Compensation not issue, scrap Jaitapur project’


Press Trust of India

For a cause: Members of All India Students Association stage a protest at Jantar<br />
Mantar in New Delhi against French Government’s protection of a French diplomat accused of raping his three-year-old daughter, and against the proposed construction of a nuclear power plant at Jaitapur in Maharashtra. — Photo: V. Sudershan” src=”<a href=http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/multimedia/dynamic/01364/BL15_DELHI_AISA_PR_1364084f.jpg&#8221; />

Business Line For a cause: Members of All India Students Association stage a protest at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi against French Government‘s protection of a French diplomat accused of raping his three-year-old daughter, and against the proposed construction of a nuclear power plant at Jaitapur in Maharashtra. — Photo: V. Sudershan
Mumbai, Feb. 14:

Spurning Maharashtra Government’s offer of enhanced compensation for project-affected persons from Jaitapur and neighbouring villages, the local organisation spearheading the opposition to the proposed 9,900-MW nuclear power plant said it wanted the whole project to be scrapped.

“Our struggle is for cancellation of the nuclear plant project…. We do not want increased monetary package,” said Prakash Waghdhare, President of ‘Madban, Jaitapur, Mithgavane, Panchkroshi Sangharsh Samiti’.

In the face of stiff local opposition, the Maharashtra Government recently decided to give compensation of Rs 22.5 lakh a hectare to the project-affected people. However, Waghdhare said the quantum of compensation was not the issue.

“Farmers from Jaitapur and neighbouring villages do not want the money. They don’t want the project there. Entire Konkan is opposed to the project,” he said.

A rally to protest the project would be organised next month, he said.

Alleging that Government was misleading people by offering enhanced package, Satyajit Chavan of ‘Konkan Vinashkari Prakalp Virodhi Samiti’ said a section of the media was publishing reports in favour of the Government.

“We never held a press conference demanding increase in financial package,” he added. “We want to save Konkan.”

 

#India- State Throttling the voice, banning the thought of innocent people #draconianlaws #prisoners


draconianlaw

Jan 6, 2013, Deccan Herald 

 The rage of the ‘invisible masses,’ is a thread binding all democratic protests and people’s movements across the state. Be it in Konkan or Vidarbha or the deep dry jungles of Gadchiroli, the cries of ‘rights’ and ‘freedom’ has faded in majority of cases into the darkness of the shadows of the prison cells. Throttling the voice and banning the thought has turned these regions into police state, where in the name of law shackles are clamped on every dissenting voice.


In Konkan, since 2006, the undulating hills dotting Maharashtra coastline has been echoing and roiling with angry voices questioning the nuclear and open cast mining projects pock-marking the green ribbon stretching along the seashore.

The movement, despite running on peaceful strategy, has seen incidents of violence from the police side; in April 2011, police in order to quell a protesting mob, opened fire killing one person.

Last June, when villagers protested against Jaitapur nuclear power project, armed police clamped Section 144.

Vidarbha farmers’ fault?

The region everyday witnesses a funeral of a farmer committing suicide, deaths due to malnutrition and starvation in tribal areas.

The story is not new; in 2001, thousands of tribal women ‘Tendu’ workers were just hauled up in police vans and bundled off to prisons, charged with various draconian sections. Their fault: they were  demanding basic food security.

In December 2012, the government refused permission for staging any kind of demonstration to over a thousand widows of farmers, who took their lives to escape the sharp economic claws, under the pretext that it ‘is being spearheaded by Naxalites.’

Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti leader Kishore Tiwari says: “Raise your voice and you find yourself facing a non-bailable warrant. Since 2001 I have been charged with over 231 criminal cases…”

Gadchiroli’s eternal prisoners

It is the border tribal district and the news that filter out from this region focusses only on ‘violent clashes between the police and militant outfits'; the peaceful demonstrations of tribals asserting their democratic rights and ending up in prisons where sun rarely peeps in, never sees light.

On December 10, 2012, 50 tribal women languishing in Nagpur Central Prison for the past several years, under the charges of being “Naxal‘ sympathisers, went on a 11-day hunger strike demanding immediate opening up of the Gadchiroli Prison and an inquiry into ‘illegal re-arrests.’

Human rights lawyer Surendra Gadling said: “Using the 170-km stretch between Nagpur and Gadchiroli court as an excuse, the police deliberately delay the proceedings. What these women undertrials want is a speedy trial which is their Constitutional right.”

The hunger-strike once again brought to fore the brazen violation of human rights and Constitutional rights by the police and other para-military forces who clandestinely re-arrest political prisoners who have been acquitted or granted bail as soon as they emerge from the prison gate.

In 2007, human rights activist Arun Ferriera, was picked up along with one Arun Satya Reddy while he was distributing pamphlets to Dalits in Dikshabhoomi near Nagpur. In 2011, despite being cleared of all charges by a lower court, the police clandestinely whisked him from the exit door of the jail. In jail, he saw the re-arrest of tribal men and women in violation of laws and undertook a fast lasting 27 days, demanding an inquiry into ‘illegal re-arrests’.

Koyna oustees face displacement again, thanks to Balganga project


Moreshwarwadi (Maharashtra), May 21, 2012

Meena Menon, The Hindu

Krishna Ganpat More and his family in Moreshwarwadi. Photo: Meena Menon
Krishna Ganpat More and his family in Moreshwarwadi. Photo: Meena Menon

Now we have to move again, but where to go, asks a resident

Krishna Ganpat More came to Pen taluka in 1969 in search of a home after his village was submerged by the Koyna hydroelectric project in Satara district. Little did he know that a few decades later he would face the prospect of leaving this settlement in Moreshwarwadi, which will be submerged by the Balganga river project.

Moreshwarwadi is small settlement of 13 houses on a height and all the families were displaced by the Koyna dam. Most of the people earn a living in Mumbai but More, a former police patil and some other families live here. “When the Koyna dam was built in 1960, we didn’t want to move, they offered us some land in Pandharpur but it was not suitable. I had 12 acres of land and the government paid me Rs. 120 for only three acres, at Rs. 40 an acre. I came here since some of my relatives were around and eight of us bought land as shareholders,” says More. He sold his wife’s jewellery to buy new land here and eight of them own about 29 acres and 22 ghuntas.

Land acquisition notices came for the second time in January to More and the others stating that the government plans to acquire their land for the Balganga project.

The experience of Koyna has left all the families embittered. “We got nothing from the government and we lost everything,” says Radhabai More. “Now we have to move again. Where we are going to move,” she asks. The Koyna project-affected people bought land here but things were not easy for them. There was a conflict between the local Katkaris and Thakurs amid allegations of land grabbing and it was a major issue in those days, according to local activists. Some of the land had to be returned to the tribals after protests.

The prospect of looking for a new home is daunting for the 69-year-old More and others. “The government must give us land for land. I will only go to heaven from here otherwise,” he says. The villagers have filed objections again to the notices of the land acquisition. Of the 307 families settled in this region from Koyna, 13 families in Moreshwarwadi and 75 families in Dawdani village will be displaced, clarified activist Surekha Dalvi.

While these families face a second displacement, landless tribals in Karoti too are worried about their future. Saduram Waghmare from Karoti says the entire village will be submerged. “I grow vegetables on the river bank and sell them for a living. Otherwise we work for daily wages at brick kilns. Most of us are tenant farmers and 80 per cent of the Katkaris in the village are landless,” he says.

The government has no plans to give land for land and there is a rehabilitation plan aimed at providing people with houses. Sandeeep Patil of the Shramik Kranti Sanghatana from Gagode (budruk) village says the government has sent notices to acquire about 13 hectares of private land for rehabilitation purposes in the village. Gagode village, the birthplace of Vinoba Bhave, is a gramdan village and under the Maharashtra Gramdan Act, 1964, land cannot be acquired from a village which is a designated gramdan village like Gagode. There are no individual rights to land here and it is a community resource, he points out.

The Konkan Irrigation Development Corporation (KIDC), which is executing the Balganga project, one of the 68 dams in the Konkan region, is under fire for unjustified cost escalations and for not having a proper rehabilitation plan in place, apart from not securing legal permissions to build a dam. Defending the cost escalation in Balganga, which is now pegged above Rs. 1,000 crore, a senior KIDC official said the cost increased because of controlled blasting at the dam site as opposed to open blasting, which was objected to by local people. Crucially, the flood value or the discharge from the river in a worst case scenario or a one-in-100-year flood was less as per calculations, when the project was first proposed. After the final design was submitted by the State-owned Central Designs Organisation at Nashik, the flood value had doubled and from four gates in the dam, an extra two gates had to be added, plus other features, which hiked the cost, he says.

Himanshu Thakkar of the South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People (SANDRP) asks why the design was not properly done in the first phase. “The cost escalations are happening in so many dams around Mumbai and this looks like a scam. Most of the dams are being built by the same contractor and if these design calculations were done accurately in the first place, the project may have not been viable at the outset. Even mandatory clearances like in-principal approval from the Ministry of Environment and Forests have not been sought for some of these dams,” he pointed out.

While there is no transparency about the rehabilitation plan, the KIDC says 13 villages will be submerged by the Balganga project and the people will be resettled at seven places. Land acquisition for resettlement was under way at five places. The final award for the land was still pending, the official said. But he did not state what price would be paid per hectare to the farmers.

City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO), which is funding the dam, is yet to approve the cost increase from the initial Rs. 488 crore. However, the KIDC official clarified that the dam would not store water till the rehabilitation of villages was completed and so the proposed date of completion — 2014 could be altered accordingly.

Press Release-Externment Notice to Anti Nuke Activist


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Against the background of the call given by Janhit Seva Sangh for “Jail baro” andolan, two days before republic day the situation around jaitapur is heating up and unprecedented measures are being adopted by the government to crush the andolan. In this context, social activist and a renowned anti nuclear leader has been slapped with a notice for externment from Ratnagiri under sec 56(1) of Mumbai Police Act 1951. The police of Nate, district, Ratnagiri; citing two registered cases of mass agitation that are pending in the court, the DYSP of Lanja shri. Tushar Patil has by the notice (outgoing no 63/2012) ordered Vaishali Patil to appear before the sub-divisional officer of Ratnagiri. Adv. Baba Parulekar appeared before the sub divisional magistrate of Ratnagiri on behalf of Vaishali Patil.

For the last two years, against the background of Jaitapur agitations, the collector of Ratnagiri has time and again under sec 144 (4) of the cr. prod. Code prevented ex justice of Supreme Court, PB Sawant, Kolse Patil and Vaishali Patil from entering Ratnagiri district. This order was challenged by the petitioners under writ petition No 3339 of 14th Nov 2011. The Mumbai High Court in spite of having given an order against the government, the government taking recourse to the Mumbai Police Act of 1951 has initiated the fresh process of externing vaishali Patil from Ratnagiri. Jusice Mohit Shah and Justice Ms. Roshan Dalvi in their order of 14th Nov 2011, citing Rammanohar Lohia v Bihar government, Madhu limyae v subdivisional officer has upheld the fundamental right of movement and speech granted in the constitution and has held the order of the collector of Ratnagiri dist as illegal. In spite of this order the govt. and the police deliberately with a view to crush the ongoing non violent agitation against the Jaitapur nuclear project taken this step to harass and intimidate activists and leaders of the agitation.

‘The externment order that is essentially used against thieves, goondas, murders is being used against activists to muzzle free speech and movement and intimidate leaders of the agitation”.

President, Praveen Gavankar, Janhit Seva Samithi has condemned.

“The movement against the Jaitapur nuclear project will go on peacefully and non violently”

Said Ahmjad Borkar, Leader of fisherman.

Earlier the process of externment has already been initiated against the sarpanch of Madban Shri Bhikaji Waghmare, asst. sarpanch shri prashant Manjrekar, Suhas Gavankar, Shivprasad Gune, Nandkumar Raut, and Praveen Gavankar.

Those involved in disrupting the meetings of Konkan Vinashkari Prakalp Virodhi Samithi, MP Prakash karat; and those involved in Pelting stones during the meeting of MP D Raja, MP Tapan Sen –all supporters of Rane have been booked for minor offences. In its weekly meeting the Konkan Vinashkari Prakalp Virodhi Samith has condemned the partisan action of the Ratnagiri city police and have accused them of coming under political pressure.

you can contact Vaishali Patil at 9422696976