquiry commission to curb corrupt practices plaguing 6 SRA (Slum Rehabilitation Authority) projects and Re-development plans in slum areas of Mumbai after local residents had exposed the irregularities. The commission was led by Mr. Debashish Chakrabarty, Principal Secretary (Housing).

It is after 1 year and 5 months of investigation that Mr Chakrabarty submitted his report to Chief Minister in which it is concluded that the slum dwellers should approach the Additional Collector for getting the eligibility issue resolved, and for other issues they are asked to submit their application to the SRA who would give an hearing and settle the issues. All this is yet to happen. It is also not clear that whether the CM has approved the report however the report is recently received by NAPM and the NAPM was to act on the same. It is therefore absolutely unjustifiable that the houses are demolished without serving the purpose of the enquiry itself.

While the enquiry is extra-ordinarily delayed, Samarth Spark Developers have used this opportunity to their own advantage, which is grabbing land by displacing the poor. First, they have cleverly manipulated the law by prompting Ashtabhuja Society to file a case against them (vide writ petition 647/2014 date. 03.04.2014) as a result of which the High Court has ordered demolition of these houses. Whether the court was kept in dark about the enquiry commission or not, its judgement has led to the demolition even before the enquiry’s final findings. Then, in cahoots with the local administration, they’ve carried out the demolition before the victims could take recourse to law.

Demolitions were carried out in the early hours of morning by Tehsildar Smt. Dalvi under direct orders from Deputy Collector Ravi Patil.

Out of the 136 demolished homes, 16 were unsurveyed and hence didn’t qualify for demolition.

Out of the demolished houses 111 didn’t qualify under the 1/1/95 cut-off for slum dwellings but they were to be in the process of getting declared as eligible since the government had decided to increase the 95 cut-off to the year 2000. [‘Free housing for slumdwellers till 2000’ |TNN | Jan 3, 2012]. The Deputy Collector was well-informed about this process but went ahead with the demolitions showing clear bias for the builder fraternity at the cost of urban poor. It is thus clear that the election promises to the urban poor in Mumbai have already forgotten and the politicians are back to their unjustice & illegal practices.

Ten households which were legal structure, but had denied rehabilitation in transit camps were also evicted. Their inability to move into the transit camp was again an administrative blunder as the camp was situated on disputed land (public playground). In any case the transit camp are in a very bad condition and while others are compelled to stay there this households had demanded a legal and liveable transit accommodation. Such high-handedness is unacceptable in any civilized society and can only lead to further disenchantment of the people from administrative machinery and alienation from recourse to law. Other households have been demanding their inclusion in the housing scheme of ashtabhuja society as project affected person (PAPs) since this was accepted by the ashtabhuja society when they were granted the land for the housing project inspite of about 600 families living on the land at the time of allotment.

Ms Medha patkar had called and spoken to Chief Minister asking him to intervene in the matter and not to permit eviction and demolition of houses till the process of enquiry is completed and justice is assured. He had promised to do the same but with no avail.

Eviction notices were handed out on 19th May, 2014 at 1 PM. Showing exemplary promptness and utmost loyalty to their builder benefactors, officials carried out demolitions much before the stipulated deadline of 24 hours was over. At 9.30 AM, 600 families including children, senior citizens and a large number of women were thrown on the streets. Their personal possessions lie buried in the rubble, and in the scorching heat and an impending monsoon, all these citizens of Mumbai have been cruelly left at the mercy of nature.

In the past 11 years, SRA plans have shown little progress. The CAG report for Maharashtra (Civil) dated 31st march 2011 clearly indicates the failure of this scheme.

It is important for media to note the fact that in the past, Chief Promoter of the SRA – Moreshwar Koli and aides of Samarth Spark Developers led by Dattaji Desai and Raju Salve have taken violent measures to take over the land. They are responsible for not just intimidation, but goons were hired on 10th July, 2011 to inflict serious assault on members of Ambedkar Basti.

At this hour of extreme injustice, we seek the support of all citizens of this country who believe in the basic right of shelter for all human beings. Demolition is an act of violence with official sanction; its victims are poor who are living in shanties not out of choice. By criminalizing hard-working women and innocent children, Mumbai will only become a city but without a heart.

Sumit Wajale (9892727063) Altamash Shaikh (7738991699) Poonam kanojiya

Ajay Palande Santosh Thorat Jameel bhai.

Press Release: Medha Patkar’s election campaign ends on a high note

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.

Medha Patkar

*************************
Narmada Bachao Andolan,
Narmada-Ashish, Off Kasravad Road,
Navalpura, Badwani,
Madhya Pradesh – 451551
Ph: 07290-291464; Fax: 07290-222549
E-mail: medha.narmada@gmail.com ;
nba.medha@gmail.com

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;

6/6, Jangpura B, Mathura Road, New Delhi – 110014; Phone : 011 26241167 / 2435 4737; E-mail: napmindia@gmail.com | napmindia@napm-india.org Web : http://www.napm-india.org

Land Acquisition in India: News Updates: 21 November, 2013

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

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 :

  • The Satyagrahis have exposed the falsehood in the number of balance families yet to be rehabilitated. While Narmada Control Authority (NCA) report showed balance to be zero. The figure, prima-facie, calculated shows it to be above 1500 in Maharashtra.
  • The details of land in Maharashtra and Gujarat for rehabilitation to be finalised and those will to be shared to the representatives of the oustees within next 7 to 10 days.
  • Various amenities – health, jetty, solar lamps – are to be provided to the villages on the Narmada Bank and rehabilitation sites, as per detailed decision taken.
  • Enquiry into corruption discovered in NREGA, 2 Crores in 8 villages and few crores in 3 other villages where social audit was conducted years back will lead to concrete action planned.
  • 73 forest villages will become revenue and the process is expected to be completed by October 1st week. NBA has finished all documents, explaining the legal and illegal process on this, during last one a half decade.
  • The Medium projects, where 20 Crores, as opposed to, planned 6 crores is to be spent on survey and plans itself, are challenged by the Andolan. Those dams on the tributaries of Narmada, and as agreed by the Collector, can’t proceed unless the due democratic, consultative process is carried out, at the Gram Sabhas level.
  • Jeevanshalas will be provided grains at concessional BPL rates; beginning from October 2nd, as per a GR of Government of Maharashtra.

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

 

Peaceful protest by 1200 adivasis: Police excesses condemnable

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:

  1. Finalize the exact number of oustees living in the 33 original villages, whose land-rehabilitation is pending.
  2. Sardar Sarovar should not be pushed ahead at any cost, until complete cultivable, irrigable and suitable land-based rehabilitation of all the oustees, with house plots, all civic amenities at the resettlement sites as per the Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal Award (NWDTA) and Judgements of the Supreme Court is guaranteed.
  3. Immediate Panchanamas and payment of compensation for all the crop and house losses due to illegal submergence.
  4. District administration must concretely take ahead the process of recognizing community forest rights and convert all the 73 forest villages into revenue villages by the end of September, 2013, in compliance with the directive of the Secretary, State Forest Department to the District Collector.
  5. Prompt inquiry into corruption and irregularities in NREGA, PDS and other schemes and strict legal action against the responsible officials / persons. More than 2 crores corruption in 8 villages of Dhadgaon has been unearthed, with wages paid to deceased and non-existent persons etc !
  6. Halt to and review of the series of medium dams on the tributaries of Narmada and provide all documents, project proposal, maps, clearances, in the local languages to the Gram Sabhas and decide on the local water use and management with consent of the Gram Sabha.

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

Twitter : @napmindia

 

PRESS INVITATION: Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation, and Resettlement Bill, 2011

PRESS INVITATION

Dear Friends,

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.

Warm Regards,

Madhuresh Kumar, NAPM 9818905316 Sanjeev Kumar, Delhi Solidarity Group 9958797409
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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 Land illegally allotted to SEZ

Vanpic-Oustees-Take

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

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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

Twitter : @napmindia

People’s Commission Report on Special Rehabilitation Scheme Released

NATIONAL ALLIANCE OF PEOPLE’S MOVEMENTS
A Wing First Floor, Haji Habib Building, Naigaon Cross Road
Dadar (E), Mumbai – 400 014 Ph. No-2415 0529 E-mail: napmindia@gmail.com

6/6, Jangpura B, New Delhi 110014. Phone : 9818905316
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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

 

NAPM Extends Solidarity to protestors of Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor

NAPM Extends Solidarity to the Indefinite Dharna in Raigad District against forced land acquisition for DMIC Project

[See below press Release from Jagatikikaran Vriodhi Kruti Samiti and photos]

New Delhi / Mumbai, April 17 : Supporting the indefinite dharna of the farmers and workers of Raigad district National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) has written to the Chief Minister, Maharashtra asking him to stop the forceful land acquisition for the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC). Since, April 10th, in Mangaon under the aegis of Sarvahara Jan Andolan – Jagatikikaran Vriodhi Kruti Samiti, farmers and labourers from 69 villages have been sitting on an indefinite dharna with one village coming together each day infront of SDO office. They are protesting since, 9715 families of 69 villages in Maangaon, Roha and Tala Talukas have received notifications for acquisition of a total of 24,207 acres of land for Dighi Industrial Area part of DMIC corridor. In fact total of 67,500 acres from 78 villages of these three talukas are to be acquired. MIDC has already acquired 2000 hectares of land since 1985 at the rate of 20/25,000 Rs per acre, of which land has been given to Jindal, POSCO and others. There is no record of percentage land utilised and unutilised with MIDC, even though in the past fifty years it has acquired more than 13 lakh acres of land. The provisions of MIDC Act is more draconian than Land Acquisition Act, 1894, which leaves little scope for the consent of the affected population.

The current notifications issued to farmers are illegal since the issuing authority SDO does not have the power to issue notifications of land above the price of Rs. 50, 000. However, the current rate as per MIDC’s own notification is Rs. 40 lakhs per acre. Farmers who are protesting this, you may recall, had forced the state government to cancel the Raigad SEZ that was being developed by the Reliance earlier but the land in the same region is now under threat of acquisition once again.

In second – third week of March this year NAPM undertook a yatra along the route of DMIC Corridor starting from Mumbai on Women’s Day and culminating in Delhi on March 18th in a 20,000 strong farmers and workers Mahapanchyat saying no to forced land acquisition and need to address crisis in Indian agriculture. We wonder what is the tearing hurry when a new Land Acquisition, Resettlement and Rehabilitation Bill is near finalisation in the Parliament.

In Aurangabad, under DMIC and associated state government projects, if things go as planned, 234000 hectares land of 362 villages will be acquired in the name of development in a region which is witnessing the worst draught in many years. Most of the ground water and surface water sources, livelihood dependent on agriculture are already under extreme stress. With the plans for the land acquisition for various projects, there will be a disaster in the whole region for the those leaving on the margins, forcing large scale migrations and impoverishment.

In many of the places where DMIC is supposed to come up, neither the people nor the democratically elected representatives are aware of this monstrosity or their consent has been sought. We believe that hard – earned freedom and democratic rights of the people, as enshrined in the Constitution of India are at stake here. Indian Constitution has provided for the state’s mandate to involve and promote role of all citizens in the planning under number of articles, esp. 243-244. However, the DMIC authorities have violated all of these provisions, since the deal and plans have been finalized by the Union and State government and that too by some bureaucrats without consulting the democratically elected bodies.

Forcible acquisition of land in the name of industrial and city development will only lead to development of real estate and land grab, bringing not prosperity, but impoverishment to the existing population. The past experience tells us that claims of employment generation and absorbing the affected remain largely on paper. Transforming the economic pursuits cannot happen overnight, involuntarily. That this plan with huge impacts on the targeted corridor region, esp. the Investment Region and Industrial Areas cannot and should not be finalised without a full-fledged public debate within the directly affected areas at the state level.

NAPM demands that the Government of Maharashtra reviews the whole plan and initiate a public dialogue on the DMIC plan and projects therein. We demand that the state government should pro-actively provide all information about the total plan and projects to the citizens including the affected, and no forced acquisition of land be attempted at any cost.

Farmers of Raigad had earlier forced the cancellation of SEZ and once again they will challenge at any cost the forcible land acquisition. NAPM supports their struggle and stands in their resolve to struggle.

Medha Patkar, Suniti S R, Prafulla Samantara, Dr. Sunilam, Arundhati Dhuru, Vilas Bhongade, Bhupinder Singh Rawat, Vijay Diwan, Vimal Bhai, Prasad Bagwe, Anand Mazgaonkar, Krishnakant, Rajendra Ravi, Madhuresh Kumar

Contact: 09818905316 | napmindia@gmail.com

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Jagatikikaran Virodhi Kruti Samiti

Indefinite Dharna against forced acquisition for Delhi Mumbai Industrial corridor in Raigad, Maharashtra

Mangon / Mumbai, April 17 : The farmers and workers of Raigad district are on an indefinite dharna in front of Sub divisional office at Mangaon dist. Raigad, Maharashtra since April 10th. They have been served notices for acquisition of their land under the Maharashtra Industrial Corporation Act. 67,500 acres of land is to be acquired for Dighi port industrial area as a node in Proposed Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor. Farmers from 78 villages under Mangaon, Roha and Tala Tahsils would become completely landless.

All the village Panchayats have unanimously resolved not to give their land for this disastrous and pro corporate project, which has been undemocratically planned too. However the state govt. has not taken any cognizance so far. The panchayats have been further asked to surrender their common property lands and give NOC for it’s transfer. This has created a lot of unrest amongst farmers. The individual notices have been issued to six villages and the 7/12 extracts of all the lands in these villages have been stamped and reserved for the proposed corridor.

How are we going to survive if we lose entire land, the only source of our livelihood, ask the farmers. They don’t trust the govt and it’s assurances as the experience in the past has been totally negative. Why govt is in a hurry to grab the lands before the new land acquisition bill gets passed at the Centre which gives space to the farmers to express their opinions, ask the farmers. Despite the directions given by the Union ministry forced and compulsory acquisition is going on. The irrigated as well as good amount of fertile paddy fields are being acquired. This has enraged the farmers further.

The dharna started on 10th April in the presence of Mr. N. D. Patil, and several activists from various parts of the state, under the banner of Jagatikikaran Virodhi Kruti Samiti. Every day one village comes to dharana to express their resolve not to part with their lands, in big numbers with women and children.

Detailed project report of this project has not been prepared yet. Environment impact assessment is also not done. Why the govt is in hurry then? Asks Ulka Mahajan who is leading the struggle. The govt. sources are not ready to disclose any information nor is there any transparency. This creates a lot of doubts in the minds of the farmers.

Sub Divisional officer Mangaon has been appointed as land acquisition authority , who has powers to fix the compensation upto 50,000 Rs. per acre according to the notice issued to the farmers. However the guardian minister of the dist. Mr. Suneel Tatkare, declared that he would try to give 10 lakh rs. per acre. The farmers laugh at this attempt and they don’t want to give the lands even if the compensation is increased. Recently the residents of Raigad presently living in Mumbai got organized and decided to launch agitation against this forced acquisition in Mumbai on 1st May at Azad Maidan.

The dharana would continue till mid May 2013, till every village registers it’s protest. Several groups and associations such as bar association, Patrakar Sangh, doctor’ association, have declared their support to the agitation.

Ulka Mahajan (9869232478)

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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

 

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