PRESS RELEASE- Koyna Dam Project Affected Peoples’ Indefinite Movement in Maharashtra #mustshare


Today [Thursday, February 6] is the third day of the state-wide indefinite
sit-in movement Of dam evictees and project-affected people going on in
seven districts of Maharashtra. It might spread more, to several more
districts. The movement is led by Shramik Mukti Dal. More than l lakh
people are involved in this movement. People are sitting day and night
without caring for the heat of the afternoon sun or the cold of the night.
Most of the people are sitting nearby the major and some minor dams of
Maharashtra.

Satara district, which has the maximum number of project-affected people
compared to any district of Maharashtra, 27,000 families, is mobilized
nearby the first major dam of post-independence Maharashtra, Koyna dam.
This produces the major chunk of hydro-electric power; if it is withdrawn
from the grid all industries in Maharashtra and the domestic supply would
stop and there would be a collapse of the national grid. Of around 10,000
families which were displaced around 1960, 1500 families remain to be
rehabilitated. This is the sacrificial effect of the so-called development
implemented by the Maharashtra government. A couple thousand
representatives, men and women, are doing a sit-in or Tiiyya andolan at
Koynanagar.

Another major dam where people are doing a Tiyya andolan is Warna dam which
is on the border of Sangli and Kolhapur districts. Around 500
representatives of the dam evictees and Tiger Project evictees are doing
the Tiyya andolan near the base of this dam in the Hutatma Smarak — the
memorial to the martyrs of 1942 of Mangur village in Sangli district.

People are also doing a Tiyya andolan near Gad Nadi dam in Ratnagiri
district, Teen Vira dam in Raigad district, and Tembhapuri dam in
Aurangabad district. Also, they are doing a Tiyya andolan at Azra tehsil
of Kolhapur district and at Pandharpur in Solapur district. Also in Dhamani
dam in Kolhapur district an andolan is People are determined that they will
not go home unless and until the government begins the implementation of
their policy-level demand, twice-sanctioned in the proceedings of the
meetings with Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan on 5 May 2011 and 15 May
2012, that (a) considering sisters as having equal rights in ancestral
property, they should be treated as independent PAPs (project-affected
persons) like brothers; (b) all the new settlements which have 500 or more
population should be given independent gram panchayats by a special GR for
PAPs; (c) starting free vocational training for sons and daughters of PAPs
so that they will get assured employment in industries by tying the program
with the various industrial houses; (d) below-poverty-line ration cards
will be given to all project affected families; (e) first priority will be
given in giving funds to start small-scale production for the women’s
self-help groups of the PAP families; (f) grazing lands (gairan) should be
allotted for the rehabilitation of PAPs where the land ceiling in the
benefited zones doesn’t yield sufficient land to be given to them; (g) a
special development program should be implemented for Tiger
Project-affected people, making them part of the development of the forest;
(h) increasing the house-building subsidy from Rs 10,000 per PAP to Rs
70,000 per PAP.

In addition, to this, (1) the government should accept the report given by
the government-appointed committee for improving the existing
rehabilitation act immediately. This committee has given this report 8
months ago. The president of Shramik Mukti Dal, Dr. Bharat Patankar, was a
member of this committee as a non-governmental person but the majority were
government officials. It will give more facilities for the benefit of PAPs
in Maharashtra. (2) Though the land district to the PAPs is called as
“land in the irrigated areas,” it is not given the benefit of irrigation
for years, at some places more than 50 years. Irrigation facilities should
be given immediiately or a livelihood allowance of a minimum of Rs 3000 per
month for making up the losses in a minimal way that PAPs have suffered
because of the difficulty of growing crops in non-irrigated land. (3) In
Raigad district where the water of Amba-khore project was to be given to
15,000 acres in the kharepat area, instead the water was diverted to
industries and being wasted for the last 35 years into the Arabian sea: now
because people’s movement has forced out various big power projects in the
area this water should be immediately given to the peoples’ land for
irrigation. Also, the land which was taken by the big industrial houses
from the farmers and not used for any development of industry for years
together should be given back to the farmers. The farmers have put forward
an alternative development plan for the area based on modern, renewable
energy-based technology; this should be accepted by the government instead
of implementation of the so-called “corridor businesses.” 15,000 acres of
land are forced to become saline and remain fallow for the last 25 years;
these should be again made cultivable in collaboration with the people and
Khar Land Development Board. (4) The Department of Rehabilitation and
Resettlement which is supposed to be distributing land to the PAPs has
itself obstructed the taking over of this land and distributing it. These
obstructions should be summarily removed.

Except for the letter of Krishna Khore Irrigation Minister Ramraje
Nimbalkar to the Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan for arranging a meeting
with Shramik Mukti Dal representing the movement, there is no response
whatsoever from the state government. It is the first time in the history
of Maharashtra that people have had to continuously struggle for two years
mainly for the implementation of already sanctioned demands. People say
that this government has become only a government giving slogans and
written sassurances but it is a non-working government in relation to
implementation of their own commitment. “This government is dead,” as far
as its implementation aspect is concerned. It is expected from the
discussion with the Chief Minister and deputy chief minister of Maharashtra
that they will respond to the movement and arrange a meeting and decide a
modus operandi for implementation of the policy decision. Now people are
not ready to become sacrificial goats in the ;yagna of political parties.

 

FOR MORE DETAILS CONTACT

) dr.prashant panhalkar — 9422032636
2) jagannath vibhute — 9423360174

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: PRESS RELEASE- Koyna Dam Project Affected Peoples’ Indefinite Movement in Maharashtra #mustshare « cognitionaman
  2. Trackback: Maharashtra Displaced families stage state-wide Dharna against Koyna Dam « kracktivist
  3. Trackback: #Maharashtra – Displaced and damned for a generation | kracktivist

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