Press Release: Delhi Citizens join in solidarity with the Chetawani Upwas in Bhopal

Press Release

Delhi citizens come together to extend solidarity with the Chetawani Upwas in Bhopal by the people from the Narmada Valley

New Delhi, April 28: A group of more than 50 protestors under the banner of Delhi solidarity Group and National Alliance of People’s movements gathered in front of Madhya Pradesh Bhawan today to provide solidarity to the ongoing Chetawani Upwas (27-29th April) by Narmada Bachao Aandolan in Bhopal. The people, who wanted to submit a memorandum to the Resident Commissioner, had to confront a strong police barricade in front of MP Bhawan. They spoke about the current situation of the people already displaced by the dams and lack of implementation of rehabilitation to them. People also raised concerns about the apathy shown by the Government of Madhya Pradesh in insisting on raising the height of Sardar Sarovar without having any plans to safeguard the lives and livelihood of the people. They also strongly demanded the release of the Justice Jha Commission report withheld by the state government. Linking it with the current issue of water shortage, they demanded that the government is losing its priorities when it is drowning people on one side and killing others due to drought on other side.

It’s been three decades since the people of the Narmada valley have been struggling against the unjust displacement due to the construction of the Sardar Sarovar Dam. The construction of the dam was restarted in June 2014 and now the dam height is nearing completion. As we approach the Monsoon, two hundred thousand people are faced with the threat of submergence. These families are still living in the submergence zone, they will lose their villages with schools, temples, mosques, houses, farms with prime agriculture and horticulture panchayats and one township partly submerged before, will be further affected.

The Narmada Bachao Andolan has challenged the government’s false affidavits on the question of complete R&R and exposed the massive corruption involved in the process. The petition of NBA to the Madhya Pradesh High Court constituted a commission of Enquiry under Justice S. S. Jha (referred as Jha Commission). The Jha commission submitted its report after nearly 7 years of detailed investigation into cases of corruption involving government employees and accepted the massive fraud to tune of 1000 crores. The Justice Jha Commission report has the numbers – 1500, 2000 or may be more and details of all fake registries, the amount of money wasted, and all the agents and officials involved in the scam.

But the State of Madhya Pradesh has refused to grant NBA access to the report! Furthermore, even the MLA’s have not been given access to the report. All this has been done citing privilege of the State Assembly. The corruption in the Narmada Valley Development Authority (N.V.D.A) must be uncovered.

In addition, the question of the quality of resettlement sites cannot be ignored. All culprits involved must be punished regardless of being an officer or an agent.

During decades of struggle NBA could succeed in getting 14,000 Adivasis, Dalit farmers and their families could receive land and due to R&R especially in Gujarat and Maharashtra. But Madhya Pradesh is a different story, only 40 to 50 displaced families have been allotted land. Even today, 40,000 families live in the submergence zone.

The Madhya Pradesh government has constantly fudged the number of oustees even changing Back Water Level data, and thereby excluded many people from the submergence area and lists of Project Affected People thereby denying them their due R&R share – initially 4,374 families and then another 15,900 families. Such action affecting about 20,000 families is both unscientific and illegal.

These villages that lie in the submergence zone are full of life and activity, with its houses, panchayats, temples, masjids, shops, markets and lakhs of trees, which cannot be submerged without proper resettlement violating the Narmada Water Dispute Tribunal and Supreme court judgments of 1992, 2000 and 2005.

Despite all this, Central government along with the Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat governments, have continued the construction of dam, which is almost complete to the height of 139 metres.

Immediate action must be taken to release the Jha commission report and complete the R&R of the affected people before submergence of adivasi families/villages and township causing devastation & destitution.

The demands raised by the Narmada Bachao Andolan are,

1. Make the Jha Commission Report on massive corruption in rehabilitation public. Send the guilty to Jail. Now!

2. Complete R&R of farmers, labourers, fisher people, and artisans numbering thousands before monsoon. Gates of the dam shouldn’t be closed till R&R is complete and all affected are resettled at new sites, in 3 states of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat at the earliest with all entitlements as per law and SC judgments.

For more details, please contact at: 9958797409

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10 March 2016 – Protests in Delhi

Fishworkers Protest at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi. Fishworkers from several parts of the country gathered at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi to protest against the government’s policies towards the fisherfolk in the coastal regions of India. They demanded a separate ministry for fishing and criticized the government for allowing the constructions of innumerable ports without looking into the environmental hazards they pose.

Tibetans in Delhi protest at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi. Tibetans observed the 57th Anniversary of Tibetan National Uprising Day which took place on this day in 1959. The protesters called for global intervention in Tibet to save Tibetan Lives and send fact finding delegations in Tibet to access the real situation of the Tibetans living there under the Chinese regime.

Dalit Christians and Muslims Protests at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi. National Council of Dalit Christians, Catholic Bishop’s Conference of India, National Council of Churches in India strongly condemned Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment, Mr. Thawar Chand Ghelot for his offensive statements. The protesters demanded to grant SC status to Dalit Christians and Muslims in India.

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