Huge rally of Narmada dam oustees in Bhopal


  • NBA PR: 28th June 2013Jeevan Adhikar satyagraha and Upwaas begins with demand for rehabilitation and resettlement

    Thousands of oustees affected by the Indira Sagar, Omkareshwar, Maheshwar, Upper Beda and Man dam demonstrated in capital city Bhopal today and began their Satyagrah. Despite continuous rain in the entire Narmada valley, over 8000 men and women displaced persons have reached Bhopal to camp here for the next 5 days. The affected people demand that all the oustees of these dams should be rehabilitated and resettled with land and all other entitlements, and the injustice being wreaked on them for decades be stopped. Shri Alok Agarwal, senior activist of the Narmada Bacahao Andolan along with 4 men and women oustees have started their fast for 5 days in this “Narmada Jeevan Adhikar Satyagraha and Upwaas”.

    Thousands of oustees marched from Yadgaar –e – Shahjahani Park through Moti Masjid, and gave a Memorandum to the Chief Minister in front of Kamla Park, and then moved to Neelam Park to begin their satyagraha and upwaas. For five days during the “Narmada Jeevan Adhikar Satyagraha and Upwaas”, Narmada Bachao Andolan activist Shri Alok Agarwal, along with Omkareshwar dam oustees Sakubai and Kalabai, Maheshwar dam oustee Bhagwati bai, and Indira Sagar dam oustee Shri Kishor Chauhan would be on fast and they have already begun their fast.

    It is noteworthy that as per the common R&R Policy of the Government of Madhya Pradesh for the oustees of the Omkareshwar, Indira Sagar, Maheshwar, Man and Beda dams, the oustees have to be allotted land and other benefits of the R&R Policy, and resettled well before submergence. But there was no compliance with the R&R Policy, because of which the oustees reached a pitiable state. In its Order and judgment dated 11.05.2011, the Supreme Court gave a finding that the State Government had not offered land to even a single oustee, and had not fulfilled any of its obligations under the R&R Policy, because of which 89% of the displaced farmers could not purchase any land. The Supreme Court directed that the R&R Policy must be strictly followed for all these dams. However the thousands of oustees of these dams have been denied their rights under the R&R Policy, especially the right to be allotted land with a minimum of 2 ha. of irrigated land.

    Recently, the State Government has announced a grant of Rs. 2.5 lakhs to the landless families of the Omkareshwar dam. But the condition that the landless families would have to break their houses by the 15th of July in the middle of the monsoons in order to obtain the grant was both inhuman and impossible. It is clear that this condition must be immediately set aside. It is also noteworthy that the additional package of Rs. 2 lakhs per acre announced by the Chief Minister for the farmers of the Omkareshwar dam is not for an entitlement of 5 acres or at market value of land. Because of this, the displaced farmers will not be able to purchase land for land with a minimum of 2 ha. of land, as per the R&R Policy.
    The State Government has also not provided any land for the landholders or grant for the landless families of the Indira Sagar, Maheshwar, Man and Veda dams, and these rights remain to be provided.

    The oustees of these dams have lost their homes, villages, lands, and culture and have been completely pauperized. Their demand is:
    1. The farmers of the Omkareshwar, Indira Sagar, Maheshwar, Man and Beda dams must be provided land to the extent of land acquired, with a minimum of 2 ha, of land, or they should be assisted to purchase these entitlements.
    2. Every landless family of each of these dams should be provided Rs. 2.5 lakhs, and a time period of 6 months after providing this grant for the purchase of productive assets.
    3. All R&R entitlements to be provided before submergence and displacement.
    4. Those persons who have lost lands, but whose houses have not submerged, their houses should be acquired and the concerned families rehabilitated.
    5. The 41 villages of the Indira Sagar project whose back-water survey has not been carried out, the back-water survey must be done, and the necessary lands and properties acquired and the villagers rehabilitated and resettled.
    6. People of New Harsud resettlement site are suffering enormously because of lack of employment. Immediate arrangements for their employment must be made.
    7. The lands of five villages of Dewas namely Dharaji, Kothmir, Narsinghpura, Nayapura and Guwadi who are affected by the Omkareshwar dam must be acquired and the villagers rehabilitated and resettled.

    Thousands of oustees are resolved that they will take their rights and entitlements at any cost. Their slogan is that “Give us rehabilitation and land. Else empty the dam.”

    Alok Agarwal Sakubai Ram Vilas Rathor
    Omkareshwar Dam Indira Sagar Dam

    Radhubhai Bana Bai Govind Rawat
    Maheshwar Dam Upper Beda Dam Maan Dam

 

#India -Bhopal gas victims take out rally and demand “no Justice, no Vote”


29th June 2013

By TCN News,

Bhopal: In an attempt to awake political parties from there stupor, today several hundred gas victims staged a rally from Ganesh Mandir, Chhola to Bhopal Bus Stand for their long standing demands of compensation, punishment of guilty individuals and corporations. In the upcoming elections of state and central government, Bhopal gas victims have resolved that they will only vote for those political parties who will ensure their compensation and end the continuing injustices against them. Residents from J.P. Nagar, Shakti Nagar, Kainchi Chhola, Risaldar Colony and Rajgarh participated in this rally and shouted slogans “No compensation to Gas Victims, then No Vote of Gas Victims”, “No Justice, No Vote”.

Several residents of J.P. Nagar, Kainchi Chhola and Rajgarh have painted slogans “Compensation First, Second Vote” on their houses. “This time we will tell representatives of political parties visiting our communities that first secure our compensation and then ask for vote”, says Anees Qureshi from J.P. Nagar who lives right across from the Union Carbide factory.

Several gas victims believe that this is the right time to get answers from political parties towards resolving the lingering issues of compensation, punishment of guilty, medical and social rehabilitation. “This time we will only vote for that political party which ensures compensation and justice for Bhopal gas victims and we want to see result before the elections not after,” says Premlata Chowdhary of Kainchi Chhola,

In March 2013, five organization working among the survivors of the December 1984 Union Carbide gas disaster had written a letter to dozen political parties seeking their response and support to their 8 demands on additional compensation for the gas disaster, correction of figures of injury and death caused by the disaster, cleanup of contaminated soil and ground water, compensation for injuries and birth defects caused by toxic contamination, setting up empowered commission for rehabilitation and stopping Dow Chemical from doing business in India till it presents Union Carbide in the ongoing criminal case on the disaster. Except Aam Aadmi party, none of the parties have bothered to respond to the demands of gas victims.

Gas victims participating in this rally appealed to gas victims living in 36 wards to make judicious and strategic use of their power to elect candidates so that that the lingering issues of the disaster are resolved in their favor. They also said that similar rallies should be taken out by all gas victims in their own communities, Paint slogans on houses and shops, and question all the political representatives that come in their community on what steps they have taken in ensuring there compensation from the state and central governments.

Photo Credit: Sanjay ‘KunKun’ Verma

Bhopal gas victims take out rally and demand "no Justice, no Vote"</p>
<p>By TCN News,</p>
<p>Bhopal: In an attempt to awake political parties from there stupor, today several hundred gas victims staged a rally from Ganesh Mandir, Chhola to Bhopal Bus Stand for their long standing demands of compensation, punishment of guilty individuals and corporations. In the upcoming elections of state and central government, Bhopal gas victims have resolved that they will only vote for those political parties who will ensure their compensation and end the continuing injustices against them. Residents from J.P. Nagar, Shakti Nagar, Kainchi Chhola, Risaldar Colony and Rajgarh participated in this rally and shouted slogans “No compensation to Gas Victims, then No Vote of Gas Victims”, “No Justice, No Vote”.</p>
<p>Several residents of J.P. Nagar, Kainchi Chhola and Rajgarh have painted slogans “Compensation First, Second Vote” on their houses. “This time we will tell representatives of political parties visiting our communities that first secure our compensation and then ask for vote”, says Anees Qureshi from J.P. Nagar who lives right across from the Union Carbide factory.</p>
<p>Several gas victims believe that this is the right time to get answers from political parties towards resolving the lingering issues of compensation, punishment of guilty, medical and social rehabilitation. “This time we will only vote for that political party which ensures compensation and justice for Bhopal gas victims and we want to see result before the elections not after,” says Premlata Chowdhary of Kainchi Chhola,</p>
<p>In March 2013, five organization working among the survivors of the December 1984 Union Carbide gas disaster had written a letter to dozen political parties seeking their response and support to their 8 demands on additional compensation for the gas disaster, correction of figures of injury and death caused by the disaster, cleanup of contaminated soil and ground water, compensation for injuries and birth defects caused by toxic contamination, setting up empowered commission for rehabilitation and stopping Dow Chemical from doing business in India till it presents Union Carbide in the ongoing criminal case on the disaster. Except Aam Aadmi party, none of the parties have bothered to respond to the demands of gas victims.</p>
<p>Gas victims participating in this rally appealed to gas victims living in 36 wards to make judicious and strategic use of their power to elect candidates so that that the lingering issues of the disaster are resolved in their favor. They also said that similar rallies should be taken out by all gas victims in their own communities, Paint slogans on houses and shops, and question all the political representatives that come in their community on what steps they have taken in ensuring there compensation from the state and central governments.Photo Credit: Sanjay ‘KunKun’ Verma” src=”<a href=https://fbcdn-sphotos-g-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-prn2/s403x403/988607_347452198715972_160399212_n.jpg&#8221; width=”403″ height=”239″ />

 

Birth defects from Bhopal rise again #dowchemical #unioncarbide


 

Charity warns of worsening situation 28 years after disaster.

London :-Full page advertisements in British newspapers at the weekend claim that horrific birth defects are increasingly common in the Indian city of Bhopal, 28 years after it suffered the world’s worst industrial disaster.
There was a spate of birth defects among women who were pregnant when a leak of deadly gas from a pesticide factory owned by US-based Union Carbide killed thousands in a matter of hours on December 3, 1984.

Children are now being born dead and malformed in numbers not seen since then, claim the advertisements placed by a British charity, the Bhopal Medical Appeal.

The advertisements show pictures of severely malformed or brain damaged children and the text says: “Some injuries are too harrowing to show, like the eye engulfed by a raw tumour that left a small girl in agony until it finally killed her.”

The charity, which funds two clinics in Bhopal, has also funded a “huge, rigorous study covering more than 100,000 people exposed to gas, to poisoned water, and to both.

“The work is almost finished. Results have to be confirmed and analysed but indications are that many families have been poisoned twice, first by Carbide’s gases, then by contaminated water.

“In poisoned areas birth defects are occurring at rates many times the Indian average.”

The advertisements say that after the gas leak, the Union Carbide plant was abandoned with the lethal pesticides still inside, while nearby were lakes of toxic waste, despite fears that local water supplies would be affected.

As early as 1999, a Greenpeace study found many wells contaminated with heavy metals and chemicals. The same contaminants were in the blood and breast milk of women living downstream from the factory.

In 2006 doctors visiting the affected areas found almost half the children they examined were brain damaged. Since then, the charity says, the situation has worsened.

The damaged children get no government help, it claims, and “Union Carbide and its owner Dow Chemical say the dumped wastes, poisoned water and human pain are nothing to do with them.”

Union Carbide says it has “worked diligently to provide immediate and continuing aid to the victims and set up a process to resolve their claims – all of which were settled 21 years ago.”

It adds that in 1998 the Madhya Pradesh state government took full responsibility for the site. The state government maintains it has gone to great lengths to organize “systematic relief and rehabilitation in the disaster area.”

Source: ucanews.com

 

Women Health Activist Madhuri Ben released, joins anti-dam stir


Gwalior, June 1, 2013

Pheroze L. Vincent, The Hindu

Human rights activist Madhuri Krishnaswamy, better known as Madhuri Ben, was released from Khargone Women’s Sub Jail on Thursday after she agreed to get bail in a 2008 case of rioting and assaulting a public servant.

In 2008, Madhuri Ben — who heads the Jagrit Adivasi Dalit Sanghatan (JADS) — alerted the health and police officials in Barwani district after a tribal woman gave birth to a child on the road after being evicted from a primary health centre. Pharmacist of the PHC Vijay Chouhan filed the case against her. The case was closed by the police, only to be reopened by the court, which sent her to a fortnight of judicial custody on May 16 after she refused to seek bail.

The JADS is involved in an agitation of Barela tribals in Khargone district against the Kharak Reservoir Project. On May 25, police arrested 27 tribal people for rioting, trespassing and obstructing the government officials from performing their duty.

Ms. Ben filed a review petition with the Barwani district judge on grounds that a long time had lapsed after the complaint. She said she had refused bail as a form of satyagraha.

“After I saw innocent Adivasis being sent to jail, I realised it is important for me to be available to participate in their struggle. Choukhand village [centre of the agitation] is one of the few tribal villages that are better off economically. This project threatens to take away their prosperity in one stroke,” she told The Hindu .

After her release she headed straight to Choukhand to join the dharna. She said she would continue to “shame the State government” by protests in Khargone and Bhopal.

 

Shehla Masood murder: Zaheda was insecure of Singh, claims witness #Vaw


May 31, 2013Indore: A prosecution witness in the RTI activist Shehla Masood murder case told the court in Indore on Friday that the main accused, Zaheda Parvez, had become ‘possessive’ about BJP MLA Dhruvnarayan Singh and resented Masood’s friendship with him.

Zaheda Parvez. PTI

Zaheda Parvez. PTI

Deposing before the special CBI court in Indore, Sanjay Gupta, a Bhopal-based industrialist and the BJP MLA’s friend, said that Zaheda always suspected the women who came in contact with Dhruvnarayan.

He further told the court that after the murder, Zaheda had a phone conversation with him. When he bemoaned Shehla’s death, she said, “One always pays for the bad deeds. As you sow, so shall you reap.”

According to the CBI, Zaheda had Shehla killed because she was jealous of the latter’s increasing closeness to the BJP MLA.

Shehla was shot dead outside her Bhopal residence on 16 August, 2011. Police have arrested five persons in the case including Zaheda Parvez.

Gupta also said that Dhruvnarayan had told him that Zaheda once had a fight with him when he had gone to Shehla’s residence.

According to Gupta, Dhruvnarayan had called him on 16 August, 2011 and gave him the news of murder.

Dhruvnarayan told him to pass on the message to Shehla’s father Sultan Masood that the MLA was at a temple and would go there later, Gupta said, adding that he passed on the message to Masood.

 

PRESS RELEASE- Repression of people affected by Kharak Dam in Madhya Pradesh


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 
REPORT ON THE REPRESSION OF THE PEOPLE AFFECTED BY KHARAK DAM IN VILLAGE CHAUKHAND, DISTRICT KHARGONE, MADHYA PRADESH on 26th May 2013
 
TERROR IN THE VILLAGE:
 
At around 10.30 in the morning of the 26th of May 2013, a cavalcade of four large police vans filled with around 150 male and female police personnel, and several cars and jeeps and a large machine for work on the dam-site headed by Shri Jitendra Singh, SDM, Bhagwanpura arrived at Village Choukhand, which is a village on the dam site of the Kharak dam proposed to be built on Kharak river in District Khargone, Madhya Pradesh. These villagers, all adivasis, Bhils and Bhilalas, as well as those of the accompanying villages had been resisting the construction of the Kharak dam, until they are rehabilitated and resettled, and their claims are justly settled. On that morning, as the cavalcade stopped at the village, many adivasi villagers went up to the administration to talk to them about the dam, and find out the reason for the police presence. The SDM was the first to emerge from his car, however he did not talk to the people or respond to their queries in any manner. The police force got down thereafter and grouped themselves in a single file. The SDM then ordered that the villagers should be arrested and put into the vans. At this, the police brutally lathi-charged the villagers. The villagers were chased all through the village. Those in their houses were not spared as the police personnel and the SDM himself went from house to house, dragging out people. Even the small children and any others who pleaded with the administration to talk to them were not spared. Women and small children, as also school going children were brutally beaten up. During the lathi charge, the police typically held the villagers close and then hit them on their heads with their lathis. As per the villagers, the skulls of a number of villagers who were then arrested, were cracked open. Women were also brutally beaten by the male policemen, lathis inserted into their clothes, and their clothes pulled, torn and dishevelled.  Many of the male police were carrying bottles of liquor, and they would alternately take swigs of the liquor, shout and beat the villagers. Many of the female police were also drunk. As per the reports of the villagers, the SDM himself donned khakhi uniform and a hat and lathi-charged the villagers along with the police.  A large number of men and women were arrested and taken to Bhagwanpura and from there onwards to Kharone where they were reportedly placed in judicial custody, after reportedly being charged under S.151 and 353 of the IPC.
Some of incidents narrated which showed the brutality of the police are as follows:
  • Muliram s/o Bhadada, a youth from the village studying in Bhopal, beseeched the SDM saying Please do not beat us, please talk to our people. On hearing this, the police flung him on the ground saying how did you dare say this, and beating him mercilessly and dragging him on the ground, took him to the thana where he was arrested.
  • Even visitors to the village were not spared. Nathu bhai from village Bhulwania who was visiting his daughter in Chaukhand was picked up and arrested, as was Geetabai from village Khapada who was visiting her relatives in Chaukhand, and who was dragged out of her host’s house and arrested.
  • Banchabai of village Chaukhand who was inside her house with her two small children and a third suckling infant at her breast, was also hounded out of her house by the police, beaten and arrested.
  • Tudpiabai Gangaram’s two young daughters Kalibai aged 9 years and Phulbai aged 13 years, who began to cry and cling to their father Gangaram who had been hit on the head in their presence and was being taken away by the police, were also brutally beaten up by the police with lathis. By the time of the night meeting, neither of the girls had spoken or eaten anything, one had not got up from her bed, and apart from the physical hurt and inflammation of their bodies, both of them were in deep trauma.


THE DAM AND THE LAND:
The Kharak dam is an irrigation project proposed to be built on the Kharak river at the border of Districts Khargone and Badwani in Madhya Pradesh. The project is slated to affect 7 villages of Districts Khargone and Badwani, namely, Juna Bilwa, Kaniapani and Choukhand in District Khargone, and villages Kamat, Kaniapani,  Julwania and Muvasia in District Badwani. The dam is yet to receive either statutory forest clearance under S.2 of the Forest Conservation Act, 1980 or environment clearance under provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986. Yet work on the dam has been illegally started this year by the State Government. Challenged by the adivasis, it stopped two months ago, but was resumed once more after the police action on the 26th of May 2013.
Acquisition for the project commenced in 2011 and 2012, and in July 2012, S.12 notices dated 27.07.2012 were given to some villagers, for payment of compensation under the Land Acquisition Act. However they were not given any copies of the awards which would allow them to challenge the award through references under S.18 of the LA Act in the courts. The people were told that they would be given their compensation in three installments, and if they did not take the money, they would have to forego it, and further they would be jailed and kept in jail, until the project was completed. Thus they were forced to take the compensation in an oppressive manner. These families of Choukhand and the other affected villages of District Khargone were compensated at the rate of Rs. 40,000 per acre, although reportedly, the Collector’s guideline for the village is Rs. 1,60,000 per acre for un-irrigated land and is Rs. 3,20,000 per acre for irrigated land. The actual market rates in voluntary sales are much higher. Much of this land is irrigated, which had been ignored while assessing compensation.
However around 150 families from the three Khargone villages including Village Chaukhand, who cultivated land through a common cooperative society since 1969 (through common patta dated 10.03.1969 and renewed by pavti dated 27.06.94) and whose cooperative society was disbanded in the late 90’s cultivate individual portions of these revenue lands, without title. The cultivators of the Khargone villages who are cultivating revenue lands without title have also been denied any form of compensation or rehabilitation, and were in fact told that they were not entitled for any rehabilitation. Many of the families who cultivated patta land in Village Chaukhand and the other Khargone villages also do not have their names inscribed on the pattas as Khatedars, as the land records were old, have not been updated, and does not reflect the actual cultivation status on the ground. These families were also denied any form of compensation. Persistent demands for the just settlement of their claims has not been met by the district administration.
All the four affected villages of District Badwani are under reserved forest, and the villagers there are cultivating forest land. The residents of the four villages of Badwani affected by the Kharak dam who cultivate forest lands and hold pattas for cultivation of forest land under the Scheduled Tribes and other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, and some of whose claims under the 2006 Act are also pending, were excluded from any form of compensation and rehabilitation, and have been expressly told that the Government is not required to give them any compensation.
The villagers in this area had united under the aegis of the Jagrut Adivasi Dalit Sangathan and had been agitating their issues for the last six months, and in the last two months stopped all work on the dam, until the issues related to settlement of land claims, compensation, rehabilitation, and grant of alternative land was settled. Leading activist of the organization, Ms. Madhuri Krishnaswamy  had been jailed ten 10 days ago in a case related to denial of health and birthing facilities for Adivasi women in Badwani, and is presently detained in Khargone jail. Evidently, the district administration of Khargone has found the moment and the absence of Madhuri opportune for cracking down on the Kharak dam affected adivasis.
The main findings of the team are as follows:
 
1.    The dam construction work is proceeding completely illegally, without the mandatory prior clearance under S.2 of the Forest Conservation Act, 1980, and environmental clearance under provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986. The State Government must immediately stop all work on the project, and also discharge all tenders for the project.
2.    There was no provocation, or use of any form of verbal or physical violence by the villagers on the 26th of May 2013. The villagers tried to talk to the officers about their problems but were repulsed. On the other hand, the administration and police deliberately planned a crack-down on the villagers in order to intimidate and terrorize the villagers and break their struggle for their rights. They came prepared for this purpose and executed their plan. The use of force on the villagers who were asking for the protection and grant of their legal rights is completely unjustified.
3.    The majority of the villagers have been willfully excluded from the compensation process, and their bonafide claims and legal rights on the revenue and forest land have not been considered.
4.    Thus, villagers cultivating government revenue lands without titles since 1984 have not been considered as Bhumiswamis under the provisions of Madhya Pradesh Krishi Prayojan Ke Liye Upyog Ki Rahi Dakhal Rahit Bhoomi Par Bhoomiswami Adhikaron Ka Pradan Kiya Jana (Vishesh Upabandh) Adhiniyam, 1984, under which all persons in cultivation of government land on 2nd October 1984 were deemed Bhumiswamis under the Act. They have also not been considered for grant of Bhumiswami status for being in possession of government land, under notifications of the State Government in 1998, 2000, and 2002, for change of use of charnoi land to agricultural land.
5.    Claims under the Scheduled Tribes and other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 of many villagers cultivating forest lands are pending or are yet to be considered. No cognizance has also been taken of the families who have already received pattas under the Scheduled Tribes and other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006. Ousting of the adivasis before their claims are settled, or alienation of their forest land rights due to the project since the grant of land rights under the 2006 Act is not alienable under the Act, is in violation of Scheduled Tribes and other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006.
6.    Even those who have been compensated for their titled lands have been badly shortchanged, and compensation for their rich, black cotton soils, has been given at absurdly low rates and in a completely arbitrary manner, at rates which are only a fraction of the Government rates for the village and the market rates in the area. None of the villagers were able to file references under S.18 of the LA Act, in the district Courts to challenge the low rates of compensation, within 5 weeks time limit after receiving S.12 notices in July 2012. However, since they have not been given copies of the land awards as required as per judgment of the Supreme Court, this can still be done.
7.    There was no updating of the land records and settlement of claims even for the titled land despite demand by the villagers, resulting in numerous disputes in the village and among families.
8.    The State Government has not applied the State or National R&R Policy to the area or made any provision for the grant of alternative entitlements under any R&R scheme for the affected tribal population, despite ILO norms requiring land replacement for adivasis facing forced displacement.
9.    The State Government must immediately discharge the adivasi men and women from jail, remove the cases against them, punish the police and administration officials responsible for the unjustified use of force, apologize to the adivasis and also give them damages.
10.     The State Government must speak to the adivasis and their organization, and meet the bonafide, lawful and just demands of the villagers for settlement of claims, compensation and R&R.
 
Team
A team of three persons Ms. Chittaroopa Palit, Dharamdas Lohare, social activists of Narmada Bachao Andolan and Ms. Santoshi, student visited Village Chaukhand on the night of the 26th of May. Around 100 villagers gathered in a meeting at 10.30 at night in which they related the events of the day, and the back-ground of the issue. Police vans could be seen moving to and fro even during the meeting. The Adivasi villagers were very disturbed by the repression which had taken place, but were valiant, and said that they understood that the struggle for just settlement of their claims and for grant of alternative land was going to be a long haul, and they were prepared to fight for their rights. The names of the villagers who shared the events which forms the basis of this report are as follows:
1. Tudpiabai Gangaram, 2. Vairaiyabai Sakharam, 3. Karewtbai Jagdish, 4. Saklibai Chunnilal, 5. Nirma d/o Gampulal (student class XII), 6. Archana d/o Dinesh (student Class XI), 7. Kalibai Gangaram aged 9 years, 8. Kamlabai Masriya, 9. Gyanibai Sikram, 10. Kalibai Kalarsigh, 11. Vestabai Esram, 12. Shivram Tersingh, 13. Bhikla Ramlal, 14. Vimla Dhulsingh, 15. Ramdas Chattarsingh, 16. Champalal Mangilal.
 
Chittaroopa Palit                                                     Khandwa, 28th May 2013
Dharamdas Lohare
Santoshi

 

Chutka Locals to disrupt public hearing for nuke project on the Narmada


Chutka ( M.P.), May 23, 2013

Pheroze L. Vincent. The Hindu 

Villagers staging indefinite dharna in Chutka village on Thursday to protest against the Public Hearing by District Administration for Nuclear Power Plant at Chutka village in Mandla disstrict of Madhya Pradesh on Friday. Photo: A.M.Faruqui
THE HINDU Villagers staging indefinite dharna in Chutka village on Thursday to protest against the Public Hearing by District Administration for Nuclear Power Plant at Chutka village in Mandla disstrict of Madhya Pradesh on Friday. Photo: A.M.Faruqui

Residents of four villages, which are supposed to give way for a nuclear project, are expected to picket a public hearing at Chutka on Friday. The 1400 MW power project by the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) is planned over 497.73 hectares in Narayanganj tehsil, roughly 400 km east of Bhopal.

Many of those participating in the agitation, have already lost their homes and pastures to the Bargi Dam on the river Narmada in 1984.

When The Hindu visited Chutka village, where a large tent is being set up for the hearing tomorrow, almost every hutment had “Cancel the public hearing, we don’t want nuclear power” painted in Hindi in front. Chutka is predominantly populated by the Gond tribe, who’s main occupation in growing lentils, corn, maize, mustard and staple Gond millets like Kodo (Palspalum scrolaiculatum) and Kutki (Panicum sumatrense).

The “parmanu” or nuclear plant was the main subject of discussion among guests leaving a wedding in Dhan Singh’s house. His wife Umedhabai, said that there was nothing for her family in the nuclear project. “We know how to farm, not to work with machines. After the government removed us from mother Narmada’s lap, we prepared these fields with our blood and sweat. Now they want us to give this away. It is better to kill us.”

At the village square, around forty villagers under the banner Chutka Parmanu Sangharsh Samiti (CPSS) have been protesting since May 21. They have also staged protests in Jabalpur, the divisional headquarters and in the capital Bhopal, this month. They are supported by the Gondwana Gantantra Party (GGP), The CPI-ML (KN Ramachandran group) and the CPI.

After the Centre cleared the project in 2009, protests began. In 2010, survey teams were denied entry to the village and the gram sabhas of Chutka, Kunda and Tatighat villages passed resolutions against the project. After the district administration served a land acquisition notice, the protestors have handed over their memoranda of dissent to the administration and the governor.

The protestors are demanding that the Environment Impact Assessment report be given to them in simple Hindi. The report by the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute, Pune, in English was released last month with a summary in Hindi. They say that they will physically prevent the public hearing and face police canes, if they have to.

“The hearing will give legitimacy to this illegal attempt to take away our lands. How can we understand all this technical details. We are being tricked into losing everything we have for a project that will destroy the river and our livelihood,” said Nauratan Dubey, secretary of the CPSS.

The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited has recruited and trained 40 youth to canvass in favour of the 1400 MW project. An exhibition bus highlighting benefits of nuclear energy has also been doing the rounds. Advertorials by Vigyan Prasar, an autonomous central body, have appeared in local Hindi dailies this week.

District Magistrate and Collector Lokesh Jatav told this reporter, “We want this to be inclusive… NPCIL has take groups of villagers to visit Tarapur Atomic Power Station near Mumbai. You must understand that the kind of rehabilitation and resettlement package offered today will be much better than the Bargi oustees got 30 years back.”

He added that at least 3,500 jobs will be created for locals. The administration is currently identifying trades in which 1,000 youth can be trained. The residential complex of NPCIL employees will also create a demand for local farmers.

Prem Singh Kudape, a man with his infant son at the protest, said that he does not want a job in the nuclear plant. “They are all contract jobs. Land is permanent. Even after we were sent away in 1984, undeserving people took away the jobs.”

The area falls under seismic zone 3, a high damage risk area. In 1997 an earthquake which recorded 6.2 on the Richter scale hit the area. Mr. Jatav allayed fears of a Fukushima like disaster saying that the government’s experts could not be wrong and they were willing to consider all objections to their report.

Gulzar Singh Markam, vice president of the GGP which commands the respect of adivasis in the region, said, “If it is so safe, let them build it in Bhopal by the Upper Lake. It can power the CM’s house.”

 

Son molests Dalit girl, father sets her ablaze in Madhya Pradesh #Vaw #WTFnews


Last Updated: Sunday, May 19, 2013,
Zee Media Bureau

Bhopal: In a shocking incident, a 15-year-old Dalit girl was set afire by a youth’s father whose son was arrested by police on molestation charges filed by the victim.

Reports indicate the Dalit girl suffered 90 percent burn injuries and is battling for her life at a hospital in Bhopal.

The teenage girl was molested by the youth when she had gone out of house for some work, following which her family lodged a FIR against the accused.

Enraged with his son’s arrest, the youth’s father reached at the girl’s place on Saturday and poured kerosene on her and set her ablaze.

The police have registered attempt to murder case against the person.

 

Gandhian activist arrested in MP, adivasis up in arms


Bhopal, May 17, 2013

 

Staff Reporter

 
A file picture of Gandhian activist Madhuri Krishnaswami who was arrested for fighting against the injustice meted out to adviasis in Madhya Pradesh.
The Hindu A file picture of Gandhian activist Madhuri Krishnaswami who was arrested for fighting against the injustice meted out to adviasis in Madhya Pradesh.
 
 

Madhuri Krishnaswamy, a leader of the Jagrit Adivasi Dalit Sangathan (JADS) – which works for health and labour rights in the south-western Madhya Pradesh – was sent to judicial custody for a fortnight, on Thursday. Ms. Krishnaswamy, popularly called Madhuri Ben, and four others were summoned by Judicial Magistrate First Class D. P. Singh Sewach in Barwani on Thursday for a 2008 case of rioting and assaulting a public servant.

The police, in fact, had filed a closure report for lack of evidence, but the court took cognizance of the testimony of plaintiff Vijay Chouhan and summoned the respondents. Only Madhuri Ben appeared and was sent to Khargone Women’s Prison after she refused to seek bail. Two of the four others are already on bail. The others are expected to be arrested soon.

In 2008, Madhuri had alerted health and police officials after a tribal woman was forced to deliver her child on the road, after been evicted from a primary health centre by the compounder Mr. Chouhan. He also filed the case against the JADS, was suspended only to be reinstated later.

JADS activists picketed at six police stations in Barwani district on Friday. Union rural development minister was also in the district for the Congress’ Parivartan Yatra. “We told him that arresting the person who exposed the government is injustice. He said he spoke to the chief secretary. We also told him that we are only getting Rs. 22 to 26 as MNREGA wages (instead of the stipulated Rs. 100). He did not say anything,” Harsing Jamre of the JADS told The Hindu.

District superintendent of police R. C. Burra told this reporter, “We had to arrest her as the court ordered it… He (Mr. Jairam Ramesh) asked about her and we gave him all the details of the case.”

Ms. Krishnaswamy is scheduled to appear before the Chief Judicial Magistrate on May 30.

She was served a show-cause notice of externment from the district administration, last year, which accused her of preventing officials from doing their duties. This came after she protested against the death of a tribal woman after 27 hours of labour without medical help. Mr. Ramesh had then too written to chief secretary R. Parasuram to intervene.

Controversy looming large over Chutka nuclear project


Shashikant Trivedi  |  Bhopal  May 15, 2013 Last Updated at 09:23 IST

Upcoming project in MP to displace local tribal population; proposed site in highly seismic zone near Kanha National Par

Locals of Mandla district will once again raise their voices against 1400 MW NPCIL (Nuclear Power Corporation India Limited) Chutka project which is coming up in highly seismic zone, near Kanha national park and adjacent  to one of the least polluted river Narmada. State government officials have already issued land acquisition notices to local people, almost all of them are tribal, and have slapped a NEERI (National Environmental Engineering Research Institute) report which is Greek to them.

The district administration has called a public hearing on 24th of this month to invite claims, objections and suggestions suggestion on the project that pose risk to rich diversity and more importantly pre-historic evidences of human civilization in the area. Members of Chutka Parmanu Sangharsh Samiti, have demanded immediate cancellation of the meeting and threatened to stage dharna from 20th of this month if their demand is not met.

NEERI has readied environment impact assessment report on the project.  On the other hand district collector told BS that all formalities and documentation procedures have been completed and there are people who want this project to come up.

Interestingly, when world is debating safety of nuclear power project after 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan, Jabalpur-Mandla belt also experienced an earthquake on 22 May 1997 of 7 magnitude on Richter. The epicenter of this earthquake was at Kosamghat –hardly 20 kilometers away from the proposed site.

According to Navratan Dubey, secretary of Chutkha Parmanu Sangharsh Samiti, the district collector handed over the NEERI report on 21 April 2013 to them and gave one month period to study it. “Entire report is in English and is in scientific terms, how can villagers study it and come up with even suggestions? He asks, “The NEERI took two years to prepare it and they want us to analyse it in one month. We have demanded the district collector to give a Hindi version of the report and a time of two months so that villagers can understand it. It would be impossible for them even if they are in favour of the project,” Dubey said, “We will launch our protest from 20 of this month if they do not listen to us. We want the public hearing to be cancelled.”

Villagers of Chutka, Tatighat, Kunda, Bhaliwara and Patha are in the core area of the project. Villagers are more enraged as they have already been displaced due to Bargi dam on Narmada River. The project site also falls under the scheduled area.

The district collector Lokendra Singh Jatav told BS telephonically from Mandla, “We have given them enough copies of the NEERI report in Hindi and enough time. There are people who want development and they are in favour of the project, we will go ahead as per schedule. We have already issued land acquisition notifications and few with vested interest are opposing it.”

Though the project is yet to come out of the drawing board, the district administration has issued notices under the 1994 land acquisition Act. Members of Chutka Parmanu Sangharsh Samiti also allege that district administration officials are forcefully moving ahead without taking them into confident. “They have not taken permission from gram sabhas and ignored decisions and resolutions of villagers in contrast to the fact that Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996, has vested all rights on deciding developmental activities to the gram sabhas,” said Rajkumar Sinha, who is fighting for rights of oustees of Bargi dam. He is advising villagers on Chutka Parmanu Sangharsh Samiti on environment and other issues.

The samiti members said they were already displaced when the Bargi dam on Narmada River was conceived. “We are strictly against the project as we do not want to move for another project,” Dubey added. The district collector was not available for comment. However the district collector clarified that all legal and documentary procedures have been completed.