COME TO THE NARMADA VALLEY – June 13-14 / Violence continues against Fanaa in Gujarat / Key 15 June meeting in Delhi on evictions / MoEF orders stoppage of work on Maheshwar dam
NARMADA Baroda * Urgent: COME TO THE NARMADA VALLEY – June 13-14 (NBA Baroda, June 10) * Sardar Sarovar project: panel probe ends today (The Financial Express, June 10) Campaign dynamics * Suicide bid at Fanaa theatre (The Telegraph, Kolkata, June 12) * Surat nightclub ransacked for screening "Fanaa" (NewKerala.com, June 11) DELHI * Invitation: 15 June meeting in Delhi on evictions (Stop Demolitions & Hazards Centre, June 10/12) NARMADA Khargone * Ministry of Environment and Forests orders stoppage of work on Maheshwar dam (NBA Khargone, June 12) MUMBAI * Jeevan Shala, School of Life, inaugurated at dharna site in Azad Maidan, Mumbai, on 8 June (Initiative, June 9) BHOPAL * No More Bhopals Campaign in Pune (No More Bhopals Forum, Pune, June 12)
From Kathmandu, Monday, June 12, 2006
PLEASE SEND ON
"There Is A Fury Building Up Across India" (Arundhati Roy, April 29 – see CDDB 29)
Jai Sen, for CACIM
Note : The CDDB (CACIM Delhi Demos Bulletin) is a digest of material on the struggles that have been going on for twenty and more years, and have recently intensified, in Bhopal, the Narmada valley, and Delhi, for a place to live in security and dignity – and everything that goes with that. The CDDB series started during late March and April 2006, when all three movements were holding protests in Delhi, and with the Bhopal and Narmada movements on ‘dharna’ (sit-down strike) simultaneously at a place called ‘Jantar Mantar’ in the city. See CDDB 1 and 2 for more details on Jantar Mantar and the demos. All back issues of this Bulletin (the CACIM Delhi Demos Bulletin), number 0 onwards, are available at this link
Disclaimer : The views of the author/s of the articles featured here are not necessarily those of this Bulletin (and vice versa). You may copy and print extracts from this Bulletin for your own personal and non-commercial use only.
Some sites for more information : Go to www.cacim.net http://www.cacim.net and see ‘Newsclippings’ and ‘Links’.
On 10.6.06 10:12am, "email@example.com" wrote:
As you know that even after sustained struggle on our end, the construction of the Sardar Sarovar dam still continues unabated, and in fact the illegal construction upto 122 metres is almost completed. The killer dam, which will destroy and drown thousands of families, hundreds of villages, especially adivasi villages, is not just illegal but inhuman. And, now its time again to face the imminent rise of waters in the monsoons, in the Narmada Valley.
At the same time the Prime Minister appointed Sardar Sarovar Project Relief & Rehabilitation Oversight Group (OSG), which is to verify the status of rehabilitation in Madhya Pradesh of the families affected by the Sardar Sarovar Dam, is doing its survey of the project affected families. The new committee constituted by the PM with Mr. V.K. Shunglu and two other government bureaucrats is conducting its survey through the NSSO. The committee has been assigned the task of surveying the number of displaced people, the land available, and the area to be submerged, and has been asked to aim to complete rehabilitation within 3 months. Can the rehabilitation of 35,000 families be completed in 3 months, considering only 10,000 families have been rehabilitated in some measure in 25 years?
The Shunglu committee appointed NSSO teams, have been doing surveys in the area for the past week. They have meticulously avoided meeting us, while the NVDA is present. The NVDA documents known as ATRs, which have been shown in Court as being incorrect, are being used as a basis for the survey. This is not impartial research, and it is certainly not transparent. We have raised our concerns with the Shunglu committee in a letter addressed to Mr. Shunglu, based on our experiences at the field level with the survey teams.
In this context people like you have to come to witness the truth and support the people of the valley. The waters have already started to rise and thousands of families feel threatened. WE WANT YOU TO URGENTLY VISIT THE VALLEY and raise issues about the unfairness of this whole set up. We are inviting all supporters to visit the valley on the 13th -14th of June.
We hope to see you in the valley.
The Financial Express, June 10 2006
ASHOK B SHARMA
Posted online: Saturday, June 10, 2006 at 0000 hours IST http://www.financialexpress.com/fe_full_story.php?content_id=130085
NEW DELHI, JUNE 9: The Sardar Sarovar Project Relief and Rehabilitation Oversight Group is scheduled to complete its investigative field work by June 10. The oversight group, headed by former CAG of India, VK Shunglu, includes former vice chancellor of JNU, Prof GK Chaddha and Dr Jaiprakash Narayan, convenor, Loksatta, as members.
The Supreme Court asked for a report on relief and rehabilitation of people displaced by the dam height being raised from 10.64 metre to 121.92 metre by June 30, 2006. Accordingly, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh constituted an oversight group to study the ongoing relief and rehabilitation programmes undertaken in Madhya Pradesh.
The Telegraph, Kolkata, June 12 2006
Ahmedabad, June 11 (PTI): A man today made an immolation bid at Jamnagar’s Amber cinema, the only one in Gujarat screening Aamir Khan’s film Fanaa.
Theatres in the state have refused to screen the film in the wake of Aamir’s remarks on the rehabilitation of Narmada dam oustees.
Police identified the man as Pravin Joshi, 30, who received around 70 per cent burns and is undergoing treatment. “Joshi said he tried to immolate himself for ‘the cause of Narmada’ and to make the people of Gujarat aware about the enemies of the dam project on the river,” the police said.
However, the theatre has decided to continue with the screening of the film. Its manager, Mansur Sheikh, said there was adequate security on the premises and it would be tightened further.
Joshi said in his statement that he is from Porbandar and works in a private firm in Rajkot.
He also told the police that he was disturbed by the screening of Fanaa in Jamnagar and decided to do something to “wake up” the people of Gujarat.
Joshi said he was not affiliated to any political party or social organisation.
“He came to Jamnagar from Rajkot and entered the cinema with kerosene and a matchbox. He went inside the toilet around 5.30 pm, poured the kerosene and torched himself,” an investigating officer said.
NewKerala?.com, June 11 2006
Surat/Jamnagar: A Surat nightclub was ransacked by alleged Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) activists on Saturday night for screening Aamir Khan starrer movie "Fanaa".
Employees of the Surat Tennis Club alleged that a group of 25 men belonging to the BJP barged into the building and broke furniture and other items. They also forced all members of the club who were watching the movie to leave.
Meanwhile, Jamnagar's Amber Talkies, the only theatre in Gujarat to screen Fanaa, is facing blackout threat as the state electricity board officials have threatened to disconnect power supply if a pending bill was not cleared immediately.
The theatre-owner, however, has claimed that an appeal against excess billing was actually pending in the Appellate Tribunal.
Jamnagar Congress MP Vikram Madam, who is uncle of the theatre-owner, said that the dispute was pending before the Gujarat Electricity Board for over a year. The issue was taken to the board appellate for a decision after 50 per cent of the total bill was paid.
The ruling BJP in the State have called for boycott of Bollywood actor Aamir Khan's latest flick following his support to an anti-Sardar Sarovar Dam campaign.
However, the Amber Talkies released the film last week following Supreme Court's ruling, which said that the film exhibitors in the state were free to ask for security if they wanted to screen the movie.
Khan, 40, joined a recent protest by anti-dam activists in New Delhi, calling for rehabilitation of thousands of villagers to be displaced by Sardar Sarovar Dam in the state.
The issue has taken extremely sensitive overtones in the parched state where the dam is seen as a lifeline for millions and the locals see any opposition to it as adding to their years of wait for water.
On 10.6.06 12:15 pm, "stop demolitions" wrote, and on 12.6.06 3:14 pm, "Hazards Centre" wrote:
Demolition of informal settlements and displacement of the working poor have long been a feature of urban “development” in India, but the last two years have seen a massive increase in the scale and brutality of evictions while the State washes its hands of any responsibility for resettlement and rehabilitation .
Bulldozers have become the preferred instruments of urban planning and governance in Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Bangalore, Lucknow, Chennai –as well as in an increasing number of our smaller cities. Cities are being redesigned primarily to meet the needs and demands of corporations rather than citizens. Progressive and pro-poor interpretation of Articles 19 (right to move freely and to settle in any part of the country) and 21 (right to protection of life and liberty) of the Constitution by the Supreme Court in the eighties is giving way to blatant disregard of constitutional provisions by both government agencies and the courts. Poverty and unemployment no longer seem to be concerns of public policy. The working poor are being ruthlessly pushed to the margins of the city and the economy, and are rendered homeless, jobless and voiceless by this perverse model of urban “development”. Lawyers, community activists and organizations working against evictions in Delhi raised and debated these concerns at a meeting organized by Hazards Centre on 17 May 2006. The group analysed the content and implications of recent pronouncements and orders from the Supreme Court and agreed on the urgent need to expose and resist these anti-poor and anti-worker trends through a broad-based public campaign involving workers’ groups, slum-dwellers’ organizations, trade unions, women’s groups, Dalit organizations, minority organizations, housing rights groups and other social action movements and groups.
It is proposed that the campaign be launched with a demonstration outside the Supreme Court on 3rd July 2006 (the day the Court opens after the summer recess). A signature campaign and a postcard campaign will also be initiated to build pressure on the government and Courts and to take the issues to a wider public.
In order to discuss and refine these ideas, prepare a detailed action plan for the campaign, and assign specific responsibilities for immediate actions, we are calling a one-day meeting on 15 June 2006 at Indian Social Institute (ISI).
Your presence at this meeting is essential. We rely on you to join us in strategizing and mobilizing to resist the continuing assaults on the lives, livelihood, rights and dignity of the working poor.
Abhiudya, Ashray adhikar Abhiyan, AIFTU, Action Aid, Bal Vikas Dhara, Chintan, Dilli Shramik Sanghthan, Housing and Land Rights Network, Hazards Centre, Human Rights law Network, Jagori, Indian Social Institute, Lok Raj Sanghthan, Nirman Mazdoor Panchayat Sangam, Mobile Creches, Sneh Bandhan Society, Satark Nagrik Sanghthan, Sruti, Workers Solidarity, Sanjay Srivastava, Malavika Vartak, Ashok Aggarwal and Prashant Bhushan.
Please feel free to contact - 9811118651, 9818205234, 9811137421, 9811607990
On 12.6.06 1:43 pm, "Shivani Chaudhry" wrote:
Press Note, 12th June 2006
In a very significant development, the Central Ministry of Environment and Forests has vide its letter issued on the 9th June 2006, directed the Government of Madhya Pradesh to stop the construction work on the Maheshwar Project being built in the Narmada valley with immediate effect, under powers given to the Ministry under Section 5 of the Environmental (Protection) Act, 1986. The Ministry has ordered that this work should remain stopped until a comprehensive Rehabilitation Plan is submitted by the Project authorities to the Ministry and the same is found implementable by the Monitoring Committee after its second site meeting. This Order has confirmed and vindicated the concerns of the Narmada Bachao Andolan about the lack of any credible Rehabilitation Plan or availability of land for the oustees of this Project. In the light of the above mentioned Order of the Ministry of Environment and Forests, the NBA and the oustees of the Maheshwar dam demand that the State Government stop the work on the dam with immediately.
It may be noted that the Maheshwar Project was accorded the environmental clearance on the 7th of January 1994. As per the conditions of the clearance, the rehabilitation of the oustees of the Maheshwar dam was to be completed by 1997-1998. In 1997-98, when work started on the Maheshwar dam, the NBA found that there was no rehabilitation plan for the Project and the land figures shown to be available for R&R at the time of Project clearance were in fact faulty and fudged.
On a petition made by the NBA, in 1998, the Ministry of Environment sent a team of representatives from three Central Ministries - Ministry of Rural Development, Ministry of Environment and Forests and the Central Water Commission (Ministry of Water Resources) to investigate the situation. The Tour Report of the team confirmed that there was no land available for rehabilitation and no credible Rehabilitation Plan existed for the Project. The 1998 Report of the Task Force constituted by the Madhya Pradesh Government to review the Maheshwar Project and the Report of the German Development Ministry of 2000 given when the Project suppliers had asked the German Government for a guarantee also confirmed that neither land nor plan existed for the rehabilitation of the oustees of the Project.
On the 1st of May 2001, the environmental clearance for the Project was transferred to the Shree Maheshwar Hydel Power Corporation Limited - a company promoted by the S.Kumars group to which the Project had been handed over after privatization in 1992. It was a condition of the Ministry that a comprehensive Rehabilitation Plan be handed over to the Ministry by December 2001. This was not done. When the Monitoring Committee constituted by the Ministry visited the area in February 2002, and they found that there was no Rehabilitation Plan, they directed that such a Plan should be prepared and submitted to the Ministry. However such a Rehabilitation Plan has not been submitted till date.
In the interim, because of willful default by the S.Kumar's companies on certain loans taken by them for the Project, the dam properties were attached and the dam work was stopped between 2001 and 2006. The work re-commenced a few months ago. The NBA then served a legal notice to the Ministry of Environment and Forests through Supreme Court counsel Shri Prashant Bhushan informing the Ministry that although work had once again begun on the Project, no Rehabilitation Plan or cultivable and irrigable land was actually available for the rehabilitation of the nearly 20, 000 affected families or 1,00,000 oustees of the 61 villages affected by the Project. The legal notice pointed out that in the absence of the Plan and land to rehabilitate the farmers, and given that an additional 8000 river-workers who earned their living in these villages by cultivating river draw-down, fishing, sand quarrying etc had been left out altogether from the ambit of rehabilitation entitlements because of certain omissions in the new clearance, dam work was not only illegal but would lead to the unfolding of a huge human tragedy. On the 11th of May 2006, hundreds of oustees from the Maheshwar dam protested outside the Offices of the Ministry of Environment and Forests at Delhi against construction of dam work in the light of non-compliance with conditions of the environmental clearance.
After investigating the complaint of the NBA, on the 9th of June 2006, the Ministry of Environment issues a letter to the Government of Madhya Pradesh under Section 5 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986. In the letter the Ministry has written
"I am directed to bring to the notice of the Government of Madhya Pradesh that it has been brought to the notice of this Ministry that M/s Shree Maheshwar Hydel Power Corporation Limited have started construction at the site on their 400 MW Maheshwar Hydro-Electric? Project (400 MW) near Mandleshwar town, Khargone district in violation of the conditions stipulated in the environmental clearance letter of even number dated 1st May 2001, Para 3(vi) of the aforesaid clearance letter had required the project authorities to submit a complete R&R Plan with details of proposed housing units, agricultural lands identified / required / developed, implementation schedule, etc to this Ministry by December 2001. This Plan is yet to be submitted to this Ministry. The Monitoring Committee constituted by this Ministry vide Order No. J 11016/120/ 83-IA-I dated 1st May 2001 referred in Para 3(x) of the environmental clearance letter after inspecting the project site in February 2002 had also directed the project authorities to prepare a comprehensive R&R Action Plan with an implementation schedule and submit it before the financial closure is achieved and construction work is to be started.
The Central Government therefore in exercise of its powers under Section 5 of the Environmental (Protection Act, 1986 hereby directs the Government of Madhya Pradesh to get the ongoing work at the Maheshwar Hydro-Electric? Project site suspended with immediate effect till a comprehensive R&R Plan is submitted by the project authorities and the same is found to be implementable by the Monitoring Committee after its second site meeting. A compliance report in this regard may kindly be sent at the earliest."
In the last ten years the NBA has been leading the struggle of the oustees against the destructive Maheshwar dam. The public concerns repeatedly raised by the NBA in the last 10 years about the absence of any credible rehabilitation plan or land for the R&R has been re-confirmed by the present order of the MOEF.
The NBA also expresses its deep concern about the various financial irregularities in the Maheshwar Project as brought out in the Reports of the CAG and public financial institutions and the criminal proceedings including charges of "criminal conspiracy" framed against the Promoters. It also calls on the Government of Madhya Pradesh to scrap this technically un-viable Maheshwar Project that is slated to produce very little and very expensive power and which will destroy not only the Narmada valley but also the financial situation of Madhya Pradesh because of the Power Purchase Agreement adverse to the interest of the state. The State government will have to decide whether it wants to serve the interests of the farmers and people of the state by reducing the 42% T&D losses and making cheap and sufficient electricity available to them or serve the profit-seeking agenda of the international power equipment suppliers who want assured markets for their equipment by the reckless construction of new and expensive generation plants in the state.
Alok Agarwal Sushilabai Bhagwan Birle Chittaroopa Palit
On 9.6.06 11:08am, "Initiative" wrote:
Camp Azad Maidan
9th June 2006
Sandeep Pandey (Magsaysay Award winner, educationist and peace activist) and other supporters marked the occasion
Illegally evicted slum dwellers from Mandala continue with their dharna at Azad Maidan as dharna entered 23rd day
As the residents of Mandala entered their 23rd day of dharna at Azad Maidan, they reinforced their spirit of struggle by inaugurating the Jeevan Shala or School of Life at the dharna site. This was initiated by the slum dwellers along with the Narmada Nav Nirman Abhiyan who have been running three other such schools in other slum communities. One such school was gutted in the fire which broke out during the demolition drive on the 9th of May 2006 at Mandala, Mankhurd. Jeevan Shala is an endeavour aiming towards a holistic education of children residing in slums and it is initiated by the slum dwellers themselves.
The inaugural programme began at 5.30 pm yesterday when Sandeep Pandey, Magsaysay award winner and peace activist, Arundhati Dhuru, and Anand Patwardhan graced the occasion. Sandeep Pandey, in his inaugural speech, said that it would only be appropriate that a child who will benefit from the school inaugurates it as well. As one enterprising child led the group on several slogans, the deep-seated sense of injustice was intensified. Seven-year-old Heena from generation next inaugurated the school.
As the residents celebrated their struggle they also expressed support to the movement against coca- cola company in Mahdiganj, Varanasi. Amidst slogans against state repression and the right to housing, anti- cola slogans were also loudly endorsed reflective of a sense of solidarity that the poor of the country have for one another.
The residents have been on dharna at Azad Maidan since the 17th of May 2006 and it was decided to start with the school at the dharna site itself. The demolition drive has not only rendered people homeless but it has also had adverse effects on children. Jeevan Shala is an exercise to rectify the injustice done. The inauguration was marked by the enlisting of more than 50 students under age 7. These children, along with being homeless have been denied education, a Fundamental Right.
The residents’ demands have not been responded to, even after two meeting with the Principal Secretary, Housing, Shri Rama Rao. In an effort to remain strong and sustain the struggle, many people have built make shift homes at the site itself. Over 30 families are now residing in Azad Maidan, an illustration of their homelessness and desperation. And the people vow to fight on.
The people in power may do well to take cognizance of this undaunted struggle, or better still attend the Jeevan Shala which urges one to struggle and study at the same time. It has reinforced, in the people, the will to continue.
Lakshmi Shankar Mote