Press Release: Unanimous rejection of Land Acquisition Bill 2015

Press Release

.Bhumi Adhikar Andolan

Unanimous rejection of Land Acquisition Bill 2015, Joint Forum to Intensify Opposition

Representatives of people’s movements, peasant unions and farmers’ organisations from across country reject the bill as anti-farmer and undemocratic at public hearing. A Strong message to JPC to oppose anti-constitutional Land Bill.

New Delhi, 23rd July 2015: A public hearing was organised by Bhumi Adhikar Andolan, a nationwide movement for land rights, that saw representatives of people’s movements, peasant & agricultural labour unions and farmers organisations from ten states come together to share their struggles against land acquisition. The hearing, following the submission of recommendations to the Joint Parliamentary Committee, was organised in light of the committee’s failure to undertake wider ground-level consultations with mass organisations.

Representatives of various mass movements such as Medha Patkar, Vasavi Karo, Ashok Choudhary, Prafulla Samantara, Ramalingam, Hannan Mollah, Vimal bhai, Hansraj Gheora, KKR Lenin, Alok Shukla, Dr. Rupesh Varma, Com. Satyavan, Ulka Mahajan, Umesh Kumar, NK Shukla, Sriram Bharadwaj, etc. shared past and ongoing struggle experiences against land acquisition and the grave implications of the upcoming bill for majority of the country’s population. JPC member and Rajya Sabha MP Shri Jairam Ramesh (INC), Vaiko (MDMK), Jitendra Choudhary (CPM) and Sankar Prasad Dutta (CPM) participated in the hearing and expressed support.

Terming the Land Ordinance as the biggest attack on farmers, representatives highlighted the fact that promulgation of the Ordinance for the third time despite the JPC looking into the matter reflects disrespect for the committee’s efforts.  The unprecedented scale of land acquisition and the agrarian crisis are two sides of the same coin which is evident from projects such as the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor which will impact 31% of the country’s agricultural land.

Multi-crop land and productive rain-fed, semi-arid and dry lands that ensure food security are at risk with no clear reasoning or facts behind the acquisition of vast tracts of land. The lack of a Land Use Policy has also provided unlimited opportunities of misuse where land has been transferred into private hands for real estate and luxury projects.

Representatives shared their frustrations regarding repeated violations in tribal, biodiversity rich and eco-sensitive areas. Despite constitutional provisions tribals have suffered from large scale displacement due to acquisition for mining, dams and industries. Utter disregard for informed consent, consultation and local governance processes have been countered by several successful struggles which are now being repressed with armed forces. A recent example is the illegal acquisition for Kanhar Dam project where police fired indiscriminately on several hundred dalits and tribals and arrested key activists.

Representatives felt that by moving towards greater power to the states in land acquisition processes, the government is shirking its responsibility since land is a concurrent subject where central governments have the final say. Various active state acquisition laws and massive capital development projects such as the AP land pooling scheme are testimony to this trend.

It was unanimously felt that the ordinance represents a corporate driven growth model that is not inclusive and will only impoverish large sections of the population. Recent census data shows that 1 in 3 rural households are landless and this statistic will only rapidly worsen with the proposed Bill.

Participants vowed to intensify opposition to the Bill through this broad struggle that has brought workers and farmers to a common forum and placed the issue of land rights at the centre again. Representatives of Bhumi Adhikar Andolan concluded the hearing with a proposal based on the sharings by the various groups that will be submitted to the JPC.

National Alliance for People’s Movements (NAPM), All India Union of Forest Working People (AIUFWP), All India Kisan Sabha (Ajay Bhawan), All India Kisan Sabha (Canning Lane), Akhil Bhartiya Krishak Khet Mazdoor Sangathan, Lok Sangharsh Morcha, Narmada Bachao Andolan, Jan Sangharsh Samanvaya Samiti, Chhatisgarh Bachao Aandolan, Kisan Sangharsh Samiti, Sanyukt Kisan Sangharsh Samilti, INSAF, Delhi Solidarity Group, Sarvahara Jan Andolan, Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan, VTMS, Matu Jansangathan

 Contact: 9818905316, 9958797409, 9911528696

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Narmada: 30 Years of Resilience – a Calendar (April 2015-March 2016)

Manibeli Satyagraha/Manibeli

Narmada: 30 Years of Resilience – a Calendar
(April 2015-March 2016)

Dear Friend,

Narmada Bachao Andolan (Save the Narmada Movement) has completed 30 years of its history and innumerable struggles. The Delhi Solidarity Group is celebrating this great event it by bringing out a calendar.

Thirty long years of NBA’s arduous struggles against the construction of mega-dams on the River Narmada for social and environmental justice, today stands out as one of the most important symbol of peoples’ struggles in India. Non-violence and civil disobedience embodied in the Narmada Bachao Andolan is a collective history of innumerable rallies, hundreds of hunger strikes, sit-in protests, dharnas, gheraos, public meetings, folk songs, street plays and dances which have all formed part of the struggle that asserted the right of the people to their land, water and forests and set a precedent for a large number of other social movements in India. This mammoth collective history needs to be recorded in a visual form and disseminated to the people who are concerned about unjust development practices.

The Narmada calendar would feature the trajectories and the contours of the movement around the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) with hundreds of protests, hunger strikes, rallies, dharnas, police atrocities, court interventions, landmark judgments and protests against the involvement World Bank. The calendar would also feature photographs, banners, slogans etc., to bring alive some of the remarkable events in its history. This calendar is not just any other calendar, but a chronicle of thirty years of peoples’ struggle in the Narmada Valley.

We would like to invite you to be part of this great movement and participate in spreading the message of non-violent struggles for a just and equitable society.

The Calendar is priced at Rs. 300/- per copy. Dimensions: 15” X 20”
The proceeds from the sale of the calendar would go to Narmada Bachao Andolan.

Contributions to the Calendar can be made by cheque or DD (payable at New Delhi) in favour of: Intercultural Resources

Please send your contributions to: Intercultural Resources, 33-D, DDA SFS Flats, Vijaymandal Enclave, New Delhi – 110016

Please place your orders by 20th of March, 2015. Spread the word around!
Write to: ihpindia@gmail.com

Thanking you and looking forward to receive your orders.

With warm regards

For Delhi Solidarity Group
Joe Athialy
Madhuresh Kumar
Vijayan M.J.
Sanjeev Kumar
PT George

Massive Dharna in New Delhi: Anger pours out against unconstitutional, anti-farmer Land Ordinance

24 February, 2015

Anger pours out on the streets of the capital against unconstitutional, anti-farmer Land Ordinance

Over 350 organizations, twenty thousand farmers-workers from across country threaten intensified stir

Delegation met President at 6 pm, 24 February, 2015:

No compromise on core demands to repeal Black Ordinance

Delhi: Fury and frustration rocked the capital today, as nearly twenty thousand farmers, adivasis, workers, fisher people and others dependent on land for their livelihood converged from the length and breadth of the country and warned the Narendra Modi-led NDA Government that they shall intensify their stir, if the unconstitutional Ordinance amending the Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation Act, 2013 Act is not dropped in toto. From amidst songs and slogans, flags and banners, representing the diversity of the social movements from across the country, the voice that emerged was clear and united – Drop the Ordinance: Stop Land Acquisition, Ensure Land Rights.

More than 350 organizations and networks of farmers, workers, tribals from all the states of the Country including National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), All Indian Union of Forest Working People (AIUFWP), All India Kisan Sabha (36 Canning Lane), All India Kisan Sabha (Ajoy Bhavan), Ekta Parishad, Kisan Sagharsh Samiti, Narmada Bachao Andolan, Yuva Kranti, Campaign for Survival and Dignity, Chhattisgarh Bachao Andolan, All India Agricultural Workers’ Union, Bharatiya Khet Mazdoor Union, Sanyukt Kisan Sangharsh Samiti, INSAF, Delhi Solidarity Group, Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan, Agragami Kisan Sabha, Jan Sangharsh Vahini, National Fish workers Forum, Punjab Kisan Union participated in the protest action today.

The farmers questioned the Prime Minister as to what kind of “Ache din” does he envisages for the millions of small agriculturalists of the country if lakhs of farmers are displaced by mega projects, thousands of hectares of land is handed over to private companies and corporates and the food-security is threatened by acquisition of multi-cropped farmland. Despite a roaring protest at the Parliament Street by thousands of farmers, the Govt. has introduced a Bill in the Lok Sabha to legislate this Ordinance. This, the farmers said is condemnable and undemocratic.

Anna Hazare, who sat all day along with the activists of the different movements said that farmers and workers will have to prepare for a long term struggle and be prepared to even go to jail. He called for a nation-wide movement against the corporate loot of the land, which feeds the whole country. Government must withdraw the ordinance is what we all demand and they must do it.

Addressing the massive gathering, Medha Patkar challenged the ‘electoral promises’ of the ruling party, which was part of the parliamentary process leading to enactment of the Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation Act, 2013. Now in ‘power’ it is seeking to sniff away the soul of the Act, by removing the key provisions of “consent” & “social impact assessment” and manipulating the definitions of “private entities” and “public purpose”, purely to promote business interests. Stating that the interests of farmers is supreme in a agricultural economy like India, Anna Hazare gave a clarion call to the farmers that this is nothing less than a Do-or-die’ battle, it is the second war of independence, a war for freedom from repressive government, oppressive laws and corporate control over natural resources.

Hannan Mollah, spoke about the need for united movement and said that the BJP-led NDA Government had brought the draconian Ordinance to suit the interests of the Corporates and Land Mafia. He said the BJP Government’s move will be defeated and struggles will be launched at all sites of unjust land acquisition.

Atul Anjaan, said this Protest Rally is just the beginning and there will be need to launch a prolonged struggle. He said the BJP Government which is a Government of the Corporates, land mafia and builders’ lobby has dared to bring an Ordinance worse than the British Colonial Act of 1894. He said it was a political battle and also emphasized the need to speak to all Political Parties to defeat the Government move in Parliament too.

Representatives of numerous farmers organizations, tribal rights groups, workers movements vented their rage at the Modi Govt’s anti-people agenda and open invitation to profit-makers and looters to plunder the country’s resources- land, coats, rivers, fish, minerals etc. Thousands of farmers also shouted out slogans that they do not need “crumbs of compensation”. The Ordinance nullifies the most significant provisions of the 2013 Act and takes it back to the pre-1994 days. The same is unacceptable, they said. NDA government has only been launching schemes for the corporates and private businesses but nothing of significance for farm sector and farmers, it was felt.

Speakers also said that similar to the British, the present Government is trying to “divide” the farmers and rulers in the interests of the Adanis and Ambanis, who have fuelled the election campaign of the BJP. However, we shall stay united in our demand for a complete revocation of the Ordinance, they said. If Ambani, Adani are your side, Birsa, Munda are on our said, roared an adivasi woman leader. All the protestors expressed a common resolve that “We will not let Modi-Govt. snatch our rights and take India back to pre-independence days”.

Various speakers condemned the unparliamentarily ‘Ordinance Raj’ in every sector, be it land, coal, mining, insurance, motor vehicles and derided the Governance through Ordinance mechanism, by-passing both the Parliament and the People. Leaders and representatives of various political parties and their affiliated organizations also expressed their solidarity with the demands of the farmers and demanded that the Ordinance be revoked. Retd. Jst. Rajinder Sacher, Adv. Sanjay Parikh and many other academicians, advocates, activists visited the dharna site and expressed solidarity.

Protest actions to continue through the Budget Session:

Various Farmers Organizations including Akhil Bhartiya Kisansabha, Agragami Kisan Sabha, All India Agricultural Workers’ Union, Bharatiya Khet Mazdoor Union etc. and People’s Movements have resolved that the struggle against the Ordinance shall continue, rather intensify in the days to come in every state and every district. While hundreds of Gram Sabhas across the country have already passed resolutions, thousands more shall do so shortly. “We will not allow NDA Govt. to legislate this Black Ordinance by brute force, “they resolved.

Delegation Meets President:

The farmers leaders also said that while President’s statement in his budget speech that his “government attaches paramount importance to safeguard the interest and well-being of farmers and families affected by land acquisition”, is welcome, his ‘approval’ of the Ordinance, which is fundamentally anti-farmer is unacceptable. In the same speech, he has liberally endorsed the “Make in India”, “Single-Window Clearance” and “Ease of Business” and “Smart City Programme” as hallmarks of ‘his Government’. All these approaches will sound the death-knell of the farming and working classes of this country and destroy our natural resources, to the detriment of generations. A delegation including Hannan Mollah, Atul Kumar Anjaan, Medha Patkar, Sunilam, Roma Malik, Rakesh Rafik, Vijoo Krishnan and Harpal Singh met the President today evening and exhorted him to resolve the ongoing impasse in the interests of the toiling peasants of the country and use his “highest constitutional office” to ensure that the Ordinance is not legislated. The President expressed sympathies for the Farmers in distress and said he would send the Memorandum to the Government (Copy of the Memorandum is attached).

The protest also witnessed the participation of a large number of young people and women, small farmers and tribals signaling that this movement shall be led by these people in the coming days Simultaneous protests and demonstrations, burning of the Ordinance etc. were organised across the country in Patna, Lucknow, Ludhiana, Bhubaneshwar and many other places.

For details contact : 9958797409, 9810423296, 9818905316, 9911955109 | email : napmindia@gmail.com

Photos from Dharna https://www.flickr.com/photos/joeathialy/sets/72157651000927802/ Credit Joe Athialy

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National Alliance of People’s Movements
National Office : 6/6, Jangpura B, Mathura Road, New Delhi 110014
Phone : 011 24374535 Mobile : 09818905316
Web : http://www.napm-india.org | napmindia@gmail.com
Facebook : http://www.facebook.com/NAPMindia

Farmers protest against logistics hub in Bawal

Haryana government’s plan to fast track the multi-modal logistics hub (MMLH) at Bawal in the NCR received a major jolt on Monday when a delegation of farmers walked out of a meeting called by the state industry department at Haryana Bhawan. The meeting was convened to discuss compensation for land acquisition for this multi-crore project. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/City/Delhi/Farmers-protest-against-logistics-hub-in-Bawal/articleshow/34707408.cms

Climate change Update on 1 April 2014

1. UN report on Climate change: Regional impact
The IPCC report relased on 31 March, 2014 point out that Climate change would soon severly affect the world’s regions.
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/environment/global-warming/UN-report-on-Climate-change-Regional-impact/articleshow/33016097.cms

2. Mangrove forests fight climate change impacts: Experts tell regional symposium
The two-day symposium, “Ecosystems for Life: A Bangladesh-India Initiative”, drawing representatives from vulnerable coastal communities from Asian countries, aims to share knowledge for practical solutions to tackle complex coastal issues.
http://www.thedailystar.net/city/mangrove-forests-fight-climate-change-impacts-18172

3. Indians are consuming imported GM-processed food: A parliamentary panel has found out that although India doesn’t allow commercial cultivation of genetically modified (GM) crops but Indians may well be consuming GM processed food- knowingly or un-knowingly.
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/32878970.cms

NAPM Condemns Complete annihilation of small farmers in World Agricultural Congress 5-7 Nov.2013

 

National Alliance of People’s Movements

304, GKR Mansion, 6-1-89, Lakdikapul, Hyderabad

Phone: 9849718364/924656373/ 9010205742 email: napmhyderabad@gmail.com

 

Press Release 07th November 2013

 

NAPM Condemns Complete annihilation of small farmers in World Agricultural Congress 5-7Nov.2013

Dubbed as “World Annihilation Forum”, long back, World Agricultural Forum (WAF) has lived up to that and again succeeded in annihilation of small and marginal farmers, their right to discuss issues of concern to them, and created a distance between them and the policy-makers elected by them, in World Agricultural Congress (WAC) 2013.

Unfortunately, WAC 2013, WAF and government leaders from India failed to observe a minute of silence in memory of farmers who committed suicide in the aftermath of cyclone Phailin and heavy rains, just days before WAC 2013 commenced. Amidst a chaotic agricultural farm situation, with crop losses, stagnant water in the field, huge farmer debts, in Andhra Pradesh, WAC 2013 has begun and ended, with no reference to such a situation. In the past three days, no word has been uttered on the farmers suicides, or calamities faced by farmers in AP and elsewhere in India.

Achievements of World Agricultural Forum, at WAC 2013:

1. Successfully created barriers in participation of small and marginal farmers in WAC 2013 through high registration fees, high security, inaccessible place, alien concepts, using English as the basic medium of communication, prior development of topics without any scope for integration of local content, expensive ‘corporate’ atmosphere and inhospitable attitude.

2. Extraction of Statement from Union Minister of State for Agriculture Tariq Anwar conducive to their objective and agenda, including genetically modified (GM) crop seeds and contract farming.

3. By the participation of a Union Minister, Chief Minister, Agriculture Ministers of AP and Karnataka, WAF could get legitimacy to their organization and visibility to their anti-farmer objectives.

Difference between WAC 2011 (Brussels) and WAC 2013 (Hyderabad) is obvious. While WAF could not achieve government participation and partnership in a corporate-friendly US and Europe, in India, populated by independent, sovereign small farmers, government was eager to be seen with WAF functionaries. Participants were happy with the full operations and logistics service over three days, which included coordinating 75 speakers from 6 continents. However, in Hyderabad, delegates had to face tough time in getting accommodation, getting translation, etc., and had run pillar to post to get even the minimum needs done. In a international event, translation services are very important. However, local participants were not given any choice. Of course, this is in tune with the core objective of WAF and their sponsors, ‘to deny farmers any choice’. The big saving grace, unfortunate though, has been the huge involvement of Department of Agriculture, Government of Andhra Pradesh, in terms of manning many ‘conference’ services, mobilization of farmers and other participants. Without the involvement of this Department, WAC 2013 would have been damp squib.

Our allegation that WAF is a lobbying organization of multi-national companies, especially Monsanto, was proved right when the Chairman of World Agriculture Forum Advisory Board and former Prime Minister of New Zealand James Bolger called for a political consensus on GM crops, and terming it as the only answer for reduction in food prices. Ignoring the distress among small and marginal farmers caused by profit-making agri-business companies, Union Minister of State for Agriculture Tariq Anwar call for helping companies in getting better prices for their products is completely unexpected, and deplorable.

Speakers and presenters and sponsors of WAC 2013 have deliberately tried to push agri-business as the only answer to increase food production, and GM crops as the means to increase productivity. No session or speaker who could give a wider perspective has been invited or included. Policy-makers, agri-business companies and private profiteers have to realize the farming is not a purely economic activity. Their corporate and business solutions give rise to many economic, environmental, social and quality questions. None of these questions were allowed to be asked at this Congress. WAC 2013 would have been useful if there was wider participation and scope for the views of different stakeholders. Views of farmers, consumers and taxpayers are very important, and not just those of profit-makers and their lobbying organizations.

Estimated, there are about 300 delegates, including 33 from various countries, will discuss in 29 sessions different aspects of agriculture and allied sectors. There will be 13 keynote addresses, 11 round table discussions and five concurrent sessions. However, there is no transparency and information sharing system. Typical of a ‘closed’ corporate event, even the media did not information. Small and marginal farmers who were invited were not allowed and were stopped at the gates. Police officials were posted inside the conference hall, creating an atmosphere of regimentation and barrier-full atmosphere.

We condemn the attitude of WAF and government towards farmers and farming community. We deplore lack of facilities and facilitation for participation of small and marginal farmers. We reject the condescending attitude of the organizers towards enthusiastic farmers, who travelled long distances.

We demand the following:

1. A public apology from World Agricultural Forum for creating barriers in participation of small and marginal farmers.

2. A statement from Government of Andhra Pradesh, and Government of India, clarifying that the presentations and announcements would have no bearing on policies of the government with regard to agriculture and welfare of small and marginal farmers. It should also include a declaration of disassociation from engaging with WAF in future.

3. A compensation package for farmers of Andhra Pradesh, who were distressed by recent cyclones, rains and bad quality seeds, from agri-business corporations and from the financial proceedings of WAC 2013.

4. Publication of all the expenditure incurred by the governments (State and central), and WAF in organizing WAC 2013, and sources of all the monies.

Saraswati Kavula, BRK Raju, Dr. K. Babu Rao, Dr. D.Narasimha Reddy,

Suhas Kolhekar, Maj.Gen. Sudhir Vombatkere

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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
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Twitter : @napmindia