Immediate Release-Jan Swasthya Abhiyan Calls For National Debate for ‘Universal Health Care’


Press Statement on the occasion of World Health Day – April 7th 2012

Jan Swasthya Abhiyan Calls For National Debate On Design Of Proposed System For ‘Universal Health Care’

Ensure quality, free health care for all as a right: Give priority to expansion and improvement of Public health services, regulate Private medical sector

Over the past year there has been a lot of interest in and visibility of the concept of Universal Health Care. The Planning commission had set up the High Level Expert Group (HLEG) on Universal Health Care (UHC) which has submitted its recommendations in Nov. 2011. The Planning Commission is now considering implementation of Universal health care in some form during the XIIth Five year plan. JSA welcomes this interest and commitment to Health care for All by the Government of India. On the occasion of 7th April, 2012 World Health Day, JSA would like to set out clearly our views on the issue as well as express serious concern with the direction in which the discourse on Universal Health Care seems to be taking.

THE HLEG AND PLANNING COMMISSION STEERING COMMITTEE REPORTS

The JSA welcomes a number of key aspects of the HLEG-UHC report. Most importantly we appreciate:

 The emphasis on the concept of “universal”, of including every citizen, unlike the currently dominant approach of “selective” approach of targeting the poor

 Clear emphasis on tax-based financing of the health system, rejection of insurance in the financing and provisioning of universal health care.

 Recommendation to abolish user fees in the health system.

 Definite commitment to “Free Medicines for ALL” in the Public Health System.

 Recommendation of strengthening and the expanding the public sector

 Recommendation to establish Urban UHC system.

Defining the need and urgency of private sector regulation, as well as outlining a potential regulatory structure.

 Bringing Community based accountability mechanisms to the center stage.

More recently the Steering Group on Health of the Planning commission finalized its report which incorporates (interprets) the findings of the HLEG into the Planning Commission process. However the Steering committee report contains recommendations that would defeat the purpose and spirit behind any evolving process of Universal Health Care.

 The reduction of the comprehensive Essential Health Package suggested by the HLEG into just RCH and National Health Programes. This is NOT a Universal health care entitlement.

 The concept of giving financial and operational autonomy of the public health facilities is also very problematic. Financial autonomy means leaving the public health system to “fend for themselves”. This will be very damaging to any hopes for a Universal System.

 The concept of “provider choice” to choose between private and public providers is also unacceptable. Especially during last 20 years, the public health system has been neglected and made sick whereas the private sector has received encouragement for un regulated growth.

 JSA believes that the private sector should play a complementary / supplementary role, on the terms defined by a strengthened public health system accountable to the people.

 Steering Committee report suggests that one district in each state pilot this concept in the first year of the plan. We would strongly suggest that the unit of pilot should logically be the state, and more over that such pilots be initiated only after full discussion and public debate.

JSA’s VISION FOR A UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE SYSTEM

We firmly believe that the public health system has to be the back bone of any universal health system. Our emphasis should be on strengthening of the Public Health system, especially the primary level of care. The public sector should be brought up to its full functional capacity and expanded.

The private sector needs to be involved in the UHC system only on the terms of public good. Integration of the public and private sector is to be seen in terms of an integration of the “logic” of the health system. Corporate profits should not be allowed to lead or define health provision. The health system has to be effectively and transparently regulated with its primary goal being the people’s welfare rather than private profit. It is only under such circumstances that we can develop a UHC system that will truly serve the needs of the people equitably.

UHC system should be based on tax based financing. Present models of publicly financed commercial insurance (such as Arogyasri scheme in Andhra Pradesh) have proved to be highly problematic in terms of scope and rationality of care, and become financial drain on the exchequer without delivering anything like Universal health care.

The governance of the whole UHC system must be firmly people centered and rights based, with a community led and focused process. We visualize institutionalizing a process of community based monitoring, planning and action for health which is evolved based on experiences in a number of states of the country in which JSA partners are involved.

Jan Swasthya Abhiyan call for action on Universal Health care

Given this situation the JSA calls for the following:

 A national public debate on the contours of the proposed universal health care system. Such an important issue cannot be rushed through and its various strands need to be understood, discussed and commented upon widely by the people.

 Definition of a clear, transparent and time bound road map for strengthening and expanding the public health system while improving its functioning and accountability; this must include allocation of adequate, enhanced budgets.

 Enactment of adequate laws guaranteeing the right to health, including National and State Health acts, which would lay down the framework for regulation of the health system, particularly relevant for private medical providers. Providing entitlements must be accompanied by a clear framework for accountability and grievance redressal.

 While developing and operationalising the universal health care system, highest priority must be given to significant expansion and improvement of public health services. Regulated private providers should not be competing with public providers for common resources, rather they may be in-sourced to provide services, but never as a substitute to the public sector.

 Ensuring forums for participation of community members, community based groups and civil society organizations along with elected representatives and public health functionaries at various levels, for planning, monitoring and reviewing the functioning of the universal health care system.

We must be aware that the direction of developing universal health care in India must be towards strengthening the public health system and socialization of health care, rather than promoting further expansion of unregulated, profit-oriented private medical care. Hence a national debate is essential and there should be no haste in rolling out these concepts – even the looming large of the General elections should not become an excuse for the government to short circuit and distort the concept of Universal Health Care for narrow political gains.

The Trials Of A Political Prisoner: Arun Ferriera recounts custodial torture, life and irony in prison


Arun Ferreira, a civil rights activist, spent four and a half years inside Maharashtra’s prisons because the police believed that he was a Maoist. He speaks of life inside prisons, of hierarchies behind bars and the ubiquity of torture in police custody.

TEXT AND PHOTOGRAPHS BY JAVED IQBAL

Thirty-year-old Arun Ferreira hails from a middle-class Catholic family in Bandra, Mumbai. He became a political activist in his college days, active in Naxalite-affected eastern Maharashtra and during the Khairlanji killings. On May 8, 2007, he was arrested as he got off the train at Nagpur railway station from Mumbai.The police charged him under Sections 10, 13, 18 and 20 of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.

In a few months, eight more cases were slapped against him, including two of murder, an attack on a police station, and an explosion in Gondia. He was acquitted of all charges by the High Court in September 2011, but re-arrested outside Nagpur Central Jail just days later in front of his family, on September 27. He was charged for two more cases in Gadchiroli, again acquitted of one, and now out on bail for the other.

Ferreira has filed a case against the state on his re-arrest. There’s a touch of irony about it, as this was a subject on which he did his post-graduate master’s thesis while in jail, speaking to other prisoners who had suffered the same practice, which he describes as standard operating procedure for keeping political activists in jail.

Ferreira graduated from St Xavier’s College, married his college sweetheart, and worked in the Navjawan Bharat Sabha, an organisation active during the 1980s textile strike. That was his initial foray into political activity. He was
active in the bastis throughout the 1990s against demolition drives and for the regularisation of slums, supported by his family and his wife. He worked predominantly with youth, educating them on their rights, and eventually began to network with different people’s movements across Maharashtra, including anti-displacement struggles, Dalit and adivasi movements.

Now, a free man, he recounts his life in prison, from an activist for justice after the Khairlanji Dalit massacre, to time spent in the same jail barracks as those on death row for Khairlanji. He fought for the abolition of capital punishment; he went on a hunger strike for 27 days for basic rights in prison, and petitioned the High Court about his torture in police custody. The petition was thrown out.

He talks about his treatment and his debates with police officials, and his day-to-day routine as a prisoner in one of the most political prisons in Maharashtra state: Nagpur Central Jail.

READ FULL ARTICLE HERE

Nepal’s Rural Women Seek Justice


Nepali woman

Nepali woman (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

DAILEKH, Nepal, Apr 5, 2012 (IPS) – Women in Nepal’s remote rural areas stood shoulder-to-shoulder with their men during the bloody 1996-2006 civil war that overthrew an oppressive monarchy, but many now battle domestic violence at home.

Rachna Shahi was only 15 when she joined the Maoist People’s Liberation Army in 2004. Today, she finds herself kicked out by her husband’s family and under pressure to grant him a divorce while her own family refuses to take her back.

“I joined the war to fight for women’s equality and our rights but many women like me are now at the receiving end of both family and society,” Rachna tells IPS. “I don’t know how I will survive now.”

Dhanasara Majhi, who also lives in this remote district 700 km west of Kathmandu, would have committed suicide, except that she does not want to leave her four children to the mercy of their abusive father.

“Sometimes I am tempted to kill myself, as that would end all my sufferings. But who will take care of my children after I die?” she asks wiping her tears and sobbing softly.

Her husband, Keshab Majhi, hits her with anything he finds handy such as an iron rod or a hammer and has even threatened to kill her with an axe.

Majhi gets particularly violent after he drinks alcohol. “We usually run towards the hills and hide in the forest until he is sober,” says Dhanasara. She is worried most for her eldest son, 12-year-old Rosan, who shows signs of being mentally disturbed.

Dhansara does not approach the police, fearing that this will enrage her husband all the more and because she knows that she will get no support from the local community. “My neighbours often accuse me of provoking him. I don’t know who to turn to for help.”

Dhansara and Ruchi share the woes of many Nepalese women, especially in the rural areas where they have little or no access to legal protection and end up living in constant fear and daily abuse.

Despite the alarming rate of violence against women, the government has done little to protect them, say women’s rights activists.

In 2011, there were nearly 700 recorded incidents of violence of which 40 percent were cases of domestic violence, according to the Informal Sector Service Centre (INSEC), a non-governmental organistion (NGO).

“Lots of incidents are never reported due to fear of reprisal and lack of access to legal aid,” says Khadga Raj Joshi, regional coordinator of INSEC in the western region.

Last year, 54 women were killed by family members in Nepal for disobeying their husbands or in-laws or for petty reasons such as objecting to their husbands’ drinking. Most of the perpetrators got away scot free for lack of evidence, says INSEC.

The Nepal Bar Association provides pro bono legal services in district courts, but these are too far away for women living in the remote rural areas, says Joshi. “Basically, the women are on their own and have no social protection even from their own families,” says Deepa Bohara, a social worker.

“It is socially acceptable for women to get abused at the hands of their husbands, a really disturbing attitude,” says Deepa.

A 2001 survey conducted by the Nepal demographic and health survey found that a large number of Nepali women, both urban and rural, thought it permissible for a man to beat his wife for not performing kitchen tasks properly, going outdoors without permission or denying sex.

Similar attitudes prevail across South Asia with Nepal’s largest neighbours Pakistan and India, ranking third and fourth respectively, in a global survey of perceptions of threats to women ranging from domestic abuse and economic discrimination to female foeticide.

The survey results, released in June 2011 by TrustLaw, a legal news service run by the Thomson Reuters Foundation, said the fact that “a government is corrupt and that female rights are very low on the agenda means that there is little or no recourse to justice.”

In Nepal, some government support is available to rural women in the para legal services at the Village Development Committees (VDCs), the lowest rung of the rural administration system.

“But, the VDCs have little authority to make any legal decisions and all they can do is encourage a compromise within the family,” says Bindu Khadka, a lawyer with the Forum for Women, Law and Development.

The one hope for rural women is the local police, attached to the country’s 3,915 VDCs, but they often swing in behind the perpetrators as the quickest way to maintain peace.

“We often find that the police, though responsible for prosecution and investigation, pressurise victims to compromise in the name of maintaining peace and harmony in society,” explains INSEC’s Khadka.

“I’m tired of asking the police for help. They do nothing and demand evidence of violence – my word is not good enough,” says 25-year-old Hastana Raut, whose husband abandoned her after three years of marriage.

Nepal, the republic, has seen many legislative reforms in the direction of gender equality ensuring greater economic, citizenship and political rights, safeguarding their sexual and reproductive rights.

Soon after the civil war ended in 2006, Nepal passed the Gender Equality Act giving equal inheritance rights for women and criminalising domestic and sexual violence.

Activists however say that these rights are yet to reach the grassroots levels.

“I feel I will have to live like this for the rest of my life. Who will help me anyway?” asks Pavitra Majhi, 21, whose husband disappeared three years ago, leaving her to be constantly abused by her father-in-law, and beaten by her mother-in-law.

Solar Panels Reflect Bright Future for Rural Papua New Guinea


GOROKA, Apr 2, 2012 (IPS) – In Papua New Guinea (PNG), which has no national power grid but large river systems and abundant sunshine, renewable energy has tremendous potential to transform remote rural lives with clean and sustainable electricity.

Ten years ago Nick Nait, who lives in a small village near Mount Sion in the Eastern Highlands with his wife and children, introduced electricity to his household for the first time. While working for a missionary organisation Nait learnt how to make solar power systems and subsequently built a small one for his two-room dwelling.

The single solar panel powers a radio, lighting and television.

For Nait, solar power is affordable and dependable. “It depends on the weather, but when there is sun, there is no problem,” he said, “It is very reliable and I rarely have to do repairs.”

After the initial cost of making and installing the solar unit, he has had few ongoing expenses and, once fully charged, the system will provide light in his home for one month.

Like Nait, many people living in the rural Highlands face economic and environmental challenges. Garaio Gafiye of Clean Energy Solutions, a consultancy for renewable energy projects in PNG, told IPS, “The Highlands is a very rugged area and there are so many communities. Renewable energy is very important, especially hydro, there is so much of it, and solar also. But the problem is incomes are very low in the Highlands and managing money can be quite difficult.”

Families have been forced to become very resourceful in order to access energy at minimal expense.

“Solar is very easy to install,” Gafiye continued, “Now if you go to some of the communities, (at least) one or two people have solar systems, just simple ones. They just get the panel and a battery and put it together.”

Obtaining sustainable electricity has made a vital difference to Nait’s family.

“We now have lighting in our home, access to information and the news from radio and TV and my children can do their school work and study in the evenings,” Nait explained, “Although we do not have an electric stove, my wife finds it very helpful to have lighting while she is cooking at home.”

Now he plans to expand the capacity of his solar unit to drive a water pump and eventually bring clean water from a nearby well to his home.

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), without access to energy, developing countries become trapped in poverty. The denial of choices to improve human development through energy is known to negatively impact infant mortality, life expectancy and income generation, among many others.

Sadly, this year, the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All, the IEA estimates that 1.4 billion people, or nearly one quarter of the world’s population, remain without access to electricity.

PNG Power Limited, the nation’s only power provider, claims it is unfeasible to construct a national grid system due to dense mountainous topography and long distances between load centres. Therefore, many villages still rely on traditional biomass, such as firewood, for cooking and heating, with diesel generators providing a popular alternative. But the high price of fuel means that generators are used sparingly, often for no more than a few hours each day.

“It is very cheap to purchase a diesel engine, but it won’t last long,” Gafiye said, “It could last four or five years but after that, if you work out the economics, it is not (cost efficient) to keep running it.”

Renewable technologies, which are practical for standalone systems and provide power 24 hours per day, are the best option for those living in remote areas.

According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the total primary energy supply in PNG is 145.9 petajoules (PJ), of which renewable energy accounts for 115.2 PJ (roughly 79 percent).

Read full article here

An Anonymous humorous letter to Bible candidate – Rick Santorum



Dear Friends,

 I have been greatly moved by Rick Santorum‘s wise pronouncements, guided by Biblical principles, especially those concerning marriage. Of course he believes that sexual intercourse should be used only for purposes of procreation (he says he has never worn a condom), but there are some gray areas I was hoping he could clear up, so I wrote him the following letter:

Dear Sen. Santorum:

 Thank you for doing so much to educate us regarding God‘s Eternal Law. I have learned a great deal from you and understand why you would propose and support a constitutional amendment outlawing same-sex marriage, which of course is an abomination.

 As you said, “In the eyes of God, marriage is based between a man and a woman.” I try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination.End of debate.

 I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God’s Laws and how I might obey them:

 1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female,provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies only to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Can I own Canadians?

 2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her? (She works hard, but does eat a lot.)

 3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanness (Lev. 14: 19-24). The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking when meeting young women at church socials, but most of them seem to take offense.

 4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord (Lev. 1:9). The problem is with my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them, or would Lysol work?

 5. I have a neighbor, Aaron Rogers, who insists on working on the Sabbath.Exodus 35:2 clearly states that he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it? And how good is the Packers backup QB?

 6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination (Lev.11:10) it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I  don’t agree. Can you settle this? Are there degrees of abomination? What about a homosexual at an oyster bar?

 7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I do wear glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here? What about contacts? Can God tell?

 8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die? I know they must be put to death, but I do not know the recommended method. .

 9. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev. 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field (I think corn and alfalfa). And his wife wears garments made from two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? (Lev. 24:10-16). Couldn’t we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14).

 10. And last, I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean. May I still play football if I wear gloves?

 I know that you are very busy with your presidential campaign, but, if you get a chance, I would really like your guidance on these critical and disturbing issues.

 Thank you again for reminding us of the eternal and unchanging truth of the Holy Bible.Thank you again for reminding us of the eternal and unchanging truth of the Holy Bible. God bless you. And may He guide you in your quest to lead this great nation of ours. “

 Sincerely Unknown Author

P.S- The mail came as a forward,, in my mail inbox  :-)

Dalit girl attempts suicide after rape


TNN Apr 5, 2012

JAIPUR: Relatives of a rape victim had a harrowing time before the police finally lodged an FIR and recorded the girl’s statement on Wednesday.

A 16-year-old Dalit girl was allegedly raped at Jasti ka Bagh village in Sikar district on Tuesday evening. Following the incident, the girl attempted suicide by setting herself on fire.

The victim, a Class IX student, was returning from school when she was abducted by one Rajaram who allegedly raped her and left her at an isolated place. Later, the girl after reaching home set herself on fire.

“She was rushed to Sawai Man Singh hospital and is undergoing treatment at the burn ward. The police in our village did not bother to register an FIR,” said a relative of the girl.

On Wednesday morning, the victim’s kin informed the police chowki near the hospital, who informed the Moti Doongri police, who in turn asked the Neem ka Thana police station to register a complaint. In the entire process, the complaint was registered only by evening.

Later, police commissioner and senior officers intimated the Sikar police about the incident. A magistrate has also recorded the statement of the victim.

Meanwhile, chairperson of state women’s commission Lad Kumari Jain also visited the girl at the hospital and assured justice for her family. According to the hospital, the girl has sustained 70 % burn injuries and chances of her survival are very slim.

 

Dalit women branded witches, beaten; cops file case 2 weeks later


Hindustan Times
Bhilwara, April 04, 2012

Two weeks after Bhilwara district’s Guwardi village witnessed a case of “witch-hunt”, the local police stirred themselves to file an FIR.

On March 17, a 50-year-old Dalit woman and her daughter-in-law were beaten up by 11 men who had  labelled them “witches”. The men had barged into the  house when the  rest of the family was away. The violence was the fallout of a long-standing property dispute.

But not only was the FIR lodged as late as April 2, Ganpat — son of Ramu Bai and husband of Ladi Devi — said the police had done their best to deter him from filing a complaint.

“The men called them witches, thrashed them and asked them to leave the village,” the complaint read.

The assailants, including Ganpat’s neighbour Raju, his father Hardev Singh, are absconding.

Ganpat said the men were after his land.

After Ganpat met Bhilwara collector Onkar Singh, an FIR was ordered, but the police did not file it. “Instead, on March 25, the police told me not to pursue the case if I wanted peace,” Ganpat said.

Acting superintendent of police, Bhilwara, Rajendra Singh Chowdhury, said he was looking into the delay in filing the FIR.

Stop criminalising protests against KNPP


EDITORIAL, The Hindu
April 6, 2012

Don’t lose the plot now

The continuing efforts to criminalise protests against the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project and portray all opposition to nuclear energy as anti-national must be unequivocally condemned. For over seven months, a popular protest, with wide public participation, went on in the vicinity of Kudankulam without a single incident of violence. An indefinite fast against the Tamil Nadu government‘s decision to facilitate the commissioning of the plant has now been given up, but low-key protests continue. The government has managed to get the project going again after months of inactivity. Yet, the State has shown no compunction in invoking drastic legal provisions — such as those relating to waging war against the government, and sedition — against key participants in the agitation. The police in Tamil Nadu are preparing formally to lay serious charges against those perceived to have “instigated” the anti-nuclear agitation; the only concession they seem to make to the rights guaranteed by the Constitution of India is to promise that those who ‘innocently’ participated in the protests will not be prosecuted. Regardless of one’s opinion about the desirability of nuclear power, the imputation that organising protests against a nuclear plant amounts to waging war on the State or promoting disaffection against the government has no place in a democracy.

Non-governmental organisations linked to the protesters are facing a probe about whether foreign contributions meant for charity were diverted to fund the agitation. This may be explained as a legitimate exercise by the Union Home Ministry, which regulates the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act. However, the spate of arrests by the State police and the plan to prosecute protesters under extraordinary provisions of the law give the impression of a witch hunt. Also disturbing is the tendency to seek to demonstrate that ‘extremists’ or ‘Maoists‘ have infiltrated the protests. A government that went out of the way to ensure peace during the prolonged agitation and which gave a necessary pause to the project until its full implications were explained to the public should not lose the plot now and waste its energies on pursuing the prosecution of protesters, be they the ones derisively dubbed “professional agitators” or those supposedly duped into participating in agitations. The larger issue of keeping the people on board always and allaying fears about safety is a long-term obligation that the Central and State governments cannot evade. Nothing can be more perverse than pursuing punitive measures used by colonial rulers in the pre-Independence era to repress democratic protests against the decisions and policies of elected governments.

Christy Friedgram Industries (CFI), involved in ICDS SCAM


Tom Flynn, CFI Executive Director

Tom Flynn, CFI Executive Director (Photo credit: Marty Stone)

Ex-staff spill the beans on Christy’s cheat code

Nandini Chandrashekar, Bangalore, Apr 5, 2012, DHNS :

Christy Friedgram Industries (CFI), the company under investigation by the Lokayukta police for fraudulent practices in the supply of supplementary nutritional food to anganwadis under the Integrated Child Development Scheme, seemed to have an elaborate system of deception in place.

Former employees of CFI approached Deccan Herald and shed light on some of the bad practices adopted by the company, a downright violation of the norms.

The officials of the Department of Women and Child Development have consistently said that CFI was not hired as a contractor for food supply in violation of Supreme Court directives, but they were merely into capacity building.

The capacity building meant the setting up of 137 Mahila Supplementary Nutrition Production and Training Centres (MSPTCs) at the taluk level all over the State.

These centres are supposed to produce the nutritional food and package them according to requirements for supply to anganwadis, to be fed to children, pregnant and lactating mothers.

A former employee of CFI – who was active in the recruitment of women for the MSPTCs – says they were instructed not to hire women who were educated.

The logic behind this was simple. In accordance with the Supreme Court directives, the State government – in its agreement with CFI – had stated that the company apart from getting paid for the raw material it supplied to the MSPTC, would be paid a profit of Rs 1 per kg of food supplied. The rest of the profit that was accrued had to be shared among the members of the MSPTC.

Hiring uneducated women and semi-literate women ensured that no one understood the account details, the indents of supply or any of the accounting they would have to look into; what the turnover of their unit was, which ran into several crores of rupees annually. All the profits were going directly to CFI and the employees of the MSPTC were blissfully unaware.

“Each of the MSPTCs had a staff member of CFI overlooking all financial details and transactions. The President, Vice President and Treasurer were women who had no clue what was happening. They signed on documents when they were told to and some of the women gave their thumb impressions.

Their job merely was to load and unload the food material, mix the different items and package the food. They were paid a salary for this job. Beyond this, they did not know anything,” the former employee said. Members who usually number around 22 in these centres have absolutely no medical facilities and even miss out on incentives. If they miss one day of work, their salary is deducted, the ex-staffer added.

Not only were the women uneducated, there were also instructions to the employees that the location of the MSPTCs had to be in a remote area. “Our superiors insisted that the place we choose has to be as far as possible and located in villages rather than in taluk headquarters.

Only later did we understand that this was so, so that the place is not accessible easily for inspections by government officials,” the ex-employee said.

Leader of Niyamgiri Struggle Faces Life Threat


One of the frontline leaders of the Save Niyamgiri movement is Dadhi pusika, he openly talked about the looming threats to the lives of activists and ongoing conspiracies to kill them. On one hand, repression of the CRPF in the name of Maoist presence in Niyamgiri, and on the other, threats to their lives.
Isn’t it a blow to the fundamental rights of the Dongria Kandhs who are fighting a battle to protect their land, culture, and dignity?