Category Archives: Press Releases

Press Release: Rehabilitation plan for Tansa Pipeline Project Affected

19 December 2017

Rehabilitation plan for Tansa Pipeline Project Affected openly violated Right To Education Act, 2009’

Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan filed complained with MCGM

Demand compensation and strict action for violation of the Act

Mumbai | 18th December 2017: Apart from other major problems in Mahul, Mumbai-the rehabilitation site for the Tansa Pipeline Project Affected Families, the sample survey (of 130 children) carried out by the Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan (GBGBA) revealed that major provisions of Right To Education Act, 2009 are openly violated in the rehabilitation process which resulted in dropping out and traveling to really far off places to attend schools. This is in complete contravention to the core principles of RTE which also include free and compulsory education.

Since the demolition was carried out in the middle of an academic year, children had to continue their schooling in their old schools at original places. The rehabilitation site is variably at a distant place from the original places. The distance range from 10KMs to 20KMs. This has put a financial burden in the form of transportation cost on the poor families. Survey reveals that at least Rs. 200 is spent per day on to and fro transportation cost. This is really a huge cost for a family belonging to EWS or LIG. Majority of the PAFs belongs to these economic groups.Survey also recorded that in some cases where the parents cannot afford this transportation cost have simply stopped sending their children to school.

Due to the long distance between new home and old school, most of the mothers stay at school until it is over so as to save the multiple traveling cost. 
 

No arrangements were made by Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai to accommodate children in a new school at the rehabilitation site so that their academic year is not affected.  MCGM is the responsible body for carrying out rehabilitation of the Tansa Pipeline Project Affected Families.

  

Non-functional local sewage treatment plant has caused sewage to overflow making the streets filthier. School going children making their way to school from one those streets in Mahul rehabilitation site​

RTE provisions stipulate the provisions of schools upto 5th standard and 8th standard within 1KM and 3KM respectively with free transportation so that the travelling cost can be waved off. This is to ensure that transportation cost should not become deterrent in sending children to school. However none of these basic provisions of the Act seems to be taken into consideration while making rehabilitation plan for the Tansa Pipeline Project Affected Families. GBGBA has filed a complaint today before MCGM against the violation of the Act and has sought quick action with a warning of mass action for inaction.

 

Medha Patkar                         Anita Dhole Patil         Uday Mohite     Bilal Khan

Contact: 9958660556

 

— 

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

Twitter : @napmindia

NAPM condemns attack by Hindutva groups on Christians in Madhya Pradesh

19 December, 2017

NAPM condemns attack by Hindutva groups on Christians in Madhya Pradesh

Attack on secular fabric of Indian Constitution continuing, upsurge in religious attacks dangerous for democracy and harmony of the country

Hindutva groups targeting Christians after continuous act of hatred against Muslims

New Delhi | December 18, 2017: National Alliance of People’s Movements expresses deep shock at the unprovoked violence against Christian priests and seminarians in Satna in the Central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh on the night of December 14, 2017. A group of people hailing from Bajrang Dal attacked a group of 30 Seminarians and two Priests of St. Ephrem’s Theological College as they were conducting a routine Christmas carol singing programme which has been the practice during the Christmas season for the last 30 years.

The group came with lathis and started threatening the Priests and Seminarians. Just then they called the police, who arrived in just 15 minutes and taken all Priests and Seminarians to the police station. It is very shameful that during the celebrations, not even the police restricted them of their freedom of religious celebrations but also tortured them by putting all of them in a room which cannot accommodate even half of them. Later when other priests from nearby villages came to enquire, the police allegedly beaten them up and shamelessly acted against the spirit of constitution, leaving Bajrang Dal people untouched and free to do violence inside and outside the police station. They even torched vehicles of priests and beaten up in front of police officials which only proves their involvement in the alleged planned attack and harassment of religious minorities in the garb of prevention from religious conversions.

This is not standalone case but we are seeing this as a trend under the rule of current Government. In most of the BJP ruled states, it has seen a rise in the last three years. Only in Madhya Pradesh, a dozen of incidents happened in the past giving a strong indication of religious attacks by Hindutva groups maligning the secular fabric of the country and constitutional rights of citizens of India.

It is worrying that this incident of mobocracy occurs among a host of other incidents around the country. The video clipping of the gruesome murder of Mohammad Afrazul, a migrant worker from West Bengal who was hacked with a cleaver and then set on fire by a man in Rajasmand, Rajasthan on the suspicion of being in a relationship with a woman from another religious faith has gone viral and many Hindutva groups are being proud of the act and also unfurled the flag on Udaipur session court. Lynchings of more than 32 persons over the last two years almost all from one minority community on the suspicion of killing a cow or possessing beef is creating a fear psychosis among the minorities. These acts of Cow vigilantes do not being credit to our democratic nation with its long tradition of being the model of civilized living and harmonious existence in comparison to some other countries in neighbourhood.

The incident in Satna just a few days before Christmas is shameful and deplorable. Even worse, lynchings, mob attacks and brutal killings of innocent people with culprits often not being found or going unpunished for months are largely blots on our democracy and judiciary.

We condemn the inaction of government and connivance of police forces with the Hindutva groups in this incident. We are deeply concerned and hurt at this religious terrorism. We demand the political leadership at Centre and States to follow the rule of law, respect the Indian Constitution, and to immediately arrest and notify the groups those are continuously acting on the behest of saffron terror groups spreading hatred among different communities. Hate politics cannot take India forward and will only create divisions in the society.

—————————————————————————————————————-

Medha Patkar, Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) and National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM)

Aruna Roy, Nikhil Dey and Shankar Singh, Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS), National Campaign for People’s Right to Information and NAPM

Prafulla Samantara, Lok Shakti Abhiyan, and NAPM, Odisha 

P.Chennaiah, Andhra Pradesh Vyavasaya Vruthidarula Union-APVVU and National Centre For Labour and NAPM (Andhra Pradesh)

Binayak Sen and Kavita Srivastava, People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL)

Gabriele Dietrich, Penn Urimay Iyakkam, Madurai and NAPM (Tamilnadu)

Geetha Ramakrishnan, Unorganised Sector Workers Federation, NAPM, (Tamilnadu) 

Sandeep Pandey, Socialist Party and NAPM, Uttar Pradesh

Sister Celia, Domestic Workers Union, and NAPM, Karnataka 

Maj Gen (Retd) S. G. Vombatkere, Mysuru, NAPM, Karnataka

Arundhati Dhuru, Manesh Gupta, NAPM, Uttar Pradesh 

Vilayodi Venugopal, CR Neelakandan and Prof. Kusumam NAPM, Kerala

Anand Mazgaonkar and Krishnakant, Paryavaran Suraksh Samiti, NAPM Gujarat 

Ramakrishnam Raju, United Forum for RTI and NAPM (Andhra Pradesh)

Vimal Bhai, Matu Jansangathan, NAPM, Uttarakhand 

Dayamani Barla, Aadivasi-Moolnivasi Astivtva Raksha Samiti, NAPM Jharkhand

Dr. Sunilam and Adv. Aradhna Bhargava, Kisan Sangharsh Samiti, and NAPM, Madhya Pradesh

Samar Bagchi and Amitava Mitra, NAPM West Bengal

Suniti SR, Suhas Kolhekar, and Prasad Bagwe, NAPM Maharashtra 

Kailash Meena, NAPM Rajasthan 

Gautam Bandopadhyay, NAPM, Chhattisgarh

Anjali Bharadwaj, National Campaign for People’s Right to Information and NAPM

Kaladas Dahariya, RELAA, Chhatisgarh

Meera Sanghamitra, NAPM Telangana-Andhra Pradesh

Bhupender Singh Rawat, Jan Sangharsh Vahini, NAPM, Delhi

Faisal Khan, Khudai Khidmatgar, NAPM Haryana

J S Walia, NAPM Haryana 

Lingraj Azad, Samajwadi Jan Parishad, Niyamgiri Suraksha Samiti, and NAPM, Odisha

Guruwant Singh, NAPM Punjab

Richa Singh, Sangatin Kisan Mazdoor Sangathan, NAPM Uttar Pradesh

Arul Doss, NAPM (Tamilnadu)

Jabar Singh, NAPM, Uttarakhand 

Sister Dorothy, NAPM Bihar

Kamayani Swami and Ashish Ranjan, Jan Jagran Shakti Sangathan, and NAPM Bihar 

Mahendra Yadav, Kosi Navnirman Manch, NAPM Bihar 

Basanat Hetamsaria and Ashok Verma, NAPM Jharkhand 

Bilal Khan, Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan, Mumbai and NAPM

Rajendra Ravi, Nanhu Prasad, Madhuresh Kumar, Sunita Rani, Amit Kumar, Himshi Singh, Uma, NAPM, Delhi

Aaquib Zabed Mazumder, Rajesh Serupally, NAPM, Telangana – Andhra Pradesh 

 

— 

 

— 

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

Twitter : @napmindia

Press Release: STOP ENACTMENT OF TRANSGENDER BILL, 2016

OPEN APPEAL TO THE PARLIAMENT OF INDIA

TO STOP ENACTMENT OF TRANSGENDER BILL, 2016

 

Solidarity with the Nation-wide Resistance of Transgender, Intersex, Genderqueer People to Assert Their Constitutional and Human Rights

 

16th Dec, 2017: National Alliance of People’s Movements is deeply concerned that the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016, to which there is massive resistance across the country from the transgender, intersex, genderqueer people, is being tabled in the Winter Session of the Parliament. The Bill in its current form is an unfortunately regressive step back from the landmark judgemnt of the Supreme Court in NALSA vs UoI (April, 2014), the more acceptable Private Member Bill on Transgender Rights passed by Rajya Sabha in 2014 and the progressive Parliamentary Standing Committee (PSC) Recommendations issued in July, 2017.

The Bill has a potential to seriously undermine the rights and interests of the already marginalized and historically wronged communities it claims to ‘protect’ and benefit’. It is for these reasons that NAPM appeals to the Parliament of India to Stop passage of the Transgender Bill in its current form and instead hold widespread consultations with the communities at stake in the light of NALSA judgement, Private Member Bill and PSC recommendations.  

It is indeed appalling that disregarding the significant discourse that has emerged around trans rights as mentioned above, the Bill again resorts to a series of draconian provisions such as – ambiguous and humiliating definition of transgender; arbitrary district screening committee for identification and authentication of trans persons; criminalization of  begging and traditional livelihoods, especially in the light of no provisions for jobs and reservations, non-recognition of the structures of family and care of hijra and trans people, stipulation of lesser penalties in cases of violence and discrimination against transpersons, replacing ‘Transgender Commission’ with a weaker ‘Council’, no affirmative measures to enable education and employment of trans persons etc.

Although, owing to pressure from trans communities across the country, we have been witnessing sporadic news reports that the Govt. of India has been ‘considering’ incorporation of some of the progressive recommendations of the PSC, such as expanding the definition of ‘transgender’ and dropping the ‘district screening committee’, there is no guarantee on many other substantive and long-standing demands of the community such as stringent penal provisions against discrimination, reservations in education and employment, healthcare, National and State Transgender Commissions etc. in any case no clear official clarity on any of the changes that would be made.    

We salute the valiant transgender, intersex, genderqueer people who have been organizing massive resistance across the country, particularly in West Bengal, Telangana, Karnataka, Kerala, Assam, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Manipur, Maharashtra, Delhi etc. against the unacceptable provisions of the Bill and express our full solidarity with their Call for a National Protest Action on 17th December at Parliament Street, New Delhi.  

It is rather ironic that a Bill of this nature, a first of its kind in the 70 years of ‘independent India’, with a claim to undo the historical injustice and recognize citizenship rights of the transgender community is actually trampling upon the rights of the community and denying basic constitutional, civil and citizenship rights. A Bill in the name of the transgender community should ideally be introduced and passed with the approval of the community and certainly not in such a situation where there is enormous critique and wide spread protests against the Bill.

We appeal to the Parliament of India, as a key pillar of our democratic edifice, and to each and every parliamentarian, across party lines, to stop passage of the Bill in its present form and listen to the demands of the community with sensitivity and openness. We hope the Parliament will stop this version, consult the community and then come up with a Bill, incorporating the progressive aspects upheld by the NALSA judgement, Private Member Bill and PSC recommendations, so that the community welcomes with the Bill open arms and not with protests, petitions and placards. 

—————————————————————————————————————-

Medha Patkar, Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) and National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM)

Aruna Roy, Nikhil Dey and Shankar Singh, Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS), National Campaign for People’s Right to Information and NAPM

Prafulla Samantara, Lok Shakti Abhiyan, and NAPM, Odisha 

P.Chennaiah, Andhra Pradesh VyavasayaVruthidarula Union-APVVU and National Centre For Labour and NAPM (Andhra Pradesh)

Binayak Sen and Kavita Srivastava, People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL)

Gabriele Dietrich, Penn UrimayIyakkam, Madurai and NAPM (Tamilnadu)

Geetha Ramakrishnan, Unorganised Sector Workers Federation, NAPM, (Tamilnadu) 

Sandeep Pandey, Socialist Party and NAPM, Uttar Pradesh

Sister Celia, Domestic Workers Union, and NAPM, Karnataka 

Maj Gen (Retd)S.G.Vombatkere, Mysuru, NAPM, Karnataka

Arundhati Dhuru, Manesh Gupta, NAPM, Uttar Pradesh 

Vilayodi Venugopal, CR Neelakandan and Prof.Kusumam NAPM, Kerala

Anand Mazgaonkar andKrishnakant, ParyavaranSuraksh Samiti, NAPM Gujarat 

Ramakrishnam Raju, United Forum for RTI and NAPM (Andhra Pradesh)

Vimal Bhai, MatuJansangathan, NAPM, Uttarakhand 

Dayamani Barla, Aadivasi-MoolnivasiAstivtva Raksha Samiti, NAPM Jharkhand

Dr.Sunilam and Adv. Aradhna Bhargava,KisanSangharsh Samiti, and NAPM, Madhya Pradesh

Samar Bagchi and Amitava Mitra, NAPM West Bengal

Suniti SR, Suhas Kolhekar, and Prasad Bagwe, NAPM Maharashtra 

Kailash Meena, NAPM Rajasthan 

Gautam Bandopadhyay, NAPM, Chhattisgarh

Anjali Bharadwaj, National Campaign for People’s Right to Information and NAPM

KaladasDahariya, RELAA, Chhatisgarh

Meera Sanghamitra, NAPM Telangana-Andhra Pradesh

Bhupender Singh Rawat, Jan SangharshVahini, NAPM, Delhi

Faisal Khan, KhudaiKhidmatgar, NAPM Haryana

J S Walia, NAPM Haryana 

Lingraj Azad, Samajwadi Jan Parishad, Niyamgiri Suraksha Samiti, and NAPM, Odisha

Guruwant Singh, NAPM Punjab

Richa Singh, Sangatin Kisan Mazdoor Sangathan, NAPM Uttar Pradesh

Arul Doss, NAPM (Tamilnadu)

Jabar Singh, NAPM, Uttarakhand 

Sister Dorothy, NAPM Bihar

Kamayani Swami and Ashish Ranjan, Jan Jagran Shakti Sangathan, and NAPM Bihar 

Mahendra Yadav,KosiNavnirmanManch, NAPM Bihar 

Bilal Khan, Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan, Mumbai and NAPM

Rajendra Ravi, Nanhu Prasad, Madhuresh Kumar, Sunita Rani, Amit Kumar, Himshi Singh, Uma, NAPM, Delhi

Aaquib Zabed Mazumder, Rajesh Serupally, NAPM, Telangana – Andhra Pradesh 

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

Twitter : @napmindia

Press Release: Can Interlinking Rivers and Greening their Banks Save our Cities?

Press Release: 15 December 2017 

Can Interlinking Rivers and Greening their Banks Save our Cities?

A report of a symposium organized by Environment Support Group 

In what turned out to be a most engrossing discussion on “Can Inter-linking our Rivers and Greening their Banks save our Cities?” Organized by Environment Support Group at Ashirvad, Bangalore, on December 15, 2017, theatre activist and Playwright Shri Prasanna Heggodu delved into the importance of introspection whilst addressing the prevailing state of affairs of the World. In particular addressing the problematic proposition of interlinking rivers, Prasanna argued that it is not an issue in which we can target the government or the Supreme Court or Narendra Modi as Prime Minister as chasing what seems like a scheme that has not been comprehensively understood. In fact, he suggested that this is a challenge which demands our attention in addressing the path our civilization has adopted. For the first time in our civilization, the material world and the spiritual world are both asking the same question. All of us are interested in a holistic way of life- constructing a world which is sustainable, not divided. But our training is such that we are not holistic as we are divided sectorally”, he said. The problem, however, is that we are only talking to governments and not speaking to and with the people. We are not speaking in a language familiar with and understood by people everywhere of an issue that should matter to everyone. 

Prasanna proposed that the real remedy to our prevailing situation cannot be found by addressing facts with counter facts. “The language of communication for our struggles has to be metaphorical. The river has to flow. It is metaphorically linked with the flow of life. All this technology of linking rivers is about tinkering and tampering with nature”, he concluded. 

Major General S. G. Vombatkere (Retd.) of National Alliance of Peoples Movement presented how the entire proposition of Interlinking of rivers is presented as if it is as simple an idea transferring excess flood water from the Ganges to drought affected regions of peninsular India through a network of canals. What is not communicated, and thus not understood widely, is that this demands a massive network of mega dams and canals at a scale which is unprecedented. He also asked how we can even manage to transfer the flood waters of the Ganges when with all the proposed dams and canals we can only transfer a theoretical maximum of 4% of the flood waters. Thus, the very idea of proposing droughts can be resolved by transferring flood waters is preposterous to say the least. He argued that the Supreme Court bench composed of then Chief Justice A S Anand and Justice B N Kripal did not have any material before them justifying the viability of mega scheme and yet went on to rule that the project has to be implementing. The solution lies in ensuring people are informed and aware of the colossal and irreversible damage that this project will cause, and in fact attack the very economic and ecological security of India. 

Dr. Sharatchandra LeleAshoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment addressing the question: ‘Can river water sustain Bangalore’s water demands?’ said that even after importing 1350 MLD water every day you do not know where half the water is going. In such a scenario, the question is not if we can sustain massive urbanization by continuing to waste fully and destructively import waters from rivers further and further away, resulting in their destruction and causing great discontents everywhere, but to ask the introspect how we participate in this process. The solution lies in containing the damage and ensuring that rivers can flow. He said that there is increasing evidence of the fact that river flow in the Western Ghats rivers is declining even when there is no deforestation. In fact, studies have revealed that it is the constant and ever-increasing interference and withdrawal of water along and around the rivers, in effect interfering with the hydrology of the river system, is what is causing a decline in river flow. When this is the case with Western Ghats rivers the fact that cities like Bangalore are being expended on a claim to such far away rivers is a serious problem that needs to be addressed frontally.

Dr. Jagdish KrishnaswamyAshoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment addressing the question: ‘Does greening river banks save rivers?’ contextualized the problematique of understanding rivers today as how the Gujarat government claims it has managed to snatch the Narmada river from the grasp of Supreme Court and Medha Patkar. It is in such commodification of river system that the entire meaning and essence of the complexities of the rivers is lost. In fact, it is considered that rivers are merely conduits of water and that it is merely a technological probability of shifting water from one river to another. What is not at all appreciated in the prevailing discourse is that it is inter-basin transfer of water that results. That Himalayan rivers are young and highly sedimented, and very distinct in their ecology and behavior as compared with the much older peninsular rivers is not even part of the discourse. Further, the problem is that it is presumed by planting trees on the either side of the river can be saved, resuscitated and rehabilitated, when in fact it may be totally unscientific proposition to plant trees along river banks as that would grossly interfere and alter adversely riverine ecologies. The proposal of Union Minister Nitin Gadkari that he would de-silt rivers and use the sediments to build the highways alongside to irreversibly disastrous as that would deny the river system of sediments which is critical to keeping its water clean, and is a critical habitat giving rivers its life sustaining qualities. 

Suprabha Seshan of the Gurukula Botanical Sanctuary, Wayanad addressing the theme ‘Listening to Rivers’, read from her poem ‘Cry me a river’ in memory of Lata Anatha who fought to save till her very end the Chalakudy River from a disastrous dam proposed at Athirapally Falls. The Poem can be found here.

A.R. Shivakumar of the Karnataka State Council for Science and Technology, addressed the theme “Making Water Bangalore Rich”. Explaining how the city is not facing a dearth of water but gross misunderstanding of what water means, he suggested that the city must realise that it is not water only if it comes out of pipes fed with Cauvery. There is so much water in the form of rain, run off and through delightfully tasteful well water that is simply not considered as water. Instead of focusing on highly decentralized systems of water conservation and water governance, the basic idea is to propose projects that are capital intensive, technologically complex, heavily dependent on energy and personnel, and thus extremely expensive. Besides, there is also the problem that people feel water must come free from the government, when in fact they thoughtlessly consume water which is privatized in many forms: such as through bottled water which is extremely damaging in its production. All this adds up to not realizing that simply techniques of harvesting rain in every house, complex and neighbourhood can save Bangalore from perpetual dependence on faraway rivers, which is highly unsustainable. He also shared how the dependence is also precarious as with all the storage reservoirs built in Bangalore to supply Cauvery supply, they hold only a day’s supply. Should the pumping stations fail, there will be no water in Bangalore. Meanwhile, the water that can be so easily and safely stored in the ground or in lakes is completely ignored, no investment is made to their safeguard and also there is simply no attention paid to ensuring they can become reservoirs to support the drinking water needs of the city. Despite all the investment in diverting rivers from faraway rivers, less than half the city’s population gets water from the Cauvery and the rest depend on the fast depleting ground water aquifers, which are not being recharged. The way forward is to decentralise governance of water conservation and supply, Shivakumar argued, saying this would also enhance transparency in water tariff, provisioning, use and abuse.

Joe Athialy of the Centre for Financial Accountability addressing the theme ‘Where is the money to finance these mega schemes?’ said that no financial viability is done for the intelinking of rivers project. “A project of this magnitude cannot go ahead without financial viability analysis. Such an analysis should factor in the social and environmental costs as well, and not just construction costs”, he argued. Rs. 56,00.000 crores projects as the cost of the project by the Government of India, does not include any of the massive social and environmental costs, he added. If the controversial Narmada Dam is considered, highly productive and ever fertile lands in Madhya Pradesh, that provided three food crops, were submerged to bring water to arid regions of Gujarat that grows dryland crops. But this justification which was employed for decades turned out to be bogey as much of the water is now being consumed by water guzzling industries. This is not just the case in Narmada but in several other dams. All this means that with interlinking of rivers, this model of dam building will only support high levels of financialisation and commodification of water, which would ensure the project is fatally in debt. If previous experience with big dam building and diversion were considered, it is more than likely that the interlinking of rivers will result in creation of dams that will not support drinking water and agrarian demands, but those of the capital and water intensive industries.

Himanshu Upadhya of Azim Premji University speaking on ‘Is there any due diligence of these mega projects?’ said, “There is none.” But the problem is not there is none. But there is not even a question raised that there is no such due diligence. The bigger the projects, the lesser the number of questions that are asked, when, rationally, the contrary should be the case. The problem today is that the Government constantly pushes for mega projects, such as interlinking of rivers requiring mega dams and canals, and humongous numbers are thrown at us. “We should not be afraid of this game”, he said. “We must demand they explain these numbers to us, for it is being done with not only our money, but that of several generations to come”. Which brings up the question of audits, and in most cases involving mega dams and interlinking of rivers there is none, said Himanshu.

Drawing the symposium to a closure, Leo Saldanha of Environment Support Group suggested that this idea of this process was not to provide answers to questions that come to our mind, but to ensure these questions not merely trouble some of us, but everyone in fact. This is a process which has to take place everywhere as everyone will be directly impacted by inter-linking of rivers. The fact that such projects are promoted with very little public and legislative enquiry, in fact based on a blind faith in technology is worrying, as much as is worrying that millions are guided into believing the mere act of planting trees along river banks will save rivers and ensure we all have water security. While it the responsibility of the Government to deconstruct our collective access to water security, the fact that it is not doing that, but, in fact, confusing and confounding the issue by proposing mega schemes is a paradigm that has to be engaged with. The approach has to be transformative of the collective mind, so that we can all ensure our actions aren’t a crucible that will destroy the chances of future generations to also survive. 

This note of the proceedings of the symposium has been prepared by Harsh Vardhan Bhati, Namrata Kabra, Apoorva Patil and Mallesh K. R. of Environment Support Group.

Environment Support Group

#1572, 100 feet road, Banashankari 2nd Stage

Bangalore, 560070.

Website: www.esgindia.org

Email: esg@esgindia.org

Fb group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/esgindia/

 
 

WTO Ministerial Meeting – Press Releases

WTO 11 Ministerial Meeting – Press Releases

Sweden donates SEK 19.2 million to help developing countries participate in global trade

The government of Sweden is contributing SEK 19.2 million (approximately CHF 2.3 million) to help developing countries improve their trading capacity and participate fully in global trade negotiations.  https://www.wto.org/english/news_e/pres17_e/pr815_e.htm

EU gives EUR 1 million to enhance trading skills of developing countries 

The European Union is contributing EUR 1 million (over CHF 1.2 million) to improve the trading capacity of developing countries and to help them play a more active role in trade negotiations. https://www.wto.org/english/news_e/pres17_e/pr814_e.htm

Lithuania donates EUR 26,000 to enhance trading capacity of developing countries

The Government of Lithuania is contributing EUR 26,000 (approximately CHF 30,000) to help developing and least-developed countries participate effectively in global trade. This donation to the WTO’s Doha Development Agenda Global Trust Fund will finance training workshops for officials in Geneva and elsewhere to help them better understand and implement WTO agreements and to take part in trade negotiations. Since the creation of the fund in 2001, over 2,500 workshops have been organized. https://www.wto.org/english/news_e/pres17_e/pr813_e.htm

Finland donates EUR 1.7 million to help developing countries participate in global trade

The government of Finland is contributing EUR 1.7 million (approximately CHF 2 million) to WTO trade-related programmes to help developing countries and in particular least-developed countries (LDCs) participate in multilateral trade negotiations and better access global markets. https://www.wto.org/english/news_e/pres17_e/pr812_e.htm

France donates EUR 50,000 to support food safety, animal/plant health standards and trade

France is contributing EUR 50,000 (approximately CHF 58,000) to the Standards and Trade Development Facility (STDF) in 2017 to help developing countries comply with international food safety, animal and plant health standards and therefore access agricultural markets more easily. The donation will help developing and least-developed countries improve their sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) capacity. https://www.wto.org/english/news_e/pres17_e/pr811_e.htm

 

Press Release: Fishers in Kerala Demand Stringent action

Fishers demand stringent action against erring disaster management officers

By Express News Service  |   Published: 05th December 2017 05:03 AM  |

Last Updated: 05th December 2017 08:11

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman urged the fisherfolk in coastal regions to put the controversy over the disaster warning to rest and focus on rescue operations during her visit to fishing hamlets on Monday. But many of them continue to feel the state government and especially the Kerala State Disaster Management Authority (KSDMA) let them down in not providing timely warning to fishermen going to sea.With dozens of fishermen dead and many still missing, fishermen and their families led a protest march to the KSMDA office at Vellayambalam seeking action against officers who they believe are at fault.“Officers at the KSDMA had information about the entry of cyclone Ockhi, but they failed to act upon it. A case should be filed against them for homicide,” said general secretary of the National Fishworkers’ Forum (NFF) T Peter while inaugurating the protest by Kerala Swatantra Matsyathozhilali Federation (KSMTF), a trade union of small-scale artisanal fishers.KSMTF secretary Anto Elias said the KSDMA received information on cyclones well in advance. “Its failure to issue timely alerts has resulted in a devastating loss to us. The government is spending crores on the authority. Yet the fishermen are not getting anything useful from it,” he said.The protesters consisted of women, the elderly and volunteers of KSMTF who raised slogans against KSDMA officers and blamed the apathy of the authority for the deaths of their near ones. “We will not allow any officer who has scant regard for the life of workers on the coast,” said Mercy Alexander during the protest.The protestors demanded they be allowed to speak to higher officers and tried to force their way into the compound. Commercial Taxes joint commissioner D Balamurali met the protestors and assured action would be taken against officers if they are found to be guilty. A report on KSDMA will be submitted to the governmenton Monday. The protestors said they were assured their participation would be sought in future disaster mitigation projects. “We are keeping a watch on the government. If it fails to act against the officers responsible we will relaunch the agitation in all districts,” said Elias.KSMTF state president P P John, general secretary Jackson Pollayil, and members R Ajayan, Valerian Isaac, Ouseph Antony and Jeremy Roy spoke at the protest.In the aftermath of the devastation caused by Ockhi, a blame game was started between the Centre and the state regarding the time of the alert. The state government said it received the cyclone warning at short notice, leaving little time for alerting fishermen. Union Minister Alphons Kannanthanam during his visit said Central agencies had given alerts on November 28 and 29 itself on deep depression and also against fishermen venturing into the sea. But the warning on cyclone was issued only on November 30, he said.

Press Release: Cyclone Ockhi 4 dead in Kerala

Kerala: Cyclone Ockhi 60 km off the TVPM coast, 4 dead in KeralaDecember 01,2017   |  Source: Manorama Online

The severe cyclonic storm, Ockhi, is gaining in strength and raging at a furious pace 60 km off the Kerala coast, a release from the Indian Meterological Department said. Rain and wind are expected to gain in strength and batter the state in the next 48 hours.

Madhavan Rajeevan, secretary in the Ministry of Earth Sciences said in Delhi, speaking to PTI, said the archipelago in the southern part of the Arabian Sea will start experiencing heavy rainfall and strong winds from Friday. “It will hit the islands on December 2,” Rajeevan said. Kerala’s capital Thiruvananthapuram, has been severely impacted by the heavy rain and strong winds.

Kerala Fisheries minister Mercy Kutty Amma said that all the necessary arrangements have been made to ensure that the affected population is shifted to temporary shelters to ensure their safety. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan also said the state machinery was keeping a close watch on the developments and is prepared to meet any emergency. The wind speed is expected to pick up to 120 km/ph, an IMD release said. The waves may reach a height of 4.2 meters and the cyclone is expected to spare a landfall in Kerala. The unprecedented weather condition along the western coast has triggered heavy rain and strong winds in the southern districts,

Press Release: Nationwide support for Urban Poor in Chennai

Nationwide Support to Ongoing struggle of Urban Poor in Chennai

The urban poor across the country are facing brutal eviction as well as destitution in the name of development with various parameters. May it be infrastructure, beautification or Smart cities, decades and generation old communities of the poor who are in fact the primary producers serving the city dwellers through various services as well as unskilled labour are the ones who face the front of displacement rooting their residential hutments they are also made to face the economic deprivation. They are therefore crying HALT, asserting their right to life and livelihood.

The slum dwellers in Chennai forming 25% of the city’s population have been in the struggle since last many years and have checked the impeachment/ impingements upon their lives not just by bulldozers but the beneficiaries of ‘development’ at their cost. The major reasoning in behind eviction in Chennai has been the construction, lining, widening and development of waterways affecting the poor yet working population, the struggle has proved and exposed the western interest behind who also desire to grab land and have no concern for water.  Just as fish workers near seashore in Chennai and Marina Sea Shore in Chennai have been under threat. The communities of the poor living on the banks of the rivers within Chennai, Rivers including Cooum, Adayar etc. have survived only through long-term non- violent struggles.  This time again using the last flood in Chennai as the main reason, the same families of the poor are facing hell, with evictions to arrest.

The Tamil Nadu Slum Areas Act 1971 was the first law in India to confer rights on the urban poor followed by Survey of Slums with recognition of their labour, Notification of slum areas and in situ tenements in the first phase as well as regularisation of slum areas in the 2nd phase. But now, the subversion of these principles, displacements causing workers in the unorganised sector – Construction, Domestic etc, to lose their employment and their children to become dropouts, lack of security to young girls, etc, Ghettos being created in the name of  Resettlement, the process could be termed Neo Untouchability, is shocking. Moreover the Social Assessment Report for River Restoration talks of 3 options, first being in situ housing and up-gradation, second being in situ tenements and third being the dislocation. But the State Government has chosen the third and a negative path for the urban poor.

Hence NAPM along with Unorganised Workers’ Organisations and Women’s Rights – Pennurimai Iyakkam, demand a stop to Slum Evictions and a Consultation with Slum Dwellers regarding In situ Development or within 3 km with the security of tenure, basic amenities, brick houses (either individual or storied buildings), without affecting the livelihoods or disrupting children’s education, and river/ canal flow to be streamlined and disallowing sewage or effluents to pollute the water. The Demonstration held on 29th at Chepauk has raised a voice against the Displacement and demanding that Pavement Dwellers be given shelters and homeless be given space on surplus lands acquired under ULC Act in Chennai. The Corporation of Chennai is carrying out Forced Evictions without notice in Dideer Nagar, KH Road, MGR Colony and Pozhichalur .

We protest against Forced evictions which must be stopped forthwith and Public Consultation on the Chennai River Restoration Project.

Geeta Ramakrishnan, Gabriele Dietrich, Arul Doss

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

Twitter : @napmindia

An Year Of Continued Denial Of Justice For Rohith Vemula

januaryphotoAn Year Of Continued Denial Of Justice For Rohith Vemula

Caste Based Discrimination Must End Now In Educational Institutions Towards Equitable Democratic Spaces 

Hyderabad / New Delhi, January 17th 2016 : It’s a year since Rohith Vemula gave up his life in the struggle against caste discrimination and Brahminical prejudices and practices dominating spaces of Higher education in the country. His death caused a major uproar in the country and gave strength to students coming forward resisting the same and to various ongoing agitations across the country in different universities. His words still continue to haunt and remind us of the complex social structures and deep fissures and inherent inequality in the society. He said, “… the value of a man was reduced to his immediate identity and nearest possibility. To a vote. To a number. To a thing…. My birth is my fatal accident….

If we look back, nothing seems to have changed in last year, Najeeb Ahmed remains missing from JNU for more than two months; eleven students remain suspended for raising voice against the administration and teachers are facing action too for supporting students and their voices; in another central university in Hyderabad, EFLU, five Dalit students have been suspended for raising issues of caste based discrimination; in BHU seven students have been rusticated for demanding 24×7 library facilities; women students continue to face restrictive measures across the country in various universities; and the doors for commercialization of the higher education is being opened through the allowing of corporate investments and the dismal status of the primary and secondary education in the country shows no signs of improvement. The rise and growth of ABVP is being supported and facilitated by the government in Centre and State and the agenda of saffornisation of the education and educational institutions is gaining strength everyday. However, the year has also seen an increase in resistance from the progressive forces and students community at large, and Rohith’s sacrifice has united the students community from various varsities resisting the discrimination and brahminical prejudices and practices.

Our collective struggle for #JusticeForRohith remains unfulfilled since past one year as none of the culprits have been punished and in fact government appointed committees continue to peddle lies and half truth about Rohith’s caste and what happened preceding to his death. These are not going to deter the students and Dalits community in their resolve for an equal space within the university campuses and in the society at large. The heightened consciousness and realization today has helped coming together of the students community, dalit struggles and other identity and issue based struggles together to work for annihilation of caste and fight the caste based discrimination. The hidden discrimination in the ‘merit’ based institutions of the higher education, media, other professional bodies, civil society spaces, are constantly being exposed and challenged.

Government on its own part have done and reacted with violence, vengeance and vilification of the struggle and bestowing of rewards on the perpetrators. In HCU, Radhika Vemula, Rohit’s mother, till date hasn’t been able to visit the ‘Rohith Smarak’ inside the campus; Rohith’s friends continue to be persecuted;  and on the other hand VC Prof Appa Rao was recently felicitated. These practices are similar to what’s happening in other universities. Smriti Irani, former minister of HRD was shunted to another Ministry but that hasn’t changed the nefarious design of those in the power. We condemn every such attempt of this government and vow to continue fighting along with others.

We want to reiterate our support for the call of enactment of the ‘Rohith Act’ for ending caste based discrimination within the educational institutions and fasten the investigation into the circumstances which led to his suicide and punish those responsible for it.

National Team of Advisors, Convenors and Special Invitees of NAPM

NAPM : Advisors and Special Invitees

Medha Patkar, Aruna Roy,  Prafulla Samantara, Binayak Sen, Sandeep Pandey, Sudhir Vombatkere, Gabriele Dietrich, Geetha Ramakrishnan, CR Neelakandan, Anand Mazgaonkar,  P. Chennaiah, Ramakrishnam Raju,  Sister Celia,  Suniti S R, Gautam Bandopadhyay, Anjali Bharadwaj, Kavita Srivastava, Arundhati Dhuru, Kaladas Dahariya.

National Conveners : 2016-2018

Amitava Mitra, West Bengal; Arul Doss, Tamil Nadu; Ashish Ranjan, Bihar; Dayamani Barla, Jharkhand; Dr. Sunilam, Madhya Pradesh; Faisal Khan, NCR & Haryana; Kailash Meena, Rajasthan; Krishnakant, Gujarat; Lingraj Azad, Orissa; Madhuresh Kumar, Delhi; Manesh Gupta, Uttar Pradesh; Mahendra Yadav, Bihar; Meera Sanghamitra, Telangana; Nanhu Prasad, Delhi; Rajendra Ravi, Delhi; Richa Singh, Uttar Pradesh; Sister  Dorothy, Bihar; Suhas Kolhekar, Mahasrashtra; Vilayodi Venugopal, Kerala; Vimal Bhai, Uttarakhand.

Prominent Indian Groups Support Struggle against Rampal Project

Press Release

Prominent Indian Groups Support Struggle against Rampal Project

 January 6, 2017: New Delhi

Prominent people’s movements and other civil society organisations from India today extended their support and solidarity to the struggle against the India supported Rampal power project in Bangladesh, coinciding the Global Day of Protest called by the National Committee to Protect Oil-Gas-Mineral Resources Power and Port, which spearhead the struggle.

Urging the Government of India to withdraw from the project, the statement said, “With India’s NTPC jointly owning the project, BHEL supplying equipments and Indian ExIm Bank providing finances, India’s footprint in this project is too large which has the potential to perpetuate discontent between the two neighbouring countries.”

Signatories of the Letter of Solidarity include, South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People, National Alliance of People’s Movements, All India Union of Forest Working People, Indian Social Action Forum –  INSAF, Bharat Jan Vigyan Jatha, Narmada Bachao Andolan, Greenpeace India, Environment Support Group, Bangalore, Matu Jan Sangathan, Uttrakhand and others.

The statement said, “Sundarbans is part of the culture and ethos of both Bangladesh and India, supporting the livelihood of millions and protecting them from natural calamities. Any damage to it either side of the borders will result in monumental disaster.”

While urging the Government of India to withdraw from the project, the groups also urged the government to “extend financial & technical help to its commendable decentralized solar energy program, in line with India’s own commitment to renewables and in spirit of the Paris Agreement.”

Full text of the Letter of Solidarity:

Letter of solidarity to

National Committee to Protect Oil-Gas-Mineral Resources Power and Port, Bangladesh

On the Global Day of Protest for the Sundarbans, January 7, 2017

We, people’s movements and other civil society organisations from India, extend our support and solidarity to the National Committee in their struggle against the Rampal power project and to protect the Sundarbans.

Sundarbans is part of the culture and ethos of both Bangladesh and India, supporting the livelihood of millions and protecting them from natural calamities. Any damage to it either side of the borders will result in monumental disaster.

With India’s NTPC jointly owning the project, BHEL supplying equipments and Indian ExIm Bank providing finances, India’s footprint in this project is too large which has the potential to perpetuate discontent between the two neighbouring countries. India’s pronounced commitment to renewable energy and its investment in coal based Rampal project in such a eco-sensitive terrain do not match. We urge the Government of India to withdraw from this project and extend financial & technical help to its commendable decentralized solar energy program, in line with India’s own commitment to renewables and in spirit of the Paris Agreement.

We commend the sustained non-violent struggle of the National Committee against this disastrous project and extend all support and solidarity to it. We will do all at our disposal to urge the Government of India to withdraw from this project.

Signed by:

1  South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People

2  National Alliance of People’s Movements

3  All India Union of Forest Working People

4  Indian Social Action Forum –  INSAF

5  Bharat Jan Vigyan Jatha

6  All India Forum of Forest Movements

7  Mines, Minerals & People

8  North East Peoples Alliance

9  Narmada Bachao Andolan

10           Greenpeace India

11           Environment Support Group, Bangalore

12           Matu Jan Sangathan, Uttrakhand

13           Environics Trust, New Delhi

14           Society for Rural Urban and Tribal Initiative, New Delhi

15           Institute for Democracy and Sustainability, New Delhi

16           Delhi Forum, New Delhi

17           Intercultural Resources, New Delhi

18           Equations, Bangalore

19           Mahan Sangharsh Samiti, Madhya Pradesh

20           Srijan Lokhit Samiti, Madhya Pradesh

21           Khan Kaneej Aur ADHIKAR, Jharkhand

22           Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti, Gujarat

23           Machimar Adhikar Sangharsh Sangathan, Gujarat

24           Teeradesha Mahila Vedi, Kerala

25           Indigenous Perspectives, Manipur

26           Manipur Cycle Club, Manipur

27           Public Finance Public Accountability Collective, New Delhi

28           Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan, Mumbai

29           Centre for Financial Accountability, New Delhi

30           The Research Collective, New Delhi

31           Tarini Manchanda, filmmaker

32           Benny Kuruvilla, Researcher, Delhi

33           Kiran Shaheen, New Delhi