Kalu : The Dam-ning Of A River And Its People


By Meenal Tatpati:in youth ki awaaz

In the latest minutes of the Forest Advisory Committee a small paragraph titled Agenda Item No. 4 highlights a dam on the river Kalu in Murbad Taluka of Thane District. It talks about the submergence of 18 villages, a “comprehensive” rehabilitation package of 68.75 crore being sanctioned and goes on to recommend the project for clearance. What the paragraph does not reveal however, is, the huge socio-economic and cultural impact that a dam diverting 999.328 ha of forest land has already had on the ecology and the people, close to 18,000, who stand to lose their land, forests and livelihood.

Anti-dam slogans on the walls of the houses in Murbad

ANTI-DAM SLOGANS ON THE WALLS OF THE HOUSES IN MURBAD

The Forests and its people

Murbad is a part of the ecologically sensitive Western Ghats. Many threatened species of fauna and flora and a rich biodiversity have made ecologists recommend it as an Ecologically Sensitive Area. It is also home to the Thakar, Mahadeo Koli and Katkari tribal communities, known for their dependence and intricate links with the forests. The forest here provides shelter, livelihood and sustenance. Produce from Mahua, Tendu, Palas, Mango and Jamun trees is bartered and sold in weekly markets. The forests have a dense cover of Aain, Khair, Kandhol and Khevada trees. Several medicinal plants and wild edible vegetables are also sourced. The streams and rivers provide fish and crabs and water to drink throughout the year. Bibi Pandurang Wakh of Pejwadi hamlet says, “The jungle here provides everything. Even during droughts its bitter tubers sustained us. If the dam comes, our rightful land will go. How will we survive? Where will we take our children and go?”

Mahua Flowers                                    Tubers from the forest                           fishing equipment

MAHUA FLOWERS              TUBERS FROM THE FOREST                        FISHING EQUIPMENT

The tribal communities have made utmost use of the village land having planted trees like Mango, Jackfruit, Banana, and Cashew. On their small farmlands, they grow pulses and vegetables, selling them at the local markets.

Bamboo works

BAMBOO WORKS

Besides being a rich resource base, the forests have tremendous socio-cultural significance. At Chasole, a village close to the Dam site, is an ancient temple, complete with hero stones. This temple will submerge under the dam waters. The archaeological significance will be lost. So will several sacred groves in villages that are slated to lose their forests.

The sacred grove at Kharpatwadi and the Hatkeshwar Temple in Chasole will be submerged

THE SACRED GROVE AT KHARPATWADI AND THE HATKESHWAR TEMPLE IN CHASOLE WILL BE SUBMERGED

Illegal and unscrupulous attempts of the project proponents

The locals found about the project when JPC’s and dumpers arrived at the dam site, cut thousands of trees and excavated huge quantities of soil to begin building the dam wall. After repeated pleas to the contractors to stop the work failed, the local villagers sought the help of Shramik Mukti Sanghatna, a local organization working for tribal welfare in the region. An RTI filed by the Sanghatna revealed a tangled web of manipulation of laws and unethical tactics being used by the project proponents to further this project.

The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dweller’s (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006; an Act enacted to “redress historical injustice” meted out to tribals and forest dependent communities has not been implemented in the area. The Act provides that no forest dependent community can be evicted from forest land under their occupation till their rights under the Act are recognized and verified. It also provides for rights to be recognized over community forests and resources. These rights have not been recognized.

The locals had not been given prior information about the proposed dam. Being a tribal area, consultations with the gram sabha regarding the project as stated under PESA were conveniently sidelined by the project proponents. The construction of the dam began in late 2010, without forest clearance. The project proponents also engaged in direct land deals with some tribal families which is illegal under the Maharashtra Land Revenue Code. This was done with total secrecy, and the soil required to build the dam was excavated from this land.

In June 2011, the Sanghatna filed a PIL in the Mumbai High Court against the project proponent on the basis of the issue of forest clearance. Meanwhile, the construction of the dam continued, amidst protests and dharnas by the project affected. The proposal was sent for FAC clearance only in August 2011. The project proponents used various tactics of coercion and threats to break the strong opposition to the dam, offering money to the landless and creating chasms within the community. However, people continued to oppose the dam, and in March 2012, the Mumbai High Court stayed the construction of the dam. By this time, 20% construction of the dam wall was already complete.

The Kalu River

THE KALU RIVER

The forests of Shisewadi

THE FORESTS OF SHISEWADI

Facing Displacement

These life-giving forests stand to disappear if the project is eventually completed. Also slated to disappear is the tribal whose identity is intricately linked with this forest. They will be lost, as statistics, a displaced population.

The rehabilitation plan announced by the district authorities provides about Rs 6 lakh to each affected family. The official figure of affected people is pegged at about 3000. This has been calculated without conducting either an EIA or a Social Impact Assessment (made mandatory by the National Rehabilitation and Resettlement Policy, 2007). Sangathan activists and locals say that about 40-42 hamlets will be affected, some whose land will submerge, some whose forests. Only 50% of the people in the affected villages own land, which means that half the population depends on the forests for sustenance. If the forests disappear, so do the people who depend on it. The actual figure of affected individuals is about 18,000! This is only the backwash effect of the actual dam. The water will be supplied to Navi Mumbai, about a 100 km away, in canals and piplelines, affecting thousands of villages downstream as well. But the proposal has no comments on this.

12 gram sabhas passed resolutions rejecting the project. They neither want the dam, nor the rehabilitation money.
Nausa Shiva Waghe of Shisewadi revealed the flaw in the way rehabilitation packages in our country are planned. When asked why they do not want to take the money offered and leave, he said, “What will we do with the money? It is never enough. Money comes, alcohol enters, vehicles enter and then the money goes!

A rehabilitation package that only provides money completely misses the point. The displaced population is completely alienated, not just from their material source of livelihood but also from cultural and knowledge. Monetary assessment of these values is dehumanizing. The locals here will face loss of identity which money will not be able to restore.

The Kalu river bed with the dam wall in the background

THE KALU RIVER BED WITH THE DAM WALL IN THE BACKGROUND

The future

After rejecting the proposal in April 2012, the FAC in its latest meeting on 4th April has recommended the project for clearance with certain “conditions”. The Chief Minister of Maharashtra has repeatedly stated in his letters to the Ministry of Environment and Forests that the project is of vital importance to Mumbai’s water supply needs. As it expands in size and population, land, water and resources from surrounding areas will continue to be absorbed into this metropolis to feed and shelter its increasing population. Thousands of people along the banks of the rivers that are slated to provide water to Mumbai and other cities stand threatened to be dispossessed, stripped off their land and livelihood, their forests and their rivers. They do not figure in the decision making process making this a short-sighted and incomplete attempt at providing the need of one section of the society without taking into consideration the needs of the other. The Kalu Project is just one of 8 projects slated to come up in this area. On the Kalu itself, a hydroelectricity project is under construction upstream in Malsejh Ghat in Pune District. The geological sensitive nature of the Kalu basin being coupled with absolute disregard of the provisions of cumulative impact assessments of dams in this region will prove dangerous to the ecological and geological stability of the area. A complete socio-cultural and economic impact assessment of such projects, coupled with a biodiversity assessment done by independent agencies is a requirement that cannot be sidelined in such projects.
Meanwhile in Murbad, the people’s struggle will continue.

The Kalu Dam is being proposed by the Government of Maharashtra (GoM), Raigad Irrigation Division No.2 (Kokan Irrigation Development Corporation), the Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (MMRDA). The contract to build the dam has been given to F.A. Enterprises, Mumbai. It is slated to provide drinking water to Navi Mumbai and Thane submerging about 2300 ha land out of which about a 1000 ha is forest land.

-Meenal Tatpati with inputs from Shiba Desor, Kalpavriksh, Pune.
(Based on a visit to 8 villages that will be affected by the Kalu Dam Project)

 

#India – If you are a tribal woman in Shahpur…, near Mumbai #Vaw


 

SHAHPUR, THANE, MARCH 29, 2013, Meena MENON, THE hINDU

File photo shows women attending a public hearing under the National Rural Health Mission (NHRM) in Sayvan village in Thane district.

Special Arrangement File photo shows women attending a public hearing under the National Rural Health Mission (NHRM) in Sayvan village in Thane district.

While Mumbai has an obscene array of five star health care, neighbouring Thane district is a picture of neglect

If you are a tribal woman in Shahpur, and pregnant at that, the chances of getting a sonography done are only on the third Wednesday of every month at the sub-district hospital. There is no radiologist here. In the whole of Thane district (with 15 talukas) there are only two government radiologists who work almost 24 hours to cover all hospitals in turn. Most tribal women shell out Rs. 700 to 800, money they can ill afford, to pay private practitioners rather than wait for weeks.

Since four or five months, the government has not distributed folic acid tablets and essential drugs are always in short supply in this tribal dominated taluka of Thane district, which is barely 100 km from Mumbai.

If a tribal woman manages to reach her full term of pregnancy and goes to the same sub-district hospital for delivery, it can be a great misfortune if she has to use the toilet as Savita Mukne from Vashind discovered last month.

Ms. Mukne escorted by Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) Anju Dongre went outside the labour room to find the two toilets shut and used as storerooms. Ms. Dongre recalls, “It was on February 25, I took Savita out of the labour room to find the nearest toilet which was a little further down and to my horror the baby’s head popped out. I was in a dilemma and had to keep holding the head while a vehicle was procured to get Savita back into the labour room. ” The child suffocated in the meantime and Ms. Mukne in a critical condition, had to be rushed to Thane civil hospital that night, a good three-and-a-half hour drive. It took her six days to recover. “See what problems this lack of toilet has caused,” Ms. Dongre said.

While Mumbai has an obscene array of five star care, neighbouring Thane district is a picture of neglect. At the Jansunwai or public hearing in Shahpur on Thursday under the community based monitoring programme of the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), government doctors and officials tried to save face while a litany of complaints was read out against corruption, the condition of PHCs and lack of anganwadis (in 25 villages), the improper supply of medicines including folic acid tablets for months and non availability of rations for mid-day meal schemes.

Dr. Bharat Masal, medical superintendent, Shahpur sub-district hospital, said that every month only 30 to 35 cases were taken up for sonography since the radiologist who comes from Thane could only work between 9 am to 1 pm. Due to rampant misuse of sonography for pre-natal sex determination, the law was strict about uploading information on each case on the internet on the same day, said Dr. Mahesh Renge, resident medical doctor of the Thane civil hospital. The government offers a radiologist a salary of Rs. 50,000 a month at the Shahpur hospital but there are no takers. Of the 95 total sanctioned posts at the hospital, 18 are vacant. There are 2000 women in the high-risk category registered with the hospital who are given preference for sonography, said Dr. Masal.

One other issue was the non-supply of food grains last year from June to September to women running self help groups (SHGs) who cook mid-day meals. The public distribution system (PDS) centres refuse to stock the grains since it is not profitable, said an official. The SHGs had to put in their own money to buy grains or get it from the PDS shops they ran. A grave issue was the lack of supply of folic acid tablets, crucial during pregnancy since most of the tribal women suffered from anemia. Ms Indavi Tulpule of the Shramik Mukti Sanghatana said that for four months there was no supply of folic acid tablets. Dr. Pooja Singh, additional district health officer, admitted there was a shortage but she said the government had launched a new Weekly Iron Folic Acid Supplementation (WIFS) scheme under which four lakh tablets were given to Shahpur taluka alone on January 28. However, these tablets were sent for testing last December and the report had not come. While Dr. Singh said the tablets were released, the taluka medical officer said these tablets were not available.

Lack of supply of medicines at the nine PHCs and 60 sub-centres in Shahpur came in for much criticism. At Vashind PHC the medical officer Dr. Vinay Devlalkar almost got beaten up because he could not provide the drugs required and he rarely gets what he indents for. He had to buy extra medicines to fulfil demands. The State rarely gives what the PHCs require and even Dr. M S Dhere from Dolkhamb PHC admitted to being low on essential medicines.

At the PHC at Tanki Pathar, the contractor vanished without fitting a water tank. Now bullock carts ferry water to the PHC. The two doctors and staff cannot live there. The condition of other PHCs too is pathetic with leakages during monsoon and poor construction. Access is also an issue for many people. There is one PHC located near a poultry farm and people want it to be relocated due to the high risk of infection.

Dr Nitin Jadhav, state coordinator of the NGO SAATHI for community based monitoring, said that these issues were raised at other public hearings in the area but they have not been resolved. “There has to be a process to resolve them at local levels,” he said.

 

#India-The police are outdoing the Taliban #Vaw #moralpolicing


TNN | Jan 16, 2013,

MUMBAI: The Bombay Police Act (BPA) of 1951, with its outdated provisions still intact, is now also being used outside the city to rein in citizens in a manner that tramples upon personal liberty and fundamental rights. Legal experts expressed shock that police in Thane district were using Section 110 of the BPA — which prohibits “indecent, riotous or disorderly behaviour in public” — against couples and individuals found in public places after sunset or in “isolated spots” or lonely stretches. The intention is to fight sexual harassment and make the streets safer for women, but experts said the cops are only targeting innocent people and not the criminals.

Police in the Kalyan-Dombivli area recently began stopping couples and lecturing them about the benefits of staying indoors at night, one of which apparently is that they wouldn’t be fined Rs 1,200 under the BPA. Over 90 people have been fined. Criminal law counsel Shrikant Bhat said that under the law the police have no power to even impose such a fine. They are only authorized to investigate.

“The policemen are acting like tyrants. Instead of doing their duty to protect people and women, they seem to have lost all sense of policing,” said Colin Gonsalves, a civil rights lawyer who has moved to Delhi from Mumbai and now practises in the Supreme Court. “My advice to the womenis to identify these police officers who prevent them from being out and then move the police chief or Bombay high court to have such officers removed from service,” he said.

Senior counsel and criminal law expert from Mumbai, Shirish Gupte, added, “The police have absolutely no power to stop anyone from being outside unless the person is soliciting a customer. The police are overreaching the law.” The police also have no power to ask college principals to ensure that students display their college identity cards at all times, even outside college premises.

Apparently, the police move came after a circular was sent to the force in Thane asking it to act against sexual harassment. “The police move, an outcome of a well-intentioned circular to form squads across police stations to tackle sexual harassment, is being misdirected and enforced by overzealous cops without application of mind,” said one lawyer.

“I think the problem is not with the law. The police are targeting law-abiding citizens by grossly misunderstanding the provisions of the law,” said former chief information commissioner Shailesh Gandhi. “Instead of providing security to citizens, they are harassing them to cover their own failure. The police must stop this immediately and apologize to the innocent citizens.”

“A couple or a single girl, irrespective of the time of day, is not exposing her person in an indecent manner by merely walking on the road or sitting in a corner. The police have absolutely no justification to fine young couples Rs 1,200 and lecture them on morality,” said Bhat. He added, “The police also can’t ask a couple or single girl to stay indoors after 8pm or 10pm. By doing this, they are outdoing the Taliban. Article 19 and 21 of the Constitution of India enshrine personal liberty and freedom of movement. Undoubtedly, neither freedom nor personal liberty is unconditional or absolute. However, a couple moving at night is not indulging in indecent behavior. There is nothing to show that the women who have been attacked by rapists and goons were indulging in indecent behavior or ‘exposing’ themselves.” Only the charge of indecent, riotous or disorderly behavior would justify police intervention, says the law.

Bhat added, “The police must be taught a lesson by being taken to court and fined, which should be recovered from their salaries and not taxpayer money. Departmental action should also be taken against them.”

The policemen are acting like tyrants. Instead of doing their duty to protect people and women, they seem to have lost all sense of policing

— Colin Gonsalves, civil rights lawyer practicing in the Supreme Court

The police also can’t ask a couple or single girl to stay indoors after 8pm or 10pm. By doing this, they are outdoing the Taliban

— Shrikant Bhat, criminal law counsel

Fighting back

The police are only authorized to investigate. They have no legal right to punish a citizen. The fines collected by the Thane police are subject to the approval of a magistrate. The fined individuals can visit the magistrate’s court the next day, engage a lawyer, plead not guilty and fight a case. Their lawyer would have the right to cross-examine the police. The magistrate can then give a judgment. Alternatively, and depending on the case, the aggrieved party can file a writ petition in the high court for quashing proceedings and return of fine, said advocate Shrikant Bhat.

 

Kalu dam: State looks to MoEF again


Date: 10 October 2012 – Kalu dam: State looks to MoEF again

The state government has applied to the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) once again, seeking the go -ahead for the construction of a dam on the River Kalu in Thane District. The Ministry had earlier rejected the proposal sent by the state, which had already begun construction of the dam without the necessary sanctions.

The government on Tuesday informed the Bombay high court that it had applied for the sanction once more on the grounds that the dam water is meant for drinking purposes, and thus the permission to build it should be granted. The plea also states that the dam, if constructed, would improve the situation of drinking water availability in areas such as Mira-Bhayandar and Navi Mumbai.

However, the MoEF, based on a report submitted by its Forest Advisory Committee, has stated that the government should not be allowed to build the dam. This was communicated to the state government as per a letter dated July 27.

The report states that the project area fell under the ecologically sensitive zone of the Western Ghats, and also involved rehabilitation of the villages, a rehabilitation plan, an environment impact assessment report, a technical report on wildlife status and management, a gram sabha resolution for the forest dwellers who have been granted rights under the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers Act.

The government failed to furnish all the above documents, and in the MoEF recommended that the case be closed.

The decision was given during the hearing of a petition filed by Shramik Mukhti Sanghatana, an NGO, that has alleged that the dam over the river was being built without required permission from the forest department.

On June 5, DNA had first reported how the dam, if built, would submerge an area of 2,100 hectares, including around 1,000 hectares of dense forest, and displace four villages.

Subsequently, in an affidavit filed by the state government, it had admitted that work on Kalu dam in Murbad began in October 2010 without required permission from the Centre and the MoEF.

According to the state, as per a resolution passed on July 9, 2009, it was granted an approval for building the dam. However, the Sanghatana argued that it was only after they moved the court that the state had sought the necessary permissions.

The Kalu dam, after being built, will be able to store a total capacity of 407.99MCM of water.

A total of 2258.87 hectares of land is going to be submerged under water. A total of 787 families likely to be affected by the project, and each family is being provided with Rs7 lakh as compensation.

A total area of 999.32 hectares is being reserved in Beed district to relocate the forest land which will be used for the project.

Thane tribal girl’s film wins award in New York #goodnews


PTI | ,Aug 13,2012

Thane, Aug 13 (PTI) A documentary film made by fifteen year-old Jayshree Janu Kharpade, a tribal girl from Wada taluka of Thane district, has won an award in the Asian American Film Festival held in New York recently. Jayashree, who studies in Eklavya Parivartan Vidyalaya here, made the 27-minute-long documentary– ‘Fire in our Hearts’ on the lives of the children in the brick kiln owners. In 2003, when she was eight, Jayshree had to quit school.

fire in our hearts unitions nations film

After her mother’s death, she had to tend to her three younger brothers while her father worked at a brick kiln. In the film, which won the ‘One to Watch’ award at the festival, Jayshree documented her family and village as well as the tenacious efforts of the tribal union for the equal rights to education. “It shows that if tribal girls are given an opportunity, they can excel. However, the sorry state is that they have been ignored by the society and it is high time we bring them into the main stream,” Vivek Pandit, chief of the Shramajivi Sanghatana said.

It was the story of the girl’s struggle that made documentary filmmaker Joyce Chopra of New York-based NGO, By Kids, approach Jayshree. A two-member team flew down from New York in February this year and stayed for a month in the boarding school to teach Jayshree to handle the camera. After a week of lessons on how to handle the camera, the girl marched to her village in Wada to document the story of her life.

The Asian American International Film Festival (AAIFF) is produced by Asian CineVision (ACV), a nonprofit media arts organization devoted to the development, promotion and preservation of Asian and Asian American film and video. PTI CORR

Immediate Release-STOP work at SHAI, SUSARI and KONDHANE DAMS


Press Release

 

IMMEDIATELY STOP WORK ON SHAI, SUSARI AND KONDHANE DAMS

 

We welcome the announcement of the Chief Minister that a White Paper will be prepared on the construction of Dams during the past ten years in Maharashtra.  We hope that this White Paper will assess the extent of corruption and diversion of public money that has plagued the Irrigation department. We also hope that the White Paper will look into the alleged nexus between the politicians, officials and contractors who have been awarded contracts in violation of the norms.  The White Paper needs to also examine whether the required permissions were obtained prior to construction, whether the stated objectives are being achieved and the status of rehabilitation of the project affected.

However, pending the release of the White Paper we demand an immediate stoppage of work on all dams (including Shai and Susari dams in Thane district and Kondhane dam in Raigad district) that are being illegally constructed without the required permissions.   Most of the dams ( more than 10 )  within the jurisdiction of the Konkan Irrigation Development Corporation have been awarded to a single firm, viz. F.A. Enterprises,  which is in violation of the Department’s own guidelines and conditions, thus exposing a strong nexus between the politicians, officials and the contractor.  Work has begun in violation of laws including the Forest Rights Act, The Forest Conservation Act, the Land Acquisiton Act, the Panchayats Extension to the Scheduled Areas Act etc. The Mumbai High Court has already stayed work on the Kalu Dam as it had started without clearance from  MoEF.

We therefore additionally demand that a High Level Inquiry Committee ( headed by a Retired High Court Judge ) be immediately appointed to inquire into the allegations of corruption and violation of laws and procedures into all the dams in the KIDC region, and more specifically those that have been awarded to F.A. Enterprises.

 

 

We reiterate our strong opposition to the Shai, Susari, Kalu, Balganga and Kondhane dams and demand that the police protection that has been provided to the contractor for constructing an illegal dam be immediately removed.

 

Shai Dharan Virodhi Sangharsh Samiti

Susari Dharan Virodhi Sangharsh Samiti

Kalu Dharan Virodhi Samiti

Shramik Mukti Sanghatna

Kashtakari Sanghatna

Shoshit Jan Andolan

Samajwadi Jan Parishad

Jagatikikaran Virodhi Kruti Samiti

 

 

Date : 9.5.2012

Immediate Release—-MoEF Rejects Forest Clearance to Kalu Dam in Maharshtra


 

MMRDA, KIDC and Mah Govt has a lot to answer for

 

In a significant decision, on the 2nd April 2012, the Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) of the Ministry of Environment and Forests rejected granting Forest Clearance to Kalu Dam, coming up in the Western Ghats of Murbad Taluka in Thane District. Kalu is just one of the 10+ large dams coming up around Mumbai, which are all showing blatant disregard for any environmental, social or procedural laws.

 

Kalu Dam would have submerged nearly 1000 hectares (2200 acres) of forest in the global biodiversity hotspot of Western Ghats, just 7 kilometres from the Kalsubai Sanctuary. Apart from forest land submergence, the dam was set to submerge 18 villages and affect 18000 inhabitants, mostly Tribals who have been entirely dependent on their forests and river for survival.

 

The Konkan Irrigation Development Corporation (KIDC), who was building this dam, being financed by the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) has shown utter ‘lack of respect to the laws of the land’, as per the report from the Regional Chief Conservator of Forests. The work started on the dam site more than a year back and hundreds of trees were cut, without a Forest Clearance, blatantly violating the Forest Conservation Act (1980) and the Forest Rights Act (2006). When Shramik Mukti Sangathana and SANDRP approached the officials about this, they were told by KIDC engineers that ‘in order to reach a destination fast, we have to jump signals!” These broken signals include No Forest Clearance, No Environmental Impact Assessment or the Environment Management Plan for the project, No Social Impact Assessment, No Rehabilitation and Resettlement plan in Place, No Wildlife Management plan, No options assessment, No Public consultations amongst many more.

 

The dam construction had already started in full swing in the last year itself, breaking multiple laws like PESA (Panchayat Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, Forest Rights Act and ForestConservation Act.

 

Shramik Mukti Sangathana had filed a PIL in the Bombay High Court against the dam in June 2011. When the Regional Chief Conservator of Forests, Central zone made a visit to the dam site in October 2011, he was taken aback at the extent of destruction taking place in the absence of any clearances and in his strong-worded report submitted to the MoEF, pointed out the proponent had no respect for the laws of the land and took permission from MoEF for granted. Significantly, KIDC gave work order to contractor in May 2011, but submitted the proposal to MoEF only in August 2011. KIDC also grossly underestimated the number of trees to be felled and villages which will be affected. It did not even consider those villages which were to be cut off by the dam.

 

According to MMRDA, of the approximately 850 crore budget of Kalu, more than 112 crores have been already given to KIDC. It is shocking that MMRDA and our Irrigation Department allocated, released and spent such a huge amount of public money on a dam illegally, destroyed land, forests, river and the villages without taking any requisite permission or without any respect to multiple gramsabha resolutions against the project, violating the PESA.

 

The Forest Advisory Committee, while “recommending to close this case” has said that “it has taken note of the complaints received about this dam and also that State Government has not submitted any of the reports requested by the MoEF”.

 

Shramik Mukti Sangathana and SANDRP have been following this matter for over a year and we had sent representations to the MoEF and Forest Advisory Committee since May  2011, providing them with photographic and documentary evidences of the illegal work going on at Kalu. While we welcome FAC’s decision to reject Forest clearance to Kalu, we urge the MoEF to take punitive action against those responsible for violating the FRA, PESA and Forest Act, from the proponent as well as the contractor. There are multiple dams coming up in the ecologically sensitive Western Ghats around Mumbai and a punitive measure will set an example for the other dams coming up too. Most of these dams have no EIA, EMP, Env Clearance, public consultations, options assessment, Social Impact Assessment, or independent monitoring and scrutiny. They all displace tribals without their consent or without just R&R plans. And most of them are not even necessary as better options exist. We also urge MoEF to change the EIA notification to ensure that the dams are not allowed without EIA, public hearings and environment clearance. The Union Environment Minister in any should not even consider giving forest clearance to the project, over ruling the FAC decision, as she did in case of the 300 MW Alaknanda hydro project of GMR in Uttarakhand, which now the National Green Tribunal has stayed.

 

Indavi Tulpule, Shramik Mukti Sangathan, Thane, indavi.t@gmail.com,             09869656073

Parineeta Dandekar, www.sandrp.in, Pune, parineeta.dandekar@gmail.com,             09860030742

 

 

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