#India – Farms robbed of water, farmers livelihood


Thursday, May 30, 2013, 7:49 IST | Agency: DNA
Yogesh Pawar
High-powered committee on water reallocates 1983.43 million cubic metres of water from 51 irrigation projects to coal-fired power plants, finds a study conducted by non-profit organisation Prayas.
A high-powered committee on water seems more interested in diverting water from irrigation to highly water-intensive coal fired power plants. This, despite the stress that this reallocation places on drought-prone regions in the state.
This revelation has been made by an analytical report put out by non-profit organisation, Prayas, on the basis of the minutes of meetings that high-powered committees have held over a decade. Such committees consists of ministers and bureaucrats.
Drying up fields
Terming the committee’s decisions as ‘opaque and undemocratic’, the report states that it had reallocated 1983.43million cubic metres of water from 51 irrigation projects for non-irrigation purposes, thus reducing irrigation potential by 3.23lakh hectares.
Analysis of minutes of meetings shows that of the total water reallocated by the panel, 54% was allotted for domestic purpose while 46% was for industrial purpose. Besides demand for drinking water, industrial water demands are equally responsible for reduction of water for irrigation. This debunks the general belief that industry requires less water and water allocated to it shouldn’t cause much of an adverse impact.
Of the total water allocated for domestic use, 96.94% was routed to municipal corporations in cities like Mumbai, Pune, Nashik and Nagpur. Of the rest, 1.75% went to municipal councils with 0.88% to rural pockets and 0.42% diverted to other schemes like water supply to educational institutions. It is apparent that private companies, including power plants and special economic zones, used the committee’s regime most effectively in availing water reservations.
Of the total water reserved by the committee for industries, a maximum share of 64% is allocated to thermal power plants. Of the 15 power plants which demanded and got water reservation from the panel, 13 are privately owned.
Besides power plants, the panel allowed water to be reserved for Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (19%) and special economic zones (14%).
Dodging the law
The report states that the committee did not consider farmers’ interests and even sidetracked the state watchdog – Maharashtra Water Resources Regulatory Authority.
“…this would require adherence to law and the decisions would have to be open, transparent, systematic, and rational with consideration of implications of these decisions on local beneficiaries”, the report mentions.
The report states that involvement of the regulator would make public hearings mandatory, spurring exchanging of ideas on looking at alternative sources of water for industries.
The report notes that thermal power plants, which require cooling, were provided with water-based coolers instead of air-based coolers which would have help scrimp on water.
Here’s how the report explanains this anomaly. “It would not have allowed the functionaries in the committee to make arbitrary decision favouring certain interested parties…
Activists filed two petitions in the high court and the regulatory body, challenging the committee’s decisions to divert water from a couple of irrigation projects for non-irrigation purposes. However, the state government did not await the verdict.
“The illegal decisions were legalised… using a weapon of ordinance… As a result, farmers lost their right to challenge the illegal decisions forever…” says the report. “The water reallocation from irrigation projects to non-irrigation is grabbing of water resources for industries and big cities at the cost of livelihoods of farmers.”
Advantage politics
The report points out how the allocation policy has been captured by dominant political forces emerging from rapid urbanisation and industrialisation. “These forces are capturing the policy space and thereby the vital natural resources like water at the cost of life and livelihoods of the rural farming community. There is an urgent need to close the gaps in the policy framework and evolve strong regulatory mechanisms to create a counter-political force capable of protecting the interests of the disadvantaged sections of the society,” it recommends.

 

#India- Do you know who’s afraid of the new land bill ? Maharashtra Government


Stop forceful land acquisition for Delhi-Mumbai industrial corridor project, say farmers of Raigad

Author(s):
Akshay Deshmane
Issue Date:
2013-5-2

They want state to follow the proposed land acquisition Bill likely to be passed soon by Parliament

The Land Acquisition (Rehabilitation and Resettlement) Bill, 2011, which is close to being passed by Parliament after political parties arrived at a consensus on it last month, has found supporters among those fighting forceful displacement and land acquisition for industrial projects in Maharashtra. On the occasion of Maharashtra day on May 1, the Farmers’ Anti-corridor Struggle Action Committee, an outfit of peasants from 78 villages of Raigad district, submitted a memorandum to Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, demanding complete halt to ongoing land acquisition for the ambitious Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) project till the new law comes into force.

“The state government must immediately halt the current acquisition process and follow the Central government guidelines against forceful acquisition. The Bill concerning land acquisition and rehabilitation is still being discussed by Parliament; then why the hurry in acquiring land from farmers? Or is it a deliberate ploy to not let the provisions of the new Act be applicable to the ongoing acquisitions? ” the committee demanded to know in the memorandum.

Industrial corridor will occupy over 27,000 ha in Raigad

Three talukas from the Raigad district-Mangaon, Roha and Tala-stand to lose 67,500 acres (27, 316 hectares) of land to the Dighi Port Industrial Region, under which five industrial areas have been planned; they are Roha-Mangaon Industrial area (3,367 hectares), Palasgaon Industrial Area (1,173 hectares), Pansai Industrial Area (2,829 hectares), Vavedivali Industrial Area (1,255 hectares) and Nizampur Industrial Area (4,508 hectares). According to official data, nearly 18 per cent geographical area of Maharashtra will be impacted by DMIC. In absolute area terms, 56,760 sq km will be influenced by the multi-billion dollar project.

DMIC, a US $90 billion mega-infrastructure project, is to be implemented with financial and technical aid from the government of Japan. The DMIC region comprises parts of seven states (Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra) and two Union Territories (Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu) and is planned along the1,483-km-long western Dedicated Railway Freight Corridor. In Raigad alone, at least 67,500 acres (27, 316 hectares) in 78 villages are set to be acquired for the project by the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC). Forty-two of these 78 villages have already been served land acquisition notices.

After an open meeting of hundreds of farmers from Raigad district at the historic Azad Maidan, senior member of the farmers’ committee, Ulka Mahajan, detailed the reasons for their opposition. “The state government is making use of the controversial Maharashtra Industrial Development Act, 1961, hastily for DMIC land acquisition to avoid applying provisions of the new land acquisition and rehabilitation Act. There is more space for resisting forceful land acquisition in the new law. While consent of 70 per cent land owners is required in public-private-partnership projects, in private projects consent of 80 per cent land owners is obligatory,” explained Mahajan.

Since April 10, the farmers’ action committee has been protesting outside the office of the sub-divisional officer in Mangaon against land acquisition which began in mid-2012. “The protests will go on till May 6 as 42 of the 78 villages that have been served land acquisition notices will have finished their individual daily protests at the Mangaon office. Veteran peasants’ leader N D Patil will then take up the issue with the chief minister,” said Mahajan.

Despite repeated attempts, officials from the industries department remained unavailable for comment.

After 19 months of hectic negotiations between the government and opposition parties, the land bill is expected to be passed by the Parliament soon. On April 18, the government claimed that all major political parties have reached a “broad consensus” on the bill [1]. The industry was quick to express apprehensions about it. “This bill, as per our understanding, will further prolong the process of land acquisition for industry. It would take three to five years on an average to acquire land. Moreover, we understand that the bill still provides for consent from 80 per cent of the affected families which will delay the process and also act as a deterrent for the industry,” said A Didar Singh, secretary general, Federation of Indian Chambers for Commerce and Industry, in an official statement on the same day.


Source URL: http://www.downtoearth.org.in/content/stop-forceful-land-acquisition-delhi-mumbai-industrial-corridor-project-say-farmers-raigad

 

#India – Wrongful acquisition spurs Naxalism: SC


 

Nov 5,2012, DNA

The Supreme Court has slammed the Maharashtra government for denying compensation to a landowner whose plot it acquired in 1981, and it has taken strong objection to a related Bombay high court judgement, warning that such “pro-state” verdicts helped the spread of Naxalism in the country.

On Friday, the apex court scrapped the Bombay high court judgement of November last year which had found fault with the landowner Tukaram Kana Joshi for not filing a petition for compensation from the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC).
The SC directed the MIDC and the Maharashtra state government to pay compensation to Joshi at the prevailing market rate.

A two-judge bench of the Supreme Court observed that it was also because of such “pro-state” judgements that the country faced an increase in Naxalism in the industrial and mineral belts.

Justice SB Chauhan and justice Jagdish Singh Khehar said the attitude of some courts in matters of land acquisition had been pro-state till the Nandigram events when they realised that the people would not accept such “anti-poor” judgements.

The judges also ruled that matters relating to land compensation to farmers or landowners squarely fell within the “purview of human rights”.

Earlier, the court had examined the affidavit filed by the Maharashtra chief secretary, explaining the circumstances due to which Joshi was not paid compensation.

In its judgement, the high court had noted that in 1981, there was no legal requirement for issuing notice under section 4 of the land acquisition law and that it was only in 1984 that the amended law made it mandatory to pay compensation.

The HC had also pointed out that Joshi didn’t file any petition or application making a claim, but filed a law suit only in 2009.

“The petitioner (Joshi) is guilty of unexplained laches and therefore, in the extraordinary jurisdiction of this court, under article 226 of the Constitution, he cannot be granted any relief,” justice DK Deshmukh and justice Anoop V Mohta had ruled.
(‘Laches‘ is the legal term for an unreasonable delay in pursuing legal remedy.)

 

 

MUMBAI-Woman stabbed 20 times while people look on #WTFnews


, TNN | Aug 1, 2012

MUMBAI: A gym instructor stabbed a woman 20 times on Monday evening in the middle of a road in Andheri (East), notwithstanding the presence of scores of bystanders. The woman, a 24-year-old accountant, had refused to marry him, the police said.

Pradeep Patel (30) used a sharp weapon to repeatedly attack Deepti (name changed) in the back, hands, chest and abdomen, but onlookers stood frozen on the spot at the sight of the horror playing in front of them. “No one came forward to rescue her. Patel warned witnesses to keep away from him, threatening to kill them all. Some people ran to the nearest buildings when Patel started his orgy of attack. Many went inside their homes,” said senior inspector S L Hujband of the MIDC police.

The incident occurred between 5 and 5.15pm close to a school in Malpha Dongri, where Deepti is employed.

Around 4.30pm, Deepti signed off and went over to her aunt’s house, which is near the school. “Around 5pm, she left our house to go to Mahim, where she lives,” said a cousin in the police complaint. “Patel attacked her when she had hardly walked 100 metres away from our home. He must have been waiting there on the roadside. He accosted her and asked if she would marry him. When she refused, he became furious. Then he forced her to step aside and started stabbing her.”

Had her cousins not rushed to the spot, Deepti could have bled to death, the police said. She was taken to Cooper Hospital and from there to Nair Hospital, where she was operated upon. “Her condition is stable. She has been kept under observation. The abdominal injury was severe and any delay in admitting her to hospital could have cost her life,” said Hujband.

Patel fled the spot for a relative’s home in Borivli. After a nine-hour search, the police traced him there. He has been arrested and booked for attempt to murder and wrongful confinement.

Inspector Shobha Pise said Patel used to be a gym instructor but had taken to drugs and was unemployed. “He used to harass Deepti in the middle of the road every now and then. While stabbing her, he was raving and ranting like a mad man.”.

Bowing to local opposition, Maharashtra government cancels four SEZs including Mahindra and Mahindra’s #goodnews


 

Mahindra Group Logo

Mahindra Group Logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

30 JUL, 2012,, ET

 

MUMBAI: Bowing to opposition from the local communities, Maharashtra government today cancelled four proposed Special Economic Zones(SEZs).

 

The decision was taken at a meeting between Industries Minister Narayan Rane and board members of Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation here.

 

“We have cancelled four SEZs, which were facing strong opposition from the locals,” Rane told reporters later.

 

Mahindra and Mahindra SEZ was to come up on 3,000 thousand hectares in Mawal in Pune districtIndia Bulls SEZ was to come up on 1,936 hectares at Ranjankhar, Raigad district. Videocon Realty and Infrastructure SEZs were to come up at Gandheli, Aurangabad and at Pune‘s Wagholi, on areas of 2,763 and 1,000 hectares respectively.

 

“The locals, especially the farmers, were strongly against these SEZs. At Gandheli, police even had to lathicharge (to disperse the protests),” said Rane.

 

The senior Congress Minister also said that most of these lands were under irrigation, which was another reason. “We (MIDC) have adopted a policy wherein the land under irrigation is not acquired for the industrial purpose.

 

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