NAPM- No land should be forcibly acquired for Private and PPP Projects


 

English: Medha Patkar in Sasthamkotta

English: Medha Patkar in Sasthamkotta (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

NAPM welcomes the decision to cancel 4 SEZs

 

 

No land should be forcibly acquired for Private and PPP Projects

 

 

Mumbai, August 1: The decision of the Maharashtra Government to cancel 4 SEZ projects which were proved to be illegal & unjust, on one ground or other, brings a hope to the people’s struggles for justice & against land grabbing. These projects were stalled by the common people, farmers to fishworkers, and women as well as youngsters who were at the forefront of the struggle.

 

 

 

The issues were clear & justifiable. Land to be acquired for private corporates is an illegitimate and unconstitutional act. When the profit-motives are clear in these projects, earning crores of rupees, out of land & other sources of livelihood, these resources are received with the State facilitating them. It’s this role of the State which is bullying & ousting our rural folk that was objected by the natural resource based communities, asserting their right to approve or disapprove the project which the State government has ultimately admitted.

 

 

 

The non-violent struggles are raising basic questions of inequity which is a clear outcome of SEZ Act & similar moves promoting corporatisation. We question and oppose industries which are land & water-intensive, capital intensive but not labour intensive and their impacts on ecologies, neither mitigated nor compensated. It is unfortunate the more sustainable & employment generating, local resource-based industries proposed by the movements as alternative options are negated by the governments. People are certainly not for the industrialisation at the cost of agricultural, since food security and livelihood is certainly our first priority. The whole model of SEZ with subsidised land, water, electricity, outside the jurisdiction of the gram sabhas and panchayats, tax holidays and exemptions is a blot on democracy and sovereignty of both, people & the State.

 

 

 

It’s obvious that all tactics & manoeuvring efforts by the Corporates failed in this regard & the State level ministers couldn’t carry out their initial agenda of joining hands with Corporates earning out of these projects. It’s, however, an ultimate victory of the firm view, clear perspective & perseverent strategy, along with an all pervasive analysis of the fraud that SEZ Act & projects are. Maharashtra cabinet too deserves a pat for this pro-people decision. Even though this is later, but better late than never. They should, without any delay must remove restrictions & reservations put up, on the titles of the landholders. If this cancellation is to bring in another project like Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor at the cost of farms & farmers, that will also face the same fate, we warn. We continue to fight the battle for cancellation of the undemocratic & unconstitutional SEZ Act, 2005.

 

 

 

We would also like to mention that the proposed amendments being brought out by the UPA government to the SEZ Act is not going to alter our opposition to the Act since, they are only aimed at facilitating land grab. Land Acquisition, Resettlement and Rehabilitation Act is also going to facilitate the land grab for private corporations and we oppose this. People’s Movements will thwart every attempt at subverting the laws of the country and handing over the precious natural resources to the predatory corporations. It’s time the governments across the country listened to the voices of dissent and worked in favour of the majority of the population.

 

 

 

Suhas Kolhekar, Prasad Bagwe, Suniti S. R., Medha Patkar

 

 

 

For details contact : 9423571784 / 9818905316

 

 

 

Urgent Appeal : Condemn Continued Detention in Police Custody even after Granting Bail


English: Medha Patkar in Sasthamkotta

English: Medha Patkar in Sasthamkotta (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Condemn Continued Detention in Police Custody even after Granting Bail of Residents of Sion Koliwada since 31st May

Write to Chief Minister Demand Immediate Release and Justice for the Fisherfolk and Original Dwellers of the Land

Mumbai, June 9th 2012: On May 31st, 25 (24 women and one man) residents of Sion Koliwada including activists Jameel Bhai and Madhuri Shivkar of Ghar Bachao and Ghar Banao Andolan were arrested while resisting the illegal demolition of their homes by the BMC in collusion with Builders. As we have reported in past these demolitions are illegal and fraught with fraud in the name of the redevelopment. The arrests and illegality have been reported widely in the mainstream dailies but even then the threat of demolitions continues and the Police has helped proactively and tried to break the morales of the movement. These dwellings are of the original inhabitants of Mumbai, Koliwada – fishing communities living in these houses for nearly seven decades now. See the story in the Hindu http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article3506205.ece

Yesterday, those in jail were granted bail in the afternoon itself but then a senior advocate on behalf of th Builder in collusion with the police intervened and then demanded extsnion of their police custody. They interevened and delayed the proceeedings. Finally, the activists were granted bail after the dharna by the Basti Residents outside the court. However, by then police officials made sure that it is too late for the bail orders to reach to the jail. It is extremely unfortunate and condemnable. It further exposes and reconfirms the nexus between the BMC, Builder and the police.

It is shocking to note that the police has not yet registered cases filed by the people over the past few days as FIRs, ever since the eviction drive began. Moreover, despite the people pointing out specifically as to how certain police officials / personnel are siding with the builders and have demanded suspension of such officers, no action has been taken in this regard. The only ‘assurance’ that the police has given so far is to protect the municipal officials who may face any ‘harm’, during the demolition process. We express our deep disdain towards this approach of the State and seek to challenge the illegal arrests and detentions being made by the police for questioning the unlawful demolitions.

Please do condemn the atrocities against the original inhabitants of Mumbai.

Do Fax your letters ofprotest to the Chief Minister and Home Minister, demanding them to:

  • Immediately release arrested activists unconditionally and stop harassing the residents of the Si Koliwada

  • Halt demolitions in the basti of Sio Koliwada in the name of slum redevelopment.

  • Suspend the police officials, especially male police, who have used unjust force against the people and have abused the women and men in the name of ‘protesting the BMC officials’.

  • Lodge FIRs on the basis of complaints filed at various levels by Medha Patkar and others and initiate action against the erring officials and the builder lobby.

Shri Prithviraj Chavan, Chief Minister

Fax: +91-22-22029214

E-mail: chiefminister@maharashtra.gov.in

Shri R.R. Patil, Home Minister

Fax: 91 22 22027174 / 22 22029742

E-mail: Min_Home@maharashtra.gov.in

For details and update call: Madhuri Variyath 0982061917 / Madhuresh 9818905316

National Alliance of People’s Movements

 

National Office : 29-30, A Wing, First Floor, Haji Habib Building, Naigaon Cross Road Dadar (E), Mumbai – 400 014. Phone – 022 2415 0529 | 9969363065;

 

Delhi Office : 6/6 Jangpura B, New Delhi – 110 014 . Phone : 011 2437 4535 | 9818905316

email : napmindia@gmail.com | Web : www.napm-india.org

 

Immediate Release-Medha Patkar and Seven Others Arrested While Opposing Evictions


English: Medha Patkar in Sasthamkotta

English: Medha Patkar in Sasthamkotta (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Women and Children Beaten and Harassed by Mumbai Police Force

Demolitions Continue in Sion Koliwada and Ambujwadi and so does Resistance

Mumbai, May 29 : In a brazen violation of the traditional rights of
the fisherfolks in Sion Koliwada Mumbai police and BMC has started
demolishing homes of the people since morning today. Amid heavy police
presence they started demolishing the homes occupied by the Koli
community. There has been court cases going against the redevelopment
plan which is fraught with corruption and irregularities. False
consent has been shown by the community, signatures have been forged
of the people, who are not even alive and other such irregularities
abound in the project. Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan have been
opposing the plans for evictions and demolitions. The development
project is being implement by builder Sudhakar Reddy, who is a
prominent devotee of Baba Ramdev and are accused of colluding in the
illegality along with BMC.

In morning when the demolition squads arrived accompanied by a large
police force then residents came out in huge numbers led by Medha
Patkar and stood in front of the JCBs and Bulldozers. Police beat up
and harassed those resisting demolitions. Male police was involved in
beating and molesting women protesters too. As we write this the
demolitions continue and so does the resistance from people.
Meanwhile, Medha Patkar and seven others have been arrested by the
Mumbai police on charges of obstructing public officials.

At this time demolitions are also being fiercely resisted by people in
Ambujwadi, Malad where many homes of were demolished earlier as well.

Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan – NAPM have been leading the struggle
for a long time now in Mumbai and more specifically in these areas. We
are hopeful that the people’s struggle will resist fiercely the land
grab by the builders in connivance with the state machinery. We will
expose the irregularities as we have done in the case of Adarsh
Housing Society, Hiranandani Gardens, Golibar SRA by Shivalik Builders
and others.

We condemn the arrests of the activists of the GBGB-NAPM and assault
on the people by the police force who have been resisting peacefully
the demolitions and striving to save their habitat and home.

Background :

Koliwada, indigenous fisherfolk Community have been living in the area
from a long time on this patch of the land. In 1939 Britishers
constructed NSP sheds for their own security purposes and they were
asked to move to this. These NSP Sheds then were taken over by the
Municipal Corporation after Independence. Even though these fisher
people have lived on the land for more than a century they have been
denied their “right to land”, due to the policies of the Britishers as
well as BMC. BMC now in the name of development is evicting them and
giving away the prime property to the Builders.

For details and update call : Madhuri Shivkar             09892143242       / Madhuri
Variyath             09820619174

Immediate Release- Police atrocities on Farmers on Rise in M.P


PRESS STATEMENT

  • Police Atrocities on the Farmers and Nature Based Communities on the Rise in Madhya Pradesh

  • One Killed in Police Firing in Raisen; and 53 Arrested in Anuppur while protesting Land Acquisition

New Delhi, May 8th : Farmers and those dependent on the land and other natural resources are constantly at the receiving end of the police violence these days. Land conflicts are the order of the day and it seems they are here to stay given the corporates hunger for the land, water and forests for commercial exploitation and profit. We strongly oppose and condemn any such forceful acquisition of these scarce resources from people by the government and corporations. NAPM has demanded and continues to struggle for the repeal of the Land Acquisition Act and enactment of a national Development Planning Act. The proposed Bill which is now with the Parliamentary Standing Committee doesn’t address all the concerns raised by us, hope the Committee will take note of the suggestions given by us. India as a nation can only have a healthy growth and development if we look after the interests of the farmers, peasants, landless workers, dalits, divasis and those living on the margins of the society.

Police Firing in Raisen

We strongly condemn the death of Harisingh, 35-year-old former sarpanch, yesterday while a group of farmers blocked traffic in Raisen protesting the suicide by another farmer a day before and shortage of gunny bags. Bhagwan Singh Rajput, a farmer who was not able to sell his wheat for past several days, committed suicide in Barni Jagir village of Raisen on Sunday. It is ironic that while the farmers continue to die the state and central governments rather than providing relief and taking action are blaming each other. Farmers have been agitating since April 16th on this issue but finally it is the death of farmers which has nudged the governments to act. It is extremely unfortunate that the dead body of Mr. Harisingh was not handed over to the relatives after post mortem and police in their presence burnt it on their own. The situation is tense in the villages since police is making arrests and has imposed curfew in the region.

Police Action in Jaithari, Anuppur

In another instance on May 5th, farmers protesting against the forceful land acquisition and demanding higher compensation and jobs for the land acquired for the 1200 MW Moser Baer Thermal Power Plant in Jaithari Tehsil were lathi charged and arrested. Nearly 27 people have received serious injuries and many more are injured. Farmers here have been agitating against the land acquisition for a long time under the banner of Bhartiya Kisan Union. The land was acquired from the farmers at the rate of Rs. 65,000 per acre, whereas, the farmers have been demanding a much higher compensation rate. There have been ongoing negotiations but the company has failed to keep the agreement. Jagdish Singh, Rampal Singh and 16 more have been slapped with serious charges under Section 307 and others, while more than 150 people have been arrested.

Mose Baer is currently developing the first phase of 1200 MW (2X600 MW) for which it has acquired 996 acres of land including 93.6 acre of forest land. In the second phase they intend to add 1320 MW additional capacity. It needs to be noted that Anuppur district has a high tribal population (36.4%) and as per the clearance given they need to seek forest clearance under EPA, settle the rights if any under FRA. The Environmental Clearance was also challenged in the High Court citing irregularities and non-compliance with the PESA provisions since the land is in 5thSchedule. Anuppur is a water stress region but even then a thermal power plant of this magnitude has been sanctioned. The EIA report mentions that the 290 families will be displaced by the project but the status of Resettlement and Rehabilitation is also not known till date.

We believe there is a need to do a thorough review of the project, resettlement and rehabilitation, settlement of rights of the adivasis, if any, and pay adequate compensation to the farmers and others who have lost their livelihood due to the project.

Even as we denounce the heavy handedness and the police action against protesters we demand action and a judicial enquiry in both the instances and adequate compensation to the victims and stop harassing the farmers and unconditionally release all those in jail. It is unfortunate that while MP Government claims to be bringing in prosperity for all but the farmers and nature based communities continue to suffer due to large number of thermal power plants coming in Chhindwara, Singrauli, Jhansi and the dams on the Narmada and other rivers. It is high time that Chief Minster, Shivraj Singh Chauhan listened to the people and not sacrificed their lives for the needs of ‘development’ of the other regions. The attack on farmers and commons, and pursuit of neo-liberal policies will only severely impact the food security of the nation and also is a worrying sign for the shrinking democratic spaces for those protesting these.

 

Medha Patkar, Dr. Sunilam, Prafulla Samantara, Dr. Sandeep Pandey, Gautam Bandopadhyay, Anand Mazgaonkar, Bhupendera Singh Rawat, Rajendra Ravi, Vimal Bhai, Madhuresh Kumar

NAPM – National Alliance of People’s Movements
Tel: 91 11 2437 4535
napmindia@gmail.com | http://www.napm-india.org/

“How can you build palaces on land allotted for affordable housing” – Justice Dattu


PRESS RELEASE New Delhi, March 30

Hiranadani’s Special Leave Petition Dismissed by the Supreme Court upholding HC judgement.

 

“How can you build palaces on land allotted for affordable housing” – Justice Dattu

 

Today the Supreme Court Bench consisting of Justice H.L Dattu and Justice Chandramauli Kr. Prasad dismissed the SLPs filed by Niranjan Hiranandani of Hiranandani Gardens against the order passed by the Bombay High Court in a bunch of a Writ Petitions including one filed by Medha Patkar for National Alliance of People’s Movement & Others in 2008. While dismissing the Special Leave Petitions, the Court observed that the High Court is fully justified in holding that the development in ‘Pawai Area Development Scheme’ on 230 acres of land was meant for affordable houses i.e. for constructing tenements of 400 Sq. Ft and 800 Sq Ft. as per the Tripartite Agreement in which the State Government and MMRDA were parties alongwith the original landholders. The Power of Attorney Holder for the original land holders i.e. M/s Hiranandani violated with impunity the very public purpose behind the development scheme, on 230 acres of land which was allotted at a pittance i.e price of Re 1 per hectare (40 paisa per acre).

 

Today the Supreme Court, while dismissing the Petitions, observed that instead of constructing affordable houses, palatial buildings have been constructed which are meant only for those who possess ‘Bentley’ and ‘Ferrari’, when in Mumbai there is not a square inch of land and poor people’s hutments are seen on the road. How can the property which is acquired and leased out for a specific public purpose of ‘affordable housing’ by the authorities can be given to the father, mother and relatives leading to amalgamation, which is a complete eye wash. “What is happening in this Country?”, the Court remarked with anguish.

 

Have you constructed even one tenement as per the conditions in the Tripartite Agreement? Justice Chandramauli Kr Prasad quipped. The Court also observed that the High Court has remarked about collusion of the officials of the State as well as MMRDA with the developer and therefore, at this juncture when the High Court is seized of the matter, they will not interfere with the order passed by the High Court. The Court hearing Adv. Mukul Rohatgi and Gopal Subramaniam who vehemently argued in support of Hiranandani’s, dismissed the Special Leave Petitions. Shri Shekhar Naphade, Senior Advocate appearing for MMRDA said that his conscience does not allow him to keep quiet and that he would like to state in the Court that the officials of MMRDA were in clear collusion with the developers and that the entire development is in violation of Tripartite agreement. Adv Sanjay Parikh appeared for the Petitioner, Medha Patkar and Adv Ashish Mehta assisted him.

The Backdrop:

Land originally belonging to the indigenous people in Mumbai, was purchased by Verma, Sharma and others. Since the large chunk of this land in village Powai and Tirandaz was of a scale violating the Urban Land Ceiling Act then, it was acquired by the Bombay Metropoltan regional Development Authority( BMRDA) at a throwaway rate of 40p/ acre. Based on an official GR of 1986, exempting a developer from ceiling limit under ULCR Act in a scheme, but strictly for affordable housing. The tripartite agreement stipulated building of houses for low income group and middle class people, 50% with 40 sq mt (400 sq ft) area and rest 505 with 80 sq mt(800 sq ft). it is equivalent to 15% of FSI were to be handed over to State Government and other 15% of FSI of houses to be offered to Central Government agencies. A full fledged infrastructure with water supply, drainage etc and road was to be builds as well as open spaces were to be reserved and handed over to MCGM. However Hiranandanis built luxurious flats worth crores each, shopping malls, commercial complexes, business centre’s etc but not one affordable housing tenements. The cases were filed in Mumbai HC by some local residents and by NAPM through Medha Patkar claiming total violation of the agreement and breach of all rules and preconditions. The MMRDA too investigated the matter issuing notices it Hiranandanis brought out of report in 2008 recommending fine of worth Rs 2,000 crores and resumption of lands with MMRDA. However, the State got resorted to arbitration which arbitrarily reduces the fine to a pittance of 3 crores. This was questioned in the High Court and the High Court vindicated the Petitioner’s challenge. The High Court directed that the MMRDA , Petitioner and developer should sit together and file a report with details of property constructed and buildings, infrastructure open space etc. the High Court has directed the MMRDA to submit Report on April 12, 2012

Immediate Release-Jan Sansad Demands the end of Corporate Raj


Budget was UPA’s declaration of War on Aam Aadmi and Aurat

Jan Sansad Demands End of Company Raj & Corporate Plunder of  Jal Jangal & Jameen

Thousands to March from Shaheed park to Sansad Marg and  handover Resolutions to Political Parties Representatives & Civil Society Members

22 March 2012, New Delhi: The National Jan Sansad concluded its three days with a strong demand for a people’s oriented progressive ‘Budget’ that will serve as an instrument of Social Change and promote sustainable, just and equitable growth. The Jan Sansad condemned strongly the budget, of about 15 lakh crores, proposed by the Indian Parliament which will only further the interest of corporations and the wealthy urban class. The Jan Sansad organised by the National Alliance of People’s Movements in Rajendra Bhawan in New Delhi has brought together over 350 representatives from 20 different states of India to debate key issues of people’s concerns that rarely find mention in the Indian Parliament.

Several crucial issues such as decentralized planning and increased role for Gram Sabhas in policy planning that would contribute to a comprehensive budget were raised by the Sansad. Atleast 40% of the budget should be allocated to the Gram Sabhas for spending at the local level. Making the connection between corruption and weak economy, Prafulla Samantra of NAPM, Orissa, remarked that the dialogue on corruption is incomplete unless the plunder of natural resources such as land, water, air and minerals is taken into account. Communities demanded that natural resources not be allocated for profit-making businesses without consent of Gram Sabhas. The budget should ensure equitable access to both economic and natural resources.

The previous budgets reveal that while subsidies provided to the corporations amount to over 5 lakh crores, those allocated to the poorer agricultural classes are around one lakh crore. The Saansads argued that restructuring of the Indian tax structure, for instance by imposing estate, wealth tax, gift tax, inheritance tax, will generate adequate revenue which can increase spending on rural social infrastructure. “It is not sufficient that the budget is brought to public forums in the month of January every year. And even this is only an eyewash if none of the issues raised by organisations, trade unions are reflected in the final budget”, claimed Prof Arun Kumar, Economist, JNU.

For equitable growth, the budget needs to have adequate and specific allocations for women, dalits, muslims and other minority communities. Speaking against the privatization of the health and education sectors, the Sansad also advocated for a 6% budgetary allocation. Dr. Meera Shiva spoke on the dangers of privatization of the health sector where multinational companies are into all sectors of health including services, insurance, diagnosis, and education. Their control over the patents, further facilitated by free trade agreements and WTO is denying access to millions of people across the world. The Union Budget has to stop promoting these agreements and must immediately withdraw from undemocratic processes like WTO and other bilateral trade agreements.

The days’s panelists included Medha Patkar, K.B.Saxena, Dr Satyajit Singh, Amitabh Behar, Prof Arun Kumar, Meera Shiva, Kamal Nayan Kabra, Madhu Baduri, Sumit Chakravarthy, and Praful Bidwai

While the Jan Sansad sessions continued, on the occasion of World Water Day, movement groups fighting water privatisation, dams, thermal and nuclear power plants staged demonstrations in front of Tamilnadu Bhawan and Kerala Bhawan, Jantar Mantar. In solidarity with people fighting against the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant, Tamilnadu movement groups joined the Jawaharlal Nehru University student’s Union demonstration in front of the Tamilnadu Bhavan condemning the States repression of the non-violent struggle by fisherfolk and local communities in Idinthakarai. Later in the day, thousands of nature based communities struggling against water acquisition and privatisation, demanded ‘Save Water, Save Life, Save People’ at Jantar Mantar. The groups included Plachimada anti-coke struggle, Nadi Ghati Morcha, Arunachal anti-mega dam struggle groups, Matu Jan Sanghatan, Kisan Sangharsh Samiti, Narmada Bachao Andolan and others and was led by Medha Patkar, Sanddep Pandey, Vilayodi Venugopal and others.

Thousands of adivasis and marginal farmers from Chhindwara, Madhya Pradesh who came for Jan sansad have been demonstrating against Adani thermal power plant since yesterday at jantar mantar. They were joined today by nearly 500 people from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. Kisan Sangharsh Samiti leading the struggle against destructive thermal power plants in the area have been demanding that the illegal clearance granted to Adani Thermal and Pench water diversion project be revoked. Jan sansad passed a resolution in their support and demanded that Ministry of Environment and Forest must take action against Adani & the police atrocities in the region.

Jan Sansad passed resolutions on the issues of communities’ control of natural resources, corporate corruption and many other issues. Tomorrow, March 23rd, on occasion of martyrs day, thousands of people joining the concluding session of Jantar Mantar will march from Shaheed Park, near ITO to the Sansad Marg and hand over the resolutions to the representatives of the different political parties. Bhaktha Charan Das, Mohan Singh, Sharad Yadav, Tarun Mandal and many others are expected to attend. The resolutions will also be handed over to the members of civil society, trade unions, University and others.

Lok Shakti Abhiyan, National Alliance of Peoples’ Movement

For more details contact Media Team: Madhuresh Kumar: 9818905316

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