What plagues Maharashtra’s irrigation sector ?


Wanted: rule of law

Author(s): Pradeep Purandare, Downtoearth
Issue Date: May 31, 2013

What plagues Maharashtra’s irrigation sector

Pradeep PurandarePradeep PurandareIt is simple, true and bitter. Maharashtra’s irrigation sector is going from bad to worse. First an irrigation scam and now a drought.

The state’s irrigation statistics (see box: ‘Status of canal irrigation in Maharashtra) speak volumes. Maharashtra consciously opted for large scale public sector irrigation projects in a very big way. However, it could not get the desired success. Bad planning and design, substandard construction, poor physical status of canals and distribution network, bandobast or jugad (improvisation) in the name of operation and management (O&M), criminal negligence in maintenance and repairs (M&R), only lip service to participatory irrigation management (PIM), poor recovery of water tariff, inequitable distribution and inefficient use of water, and virtual absence of the rule of law are some of the well known reasons for the dismal performance of Maharashtra’s irrigation sector. This article focuses only on rule of law because its operative details are generally not reported and discussed even if water conflicts of all types (see box: ‘Water conflicts‘) are increasing both in numbers and severity at all levels within the state. Drought has only further worsened the situation.

Status of canal irrigation in Maharashtra (2010-11):

  • Ultimate irrigation potential (surface water): 8.5 million ha
  • Created irrigation potential (state sector): 4.737 million ha
  • Actual irrigated area (canal irrigation/state sector): 1.841 million ha
  • Investment on completed state sector projects: Rs 48,500 crore
  • Balance cost of 749 ongoing state sector projects: Rs 75,500 cr

Processes matter

Maharashtra has enacted several irrigation Acts (see box: ‘Irrigation acts in force’) to provide for various aspects of canal irrigation like construction, O&M, M&R, PIM, water tariff, compensation and, most important of all, control of water theft and unauthorised irrigation. It is needless to emphasize that all these processes are of vital importance to achieve the objectives of successful irrigation. The non-implementation of irrigation Acts means non-implementation of those processes too. That’s what has actually happened in Maharashtra. Failure to scrupulously adhere to the inherent processes has led to ad hoc decisions. Complete anarchy is the end result. It is, in fact, the genesis of the irrigation scam. The scam, in turn, has significantly contributed to virtually inviting the drought. Inordinate delays in completing irrigation projects and cultivation of sugarcane in drought-hit tanker-fed areas perhaps explain the unfortunate phenomenon.

The parent Act

Maharashtra Irrigation Act of 1976 (MIA 76) is a parent Act because it provides for foundation, frame and structure of water management in the State. Irrigation Development Corporation Acts (IDC), Maharashtra Management of Irrigation Systems by Farmers Act (MMISF) and Maharashtra Water Resources Regulatory Authority (MWRRA) Act (See box: ‘Irrigation Acts in force’) take it for granted that MIA 76 is in force and refer to the same time and again. It is hence needless to say that the implementation of IDC, MMISF and MWRRA Acts heavily depends upon the implementation of MIA 76. Let us examine some details – first in theory and then in practice.

Water conflicts

  • Irrigation vs non-irrigation
  • Flow vs lift irrigation
  • Upstream vs downstream river basins / projects
  • Head enders vs tail enders
  • Seasonal crops vs perennial crops
  • Water resources department vs water users associations
  • Rural vs urban
  • Watershed works and small projects vs big projects

MIA 76, being a parent Act, amply provides for the following:

  1. Preparation of Rules (Section 114) to provide for the operative part of the Act and give details of day to day implementation of the Act.
  2. Issuance of River (and its tributaries) Notification (Sec 11) to bring river water under the legal jurisdiction of Water Resources Department (WRD).
  3. Issuance of Command Notification (Sec 3) to legally intimate the beneficiaries that Act and Rules of WRD shall be applicable in the notified command area.
  4. Issuance of Notification regarding appointment of canal officers (Sec 8) to specify their jurisdiction
  5. Allotment of Duties to canal officers (Section 10) and their empowerment through delegation of powers to them under Sec 110

A serious and in-depth review of the actual implementation of MIA76, however, would reveal the following failures which are inconsistent with the progressive image of Maharashtra:

  1. Rules of MIA76 have not been prepared in the past 37 years from the time of enactment of the law. The Old Rules, namely Bombay Canal Rules, 1934, and Central Provinces and Berar [CPand B] Rules are still being followed. These old rules are based on old Acts, namely Bombay Irrigation Act, 1879 and CP and B Act respectively. Old rules are, of course, not compatible with MIA76 as water management practices have naturally changed tremendously with time. The old Acts have been repealed by MIA76 way back in 1976. Not having the rules of MIA76 is the single most serious crime against water management in the state. It makes irrigation in Maharashtra vulnerable in many respects. An unprecedented legal crisis appears to be in the offing.
  2. Legal procedure regarding issuance of notifications with respect to rivers, commands, appointment of canal officers and delegation of powers is also reportedly not complete in many irrigation projects in the state. The magnitude of incompleteness can only be known if the Water Resources Department releases a white paper on the subject.
  3. The absence of rules and pending notifications has obviously taken its toll. In absence of rule of law, a “free for all” situation exists in the state. Bandobast or Jugad (improvisation) has superseded efficient and equitable water management. Conveyance losses have crossed generally accepted limits. Theft of water has become a rule in itself. Those who somehow get water seldom get it in time and in required quantity. Regular and timely canal maintenance is conspicuous by its absence. Arrears of water tariff are increasing. Diversion of water from irrigation to non-irrigation has increased. The situation is alarming. It is in fact explosive and could probably trigger the proverbial “third world war on issues related to water”.

 

Irrigation Acts in force

  • Maharashtra Irrigation Act, 1976 [MIA76]
  • Irrigation Development Corporation Acts [IDC Act-one each for 5 Irrigation Development Corporations enacted from 1996 to 1998 – total 5 numbers]
  • Maharashtra Management of Irrigation Systems by Farmers Act, 2005 [MMISF Act]
  • Maharashtra Water Resources Regulatory Authority Act,2005 [MWRRA Act]

PIM and water entitlement

With this background, can Maharashtra hope to implement MMISF Act and MWRRA Act, which provides for PIM, bulk water supply on volumetric basis and water entitlement? Is the state “legally” ready for such a basic change? If the parent Act itself is not implemented, it is only to be expected that all other Acts would also only remain on paper. Following facts substantiate the argument:

  1. Integrated State Water Plan [ISWP] was supposed to be ready within six months from the date of enactment of MWRRA Act. However it is not ready even after eight years. In the meantime, MWRR authority is taking far-reaching decisions which are supposed to be taken within the framework of the ISWP.
  2. The State Water Board (chairperson – chief secretary) and State Water Council (chairperson – chief minister) were constituted way back in 2005 through notifications in the official gazette as per MWRRA Act. But even after eight years, both the board and council have yet to officially begin their “historic” work. Not even a single meeting has been held so far.
  3. The proposed Lift Irrigation Water Users Association has not been formed as per the MMISF Act even after eight years.
  4. Non-profit Society for Promoting Participative Ecosystem Management (SOPPECOM) and Lokabhimukh Pani Dhoran Sangharsh Manch, a coalition of groups working for water rights in the state, have on several occasions pointed out that water users’ associations (WUA) mostly exists only on paper. They have demanded joint inspection of WUAs. There has been no response from the authorities.
  5. MWRRA is not functioning like an independent regulatory authority. In the context of drought, in general, and release of water for Jayakwadi project from upstream reservoirs, in particular, MWRRA – the so called first independent regulatory authority in India’s water sector—has been a silent spectator for all practical purposes.

Water governance

In view of above facts it is clear that there is hardly any water governance in Maharashtra’s irrigation sector. There is an urgent need to go back to basics. Things need to be streamlined and disciplined on war footing in the larger interests of the water sector. Equitable distribution, efficient use of water and resolution of water conflicts demand rule of law. Vested interests obviously do not want it. Will civil society act and act decisively and fast?

Pradeep Purandare was associate professor, irrigation management, at Water And Land Management Institute in Aurangabad till 2011

 

Medha Patkar exposes 70,000 crore Maharashtra Irrigation Scam #Ajitpawar #Nitingadkari #Video


TNN | Apr 19, 2013, 03.11 AM IST

Top netas deny Medha Patkar's bribery charges
Patkar released a December 2011 Income-Tax (I-T) assessment report, which said that firms paid unexplained “overheads” totalling nearly Rs 44 crore to facilitate building of the Ghodzari branch canal, which is a part of the controversial project.
MUMBAI: Social activist Medha Patkar of theNational Alliance of People’s Movement on Thursday alleged that a dam contractor bribed top NCP, BJP and Congress leaders as well as state irrigation department officials for the Gosikhurd national project in Vidarbha.Patkar released a December 2011 Income-Tax (I-T) assessment report, which said that firms paid unexplained “overheads” totalling nearly Rs 44 crore to facilitate building of the Ghodzari branch canal, which is a part of the controversial project.The I-T order for assessment year 2008-09 showed payments to ‘Dada, ‘AP’, ‘GAD’, ‘SD’ and ‘MG’. Patkar alleged that ‘Dada’ and ‘AP’ are deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar (then water resources minister), while the others are BJP leaders Nitin Gadkari and Gopinath Munde, and former Congress MLA Sunil Deshmukh, respectively.

The payments, which were also made to senior engineers, continued till February 2009. Dada and AP received the largest chunk, Rs 27.5 crore, Gad and SD got Rs 50 lakh each and MG received Rs 20 lakh, said the I-T order.

Pawar, Munde and Deshmukh have denied the allegations, while a BJP spokesperson denied Gadkari was involved.

Patkar’s allegations come in the wake of a series of exposes by TOI over the past year on a Rs 70,000 crore irrigation scam in Maharashtra. The I-T order was prepared by A S Marathe, deputy commissioner of I-T, central circle, Kolhapur, following a search operation at the residence of a technical director of Mahalaxmi Infraprojects Ltd (MIL) in September 2009. MIL (earlier Mahalakshmi Construction Company Ltd) is in a joint venture with M/s B T Patil and Sons Belgaum Construction company Ltd to build the Rs 287-crore Ghodzari branch canal. An appeal against the I-T order is pending before the appellate tribunal, Pune.

The I-T report said it had found evidence of “speed money payments” at the residence of Dhirendra Anant Bhat, MIL technical director. “Bundle No 1 containing 40 loose sheets has comprehensive evidences of speed money depicting the name of the project, amount, date of payment, name of payer, name of recipient, designation of bribe recipient, sharing of such unexplained expenditure between Mahalaxmi and its JV partner, M/s B T Patil & Sons Belgaum Construction Company etc,” the report said.

Both the joint-venture partners admitted that Rs 43.84 crore is the total unexplained expenditure related to the Ghodzari project and their 50% share is around Rs 21.91 crore. “The claim of the assessee company (Mahalaxmi) and its JV partner is that the unexplained payments mentioned in the documents seized from Shri Bhat are only projected payments and not payments actually made. Thus, the only dispute in respect of unexplained payments related to the Ghodzari project is year of taxation and nature of payments,” said the IT report. The report attached scanned copies of loose sheets found at Bhat’s house. They show payments to Dada and AP, SD, GAD and MG.

Pawar refuted the allegations. “She (Patkar) is a renowned activist. I am too small a person to comment in comparison to her,” he said sarcastically, but added, “There is no truth in the allegations. The government has set up an SIT to probe the financial irregularities in irrigation projects. Once the probe is over, one will come to know about the reality of the allegations and status of irrigation projects.” A source close to Pawar said he might take legal recourse if Patkar’s information is false.

Munde described the allegations as “baseless”. “I don’t know any contractor called Bhat. I have never met him,” said a statement issued by Munde. BJP spokesperson Madhav Bhandari, speaking on behalf of Gadkari and Munde, dismissed Patkar’s charges as “baseless and without truth”.

Deshmukh, the former minister of state (MoS) for water resources, said he did not hold the portfolio during the period Patkar was referring to. He said he held the portfolio from 2004 to 2008. “In any case none of the tenders are approved by the MoS, as the decisions were directly taken by the executive director of Vidarbha Irrigation Development Corporation and the cabinet minister,” he said.

Patkar has demanded an independent commission of inquiry chaired by a judge with integrity to probe the corruption charges. She said the state government-appointed Chitale committee had no power to delve deep enough into the irrigation scam.

 

How the other half dries


P. Sainath, The Hindu

  • MAN-MADE DROUGHT: In Maharashtra, even tigers do not have
    MAN-MADE DROUGHT: In Maharashtra, even tigers do not have “an attached forest reserve.” A hoarding on the Mumbai-Pune Highway. Photo: P. Sainath
  • MAN-MADE DROUGHT: In rural Maharashtra, you take water when you find it, wherever you find it. Photo: P. Sainath
    MAN-MADE DROUGHT: In rural Maharashtra, you take water when you find it, wherever you find it. Photo: P. Sainath
  • MAN-MADE DROUGHT: In rural Maharashtra, you take water when you find it, wherever you find it. Photo: P. Sainath
    MAN-MADE DROUGHT: In rural Maharashtra, you take water when you find it, wherever you find it. Photo: P. Sainath

How we use water can be as important as how much water we have. Who owns or controls that water will prove crucial

“Every apartment is a dream come true — the coronet that tops the king-sized lifestyle of true blue blood.” So run the ads. Yup. The blue bloods do it big. Each apartment has its own private swimming pool. These are, after all, “super-luxurious, supersized designer apartments.” The kind that “match the royal lifestyles.” There are also the villas the builders proudly announce as their “first gated community project.” And yes, each of them ranging from 9,000 to 22,000 square feet also offers its own private swimming pool. In yet other buildings coming up, the duplex penthouses will each have, you guessed it: private swimming pools.

These are just in Pune alone. All of them with other amenities needing still more water. A small but proud trend — with the promise of more to come. All of them in regions of a State lamenting their greatest drought in 40 years. In Maharashtra, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan’s view, one of our worst droughts ever. In a State where thousands of villages now depend on visits from water tankers. A daily visit if you’re lucky. Once or twice a week if you’re not. Yet it’s as if there is no connection between the swimming pools and the drying lakes. There’s very little discussion about it, for sure. As little as there was during two decades when the State rejoiced in the spread of dozens of “water parks” and water-theme entertainment parks. At one point, a score of them in the Greater Mumbai region alone.

Major diversions

Across the drought-hit regions of the State, despair grows. Over 7,000 villages are drought or scarcity-hit. Officially. Thousands of others are also in a bad way but are not classified as drought-hit. Of those declared as affected, some will get a bit of help. The government runs water tanker visits for them. Thousands of others make direct deals with private tankers. Close to half-a-million animals are dependent on cattle camps. Distress sales of cattle go on briskly, too. Water in many reservoirs is below 15 per cent. In some it is close to dead-storage levels. But far more than the searing drought of 1972, this is a man-made one.

There have been huge diversions of water in the last 15 years to industrial projects. And to private companies also in the lifestyle business. To cities from villages. Blood has been shed over such transfers. As in Maval in 2011 when police fired on angry farmers, killing three and wounding 19 others. They were protesting the government acquiring their land for a water pipeline from the Pavana dam to Pimpri Chinchwad. The scale of water loss this implied drew thousands more into the protests as well. The State’s response at the time was to book around 1,200 people for “attempted murder.” And for rioting as well.

Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar also did his best to lock in the control of industry over irrigation. He even tried to amend for the worse, the already regressive Maharashtra Water Resources Regulatory Authority Act. One new clause on his agenda would have barred any challenge to water-distribution policies.

The trends in diversion for lifestyle-entertainment though, are not new. In 2005, a huge “Fun & Food Village Water & Amusement Park” popped up in Nagpur (Rural) district. That, in a period of real water stress. The Fun “Village” had 18 kinds of water slides. It also had “India’s first snowdrome” along with an ice rink. It is not easy to maintain snow and ice in 47° heat. That took huge amounts of electricity in a region seeing 15-hour power cuts. It also guzzled massive amounts of water.

Lavasa and agriculture

This is also a State that added quite a few golf courses in the past decade or so. It now has 22, with more in the pipeline. Golf courses use huge amounts of water. This has often sparked conflicts with farmers in the past. Golf courses worldwide also use vast amounts of pesticide that can seep into and affect the water of others as well.

Besides, this is a State where we’ve seen angry protests over the water soaked up by private projects like Lavasa, “Independent India’s first hill city.” Sharad Pawar has drawn applause for ticking off his own party’s minister, Bhaskar Jadhav, for wasteful spending on a family wedding in a time of drought. But the Union Agriculture Minister has always been gung-ho about Lavasa. The project’s website noted quite a while ago that it has “permission to store” 0.87 TMC. That is — 24.6 billion litres of water.

No State has spent more money to create less irrigation. The Economic Survey 2011-12 found that land under irrigation had gone up by just 0.1 per cent of land in a whole decade. Which still means that less than 18 per cent of cropped area in the State is irrigated. That’s after spending tens of billions of rupees to produce many millionaires and very little irrigation. The major transfers of water to industry also come in a time of agricultural decline. (A 23 per cent fall in foodgrain in 2011-12 according to the Economic Survey.)

Even as foodcrop declines, fully two-thirds of Maharashtra’s sugarcane is grown in drought-prone or water scarce areas. At least one Collector had called for sugarcane crushing in his district to be suspended during this crisis. The sugar factories there together use up to 90 lakh litres a day. Given the power the sugar barons wield, the Collector is more likely to be suspended than the crushing.

The water needed for one acre of sugarcane can irrigate 10-12 acres of foodcrops like jowar. More than half of Maharashtra’s irrigation water goes to this crop which takes just six per cent of the cultivated area. Sugarcane requires “180 acre inches of water.” That is, 18 million litres per acre. Eighteen million litres can meet the domestic water needs of 3,000 rural households for a month (That’s based on a modest 40 litres a day per person). This in regions where the water table falls every year. That has not deterred Maharashtra from encouraging Rose cultivation — a very tiny trend but growing swiftly with the promise of more to come. Roses need even more water. They need “212 acre inches.” Which is — 21.2 million litres of water per acre. Indeed, rose cultivation, small as it is, has been a cause for some celebration in the State. Exports this year went up by some 15-25 per cent. The rupee’s slide, an extended winter — and “Valentine’s Day” — gifted rose growers this happy situation.

In the last 15 years, the only regulatory frameworks the State has put in place lead to greater privatisation of water. To quicker loss of community control over this natural resource. One that is rapidly depleting. At the same time, the unchecked exploitation of groundwater has made things a lot worse. Maharashtra worked hard to get to the crisis it now faces. Private swimming pools amidst oceans of dry despair. For the rich, there is never a scarcity. For so many of the rest, their hopes evaporate by the day.

sainath.p@thehindu.co.in

 

Immediate Release-Lavasa Case : Medha Patkar Demands Resignation of Sharad Pawar


 

 

Sharad Pawar should Follow Ajit Pawar and Must Resign

 

New Delhi, October 19 : Lavasa is in the air again. Corruption of one politician after another in nexus with the builders and corporations are getting exposed. The scandals which were already investigated and prosecution initiated also are to be re-viewed in the renewed context and taken to a conclusion. Illegalities and corruption in Adarsh Housing Society, Lavasa Hill City project, Hiranandani Garden, Shivalik Devlopers Golibar project, etc are some of those excavated by the National Alliance of People’s Movements after years of persistent struggle, digging out of documents, analyzing those, challenging them in ministries, Courts and mobilizing the people directly affected on the ground.

 

In case of Lavasa, politician of the stature of Sharad Pawar and his family members, Supriya Sule and her husband Sadashiv Sule have invested crores of rupees and erected more than 250 buildings in the Mosey River Valley without the legally mandatory clearance from the center in close collaboration with the Lavasa City Corporation. 26% of the shares of Lavasa Corporation Ltd, were owned by Supriya Sule and her husband when these illegalities and irregularities occurred. They can claim their innocence since they sold their shares, but the fact remains that they benefitted from this illegality and equally share responsibility when the corrupt and illegal land diversions took place. They used their political influence to benefit LCC and accord all clearances.

 

The deal involves large scale transfer of 3,300 acres of land, in violation of ceiling laws, EIA notification and other laws by government of Maharashtra to Lavassa Corporation. The land includes Krishna Valley Dev. Corporation (141 hectares), ceiling land supposed to be allotted to the landless (907 hectares), and an additional ceiling land acquired for Lavassa (273 hectares), illgeally acquired from adivasis and OBC communities, in complete violation of law. The claim made by Mr. Sharad Pawar that some of the land was under water, in response to the allegations by Mr. Y.P. Singh, the advocate in the case filed by the National Alliance of People’s Movements and other voluntary organizations, is half truth. He conceals the fact that diversion of the land once acquired for the reservoir and already submerged could not be done to a Corporation for reclamation or any other use. The land on the bank of the reservoir with water partially reserved for the Pune City, was also allotted to Lavasa Corporation. A number of cases where farmers lands were obtained by a number of dealers / agents, for meager amounts, and many other fictitious land deals took place, but ultimately mutated in favour of Lavasa.

 

In addition, illegally cutting off hills and rocks, building river bunds in the back waters exhibiting a political expediency and the interference lead to gross violations of lawm which was ultimately proved and accepted by MoEFNone else, but Mr. Sharad Pawar the Union Agricultural Minister, then and now, as well as Late Sri Vilasrao Deshmukh, former chief Minister of Maharashtra, were responsible for by passing the objections raised by certain middle level officials as the documents indicate. Mr Pawar has often termed this as his ‘dream project’ and which has also been hailed by many as the way to build private cities and hill stations. A town built violating all the norms, is that the way to build future cities ?

 

A People’s Commission of enquiry into the Lavasa scandal was appointed by NAPM, with Senior Advocate Sri. Y.P. Singh, Sri. Arvind Kejriwal, Advocate N.D. Suryavanshi, and Sri S.M. Mushrif (Telgi Scam Fame – Former IG of Mumbai) as members. NAPM unearthed the documents and also collected the Primary data; however, following the report brought out by the Commission, NAPM took up the baton and filed a case in the Mumbai High Court with Sri. Y.P. Singh as its advocate and questioned the clearance granted to Lavasa by the State authorities rather than Union Ministry of Environment and Forests, as required under the Environmental guidelines.

 

It was a result of various orders of the Mumbai High Court that the MOEF had to investigate into the environmental sanctions and actions at Lavassa and finally order a stay on the project. As also, give a hearing to the NAPM team and the Lavasa representatives at the Ministry on various environmental aspects. What followed was the complete stay on Lavasa by the Ministry. The High Court put a stamp on the same through more than one order in 2010 itself. However it was after Sri. Sharad Pawar met Smt. Sonia Gandhi that the MoEF gave a conditional clearance to Lavasa not for any further area to be covered but only 2000 hectares i.e. 5000 acres out of the total initial plan of 25,000 acres in 20 villages.

 

In an eco-sensitive zone of western ghats recently studied by Madhav Gadgil, recommending, no ecologically destructive activities, the Lavasa tourism project in the name of a Hill City, is therefore, not only misappropriation of crores of rupees worth land but also irreversible damage to the ecosystem of the Mose River Valley in Western Ghats.

 

Mr. Y.P.Singh who pleaded the Lavasa case in the High Court on behalf of NAPM and other environmental NGOs has rightly pointed out that Lavasa is of the Major scams, which any anti-corruption campaign should take up demanding resignation from the Union Agricultural Minister Sharad Pawar. We also support his position that Criminal cases need to be filed against all those responsible including the politicians. However, it is not NAPM’s intention to blame anyone for not raising this issue as the matter is before the High Court. The Maharashtra Govt. has taken some action such as filing a criminal case against the 15 office bearers of Lavasa, but it has failed to act against the politicians including Mr. Ajit Pawar who is already implicated in the irrigation scam recently exposed.

 

What is most condemnable is that the Lavasa Corporation has been advertising its real estate properties to be sold out and pooh-poohing its environmental protective measures and whole of its plan as being legal which in fact is in contempt of the High Court Orders and exhibits non-compliance of conditions laid down by MoEF which too is subject to the High Courts Permission to the Project. NAPM once again asserts that the State Govt. of Maharashtra, its department of Environment as well as Revenue and the Central Ministry of Environment and Forests must immediately take cognizance of the same and compel Lavasa to Suspend its work, Stop harassment of the adivasis and other farmers, and investigate the fraudulent land transfers and return the land to the original lawful owners and punish all those guilty of Squandering crores of rupees from the state exchequer as well as invaluable public property.

 

Medha Patkar, Suniti S.R( 020- 24251404), Vishwambhar Chaudhary, Prasad Bagve, Dnyaneshwar Shedge.

 

Brief Chronology of the NAPM’s agitation and Actions against Lavasa Hill City Project

 

2006 : Villagers from Mugav, Vasave, Bhoini approach Suniti S R, NAPM National Convener based in Pune and seek their help in fighting illegal transfer and acquisition of their land.

 

March 2007 : NAPM takes a yatra in the region covering the SEZs around Pune including Mahindra Karla SEZ (now scrapped), Tata dams affected areas and also holds a big rally in Basave, Medha Patkar, NAPM National Convener, also participates in that. ON the same day a dharna is also held infront of the Pune Collectorate demanding action against the illegal land transfer.

 

October 15 – 21 : NAPM holds massive dharna of all the project affected people in Azad Maidan, Mumbai. Government promises action within a month on various demands of the movement. Unsatisfied by the response NAPM announces establishment of aPeople’s Commission of Enquiry with Arvind Kejariwal, Y P Singh, SM Mushrif and Nirmalkumar Suryavanshi.

 

2009 : Project affected people of the Lavasa Hill City form Mose Khore Bachao Jan Andolan which is affiliated to National Alliance of People’s Movements.

 

April 20, 2009 : Commission submits its interim report to NAPM, which send it to the Maharashtra Government and to the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Central Government citing various violations on environmental front including EIA violations, illegal transfer of adivasi land, encroachment of government land etc.

 

September 1, 2010 : Deputation to the Narayan Rane, who again promises action against the alleged violations as brought out in the commission report and repeats the same on September 3 in Delhi. However, he changes his position on September 15 and says that the Lavasa project can be regualirsed inspite of the violations.

 

September 2010 : NAPM sends a legal notice through Advocate Y P Singh to the Maharshtra government, Central MoEF and Lavasa City Corporation (LCC)

 

October 15, 2010 : NAPM files a PIL in Mumbai High Court, case no. 90/2010

 

November 21-23, 2010 : NAPM along with others hold a demonstration in Delhi on the issue of forcible land acquisitions, displacement and repeal of the land acquisition act and meets Jairam Ramesh, Minister MoEF.

 

November 23, 2010 : MoEF orders show cause notice to the Lavasa Hill City Project citing various environmental violations.

 

December 9, 10, 14, 2010 : MoEF invites representation from LCC and NAPM on the various alleged violations.

 

January 5 – 7, 2011 : An MoEF Expert Committee makes a visit to the project cite. NAPM also makes a presentation to the team.

 

January 17, 2011 : MoEF in its final order accepts various environmental violations under EIA 1994, 2004 and 2006 and orders stay on any further construction and orders Maharashtra government to take appropriate action. LCC challenges it in the Mumbai High Court.

 

February 2011 : Conditional Clearance is given by the MoEF but LCC doesn’t accept it and asks for a out of court settlement.

 

March 30, 2011 : Learned Judge of the Court Ranjana Desai says if LCC wants they can go for out of court settlement bur refuses to lift the stay order on construction.

 

November 9, 2011 : Final clearance by MoEF is given after Mr. Pawar brings political pressure from Centre, by then Smt Jayanti Natarajan has taken over from Mr. Jairam Ramesh. NAPM challenges it in the Mumbai Court on which the hearing is still going on.

 

 

 

===============================================

National Alliance of People’s Movements
National Office: Room No. 29-30, 1st floor, ‘A’ Wing, Haji Habib Bldg, Naigaon Cross Road, Dadar (E), Mumbai – 400 014;
Ph: 022-24150529

6/6, Jangpura B, Mathura Road, New Delhi 110014
Phone : 011 26241167 / 24354737 Mobile : 09818905316
Web : www.napm-india.org

Twitter : @napmindia

 

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