Press Release – On Earth Day Doon valley declareS Chipko Movement -Coca-Cola, Pepsi Cola ‘Quit India’ #CSR


DEhradun, April 23, 2013E

Forty hectares (about 85 acres) of land with more than 60,000 trees of different species such as Shisham, Kher, Bakkaiyan, and Sagwan, is in danger.  On the  17th of April 2013 the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, Vijay Bahuguna, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Private Limited, allowing them to establish a 600 crore bottling plant on this land, of which Coca-cola has already handed over a cheque of 1.6* crore.  In response the villagers of Charba and their pradhaan (village head) congregated at this forest to declare a chipko movement in protection of this green belt on the 21st of April 2013. The Navdanya team was present at this meeting to extend our support and distributed brochures which highlight the hazards of Coca-cola and such bottling units to the local environment and, consequently, the people.

On Mother Earth Day 2013 (April 22nd) in response to the village level protests against the Coca-cola bottling unit that is to be set up in Charba village, Vikasnagar, Uttarakhand, with agreement from the state government, the Navdanya team focused its energies towards this area with the intention to continue the resistance and remember why such a plant will not only effect Charba but the surrounding areas as well.  With the support of Mr. Shiv Singh Tomar, the principle of the Government Primary School in Usmanpur, Navdanya involved the youth and young minds from the area by planting trees at this government school.  The Navdanya team, including the director Dr. Vinod Bhatt, along with five students from Shivalik College of Engineering’s Ecoclub began by talking about Mother Earth Day (Prithvi Ma Divas), the meaning and importance of such an event and how the children can be involved. Then the children, school faculty, Shivalik college students and Navdanya team collectively planted five trees, which will from now on be cared for by the students.

The Navdanya team, accompanied by Mr. Tomar, proceeded to the Charba gram panchayat office in Charba village.  Here we planted an Ashoka tree in front of the office along with village members and elders as a symbol of our collective dedication and drive to continue working for Mother Earth.  To gather village voices together in a petition, the Navdanya team formulated a petition arguing against the establishing of a Coca-cola bottling unit in Charba village.  Mr. Pramod Kimothi presented this to the villagers in attendance, who signed their agreement and accepted the petition in order to collect further support by gathering signatures from other village members.

The day concluded with hope and resolve to take the issue of the Coca-cola bottling plant further.  In May 2013 Navdanya and the Charba village members will conduct an aazadi bachao aandolan (a movement to defend freedom) where a demonstration will take place at the Navdanya Biodiversity Conservation Farm, Ramgarh, Dehradun.

Doon Valley Declaration

Water is the basis of life; it is the gift of nature; it belongs to all living beings on earth.  Water is not private property, it is a common resource for the sustenance of all.  Water is a fundamental human right.  It has to be conserved, protected, and managed. It is our fundamental obligation to prevent water scarcity and pollution to preserve it for generations.  Water is not a commodity. We should resist all criminal attempts to marketize, privatize, and corporatize water. Only through these means we can ensure the fundamental and inalienable right to water for people all over the world. The Water Policy should be formulated on the basis of this outlook.  The right to conserve, use, and manage water is fully vested with the local community.  This is the very basis of water democracy.  Any attempt to reduce or deny this right is a crime. The production and marketing of the poisonous products of the Coca-Cola and Pepsi Cola corporations lead to total destruction and pollution and also endanger the very existence of local communities.  The resistance that has come up in Plachimada, Puducherry, and in various parts of the world is the symbol of our valiant struggle against the devilish corporate gangs who pirate our water.  We who are in the battlefields are in full solidarity and are putting up a resistance against the tortures of the commercial forces. We exhort people all over the world to join us as we boycott the products of Coca-Cola and Pepsi Cola.

Coca-Cola, Pepsi Cola ‘Quit India’

From the experiences of Plachimada in Kerala, Kaladere in Rajasthan and Mehandi Ganj in Uttar Pradesh, where similar bottling units have been set up in the past, we have learned and are aware of the situation.  The water table in Plachimada dropped from 40 feet to 125 feet, well and hand pumps went dry. While in Mehandi Ganj the water levels have dropped by 40 feet and the surrounding fields have been polluted.  To prevent such situations from taking place in our Doon Valley we must take steps now by uniting to defend our water sovereignty, land sovereignty.  The land allotted to the Coca-Cola plant in Charba was given to Doon University which has now been built elsewhere.  This land has now been given to Coca-Cola without our consent by the government.  This land should now be returned to the village. We do not agree to this land being handed over to Coca-Cola, we will not allow for this land grab and water theft to take place.  This is our declaration on Mother Earth Day 2013 and we vow to take up the methods of Sri Sundarlal Bahuguna by adopting our own ‘chipko movement’ to save our trees, our land and our water.

Village Panchayat Charba, Vikasnagar, Doon Valley

 

A concern– India Shining Campaign


The country is shining, people’s health is declining

Tell me, what is draining my people’s health?

Is it so much poverty despite so much wealth?

They smile and inform us that our country is shining.

But everywhere I look, I see public health declining.

From ordinary ailments, so many infants dying.

To save them, are our rulers really, really, trying?

Losing their own lives, while bringing to life another

Why is it still a hazard, to become a mother?

Ranging from womb to tomb, women facing threats to life.

But for a sterilisation, they always take the wife!

Old diseases spreading, and now infections new,

Outbreaks off and on, maybe an epidemic too.

Malnutrition growing, even deaths by starvation,

Export the grain for pigs abroad, aren’t we a shining nation?

Pepsi and Coke aplenty, bottled water some can buy

But most still lack a safe well, or see their tap run dry.

In the public hospitals, no medicines or supplies.

Ask officials what’s going on, all you get is lies.

Pay at every window, stand in every line,

Quietly buy all your drugs; don’t you think that’s fine?

And if you go to the villages, things may be even worse.

No doctor in the health centre, in the subcentre no nurse.

So you suggest I go to, the private clinic next door?

Pay a hefty doctor’s fee, for tests and drugs some more?

And god forbid, if they admit me, after consultation,

Hospital bills, referrals and scans may cause my ruination.

You ask about our taxes, how public funds are spent?

Not for health, but tanks and bombs, is where our money went.

The time has come to ask, some questions loud and clear.

Why life here is so cheap, why health care is so dear.

Why rulers shrug off their duty, for citizens’ health care

Despite the highest growth rate, why state coffers look bare.

Doesn’t every Indian, rich or poor, have a right to live?

Then as a basic service, health care the state must give.

Bring the ‘public’ into public health, this is the need today.

Make the system answerable; and heed what people say.

We know this country can ensure, basic health care for all,

If rulers cannot meet basic needs, then such rulers must fall.

For now the tide is rising, people beginning to assert

Right to resources, right to food, the basic right to work.

Let’s form a broad alliance, all those facing oppression

The toiling and the marginalised, the great mass of our nation.

Let’s join ranks in our millions, and fight for a better life

To end deprivation, exploitation, and communal strife.

As one step in this struggle, now let’s begin the fight

To ensure health, and make health care a fundamental right!

by  Abhay  sukla

P.S.- Did you know ? Prathap Suthan, national creative director with Grey Worldwide (India) advertising agency. came up with the slogan in December  2003 as part of a Rs 65 crore (Rs 650 million), government-funded campaign to promote India. internationally .’India Shining‘ was originally the theme for a 60-second video made by the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government to highlight the steps it says it took to boost economic growth, slash interest rates, stabilise prices, expand road and telecom and health networks, and offer free basic education.

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