लोहे के सरदार और सरदार सरोवर – विमल भाई, माटू जनसंगठन


बांध की 90 मीटर ऊंचाई से प्रभावित अलिराजपुर एवं बड़वानी जिले के पहाड़ी गाँवों के सैकड़ों आदिवासी परिवारों की कृषि ज़मीन तथा मकान 15 बरसों से जलाशय के नीचे चले गए। मगर किसी भी परिवार को मध्य प्रदेश में सर्वोच्च अदालत के आदेशानुसार सिंचित, कृषि-योग्य, उपयुक्त एवं बिना अतिक्रमण वाली ज़मीन का आवंटन नहीं हुआ।  Continue reading

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मध्य प्रदेश में होगी नर्मदा जन संवाद यात्रा, करेंगे नर्मदा की लूट की पोल खोल


नर्मदा की हत्या मात्र वोटबैंक और अवैध कमाई के लिये! देश भर के नदी व जन, जल बचाने के लिए होगा समन्वय और संघर्ष के साथ निर्माण भी

साधुओं की समिति और राज्यमंत्री का दर्जा देकर गठित की गयी कमिटी, क्या विशेषज्ञ है या राजनीतिक लाभार्थी ?

 

4 अप्रैल 2018, भोपाल: नर्मदा नदी के नाम पर मध्य प्रदेश में ही नहीं बल्कि राष्ट्रीय स्तर पर काफी यात्राएँ, घोषणाएं एवं परियोजनाएं एक सिलसिले के रूप में जारी है, तब दूसरी ओर मध्य प्रदेश की यह मातेसरी मौत की कगार पर धकेली जा रही है, इससे भयावह संकट उभरा है। इस जलसंकट के कारण मीमांसा नजरंदाज करते हुए मात्र शासकीय तिजोरी से करोड़ों रुपये व्यर्थ गंवाते हुए नर्मदा के जल संसाधनों की भी लूट जारी है । निमाड़ और मालवा दोनों क्षेत्रों को नर्मदा के पानी का आश्वासन बटोरने वाली मध्य प्रदेश सरकार नदी व घाटी के निवासी तथा मालवा के भी किसानों -मजदूरों, शहरवासियों के साथ भी खिलवाड़ कर रही है।

पुण्यपावन सलीला मानी गयी, वर्षभर पानी किलकिलती बहाने वाली 1300 किमी. नर्मदा अब सूखी पड़ी है और भी सूखती जा रही है। यह मात्र पिछले साल कम बारिश होने से पड़ा सूखा नहीं है, यह नर्मदा की कछार, नर्मदा घाटी के जंगल, नर्मदा की उपनदियाँ और नर्मदा के पानी का आबंटन, हर एक में दुर्लक्षित व्यवहार और अवैध व्यापर बढ़ा है, उसका नतीजा है। सबसे अधिक नुकसान विकास के नाम पर बनाए गये नर्मदा नदी पर और उपनदियों पर बनाये गये बड़े बांधों से और अवैध रेत खनन से हो रहा है। सरदार सरोवर का डूब क्षेत्र और जलाशय भी खाली पड़ा है।

नर्मदा सेवा यात्रा और पौधारोपण के नाम से करोड़ों रूपये खर्च करने वाली शासन ने अवैध रेत खनन को प्रत्यक्ष- अप्रत्यक्ष प्रोत्साहित किया है। न हि प्रदेश में संदीप शमतिक कई अधिकारियों, पत्रकारों की हत्या होते हुए कोई सशक्त नियम- कानून बनाये गए हैं, न हि उपलब्ध कानून और सर्वोच्च अदालत के फैसलों के तहत सजा दी जा रही है। सरदार सरोवर या अन्य बांधों के लिए अर्जित भूमि, नर्मदा घाटी विकास प्राधिकरण की मालिकी होते हुए अवैध खनिज उत्खनन जारी है। ट्रैक्टर्स, नाव- बोट रंगे हाथ पकड़ने पर भी पुलिस खनिज विभाग प्रशासन माफिया की गठजोड़ और राजनेताओं की भागीदारी के कारण कार्यवाही नहीं की जा रही है। रेत अंधाधुंध पैमाने पर निकालकर नदी के किनारे और कछार ध्वस्त करने वाले प्रदेश में राज कर रहे हैं पर नर्मदा में मिटटी फेंककर गाद से भर रहे हैं।

सरदार सरोवर और हर एक बाँध के जलनियोजन में काफी धांधली और गैरकानूनी कार्य हो रहा है जो कि म. प्र. और गुजरात चुनाव के राजनीतिक स्वार्थ के चलते, नर्मदा नदी की ही आहुति देने जैसा है।17 सितम्बर 2017 को हुए मोदी जी के सरदार सरोवर के लोकार्पण के वक्त मध्य प्रदेश ने गुजरात के आँचल में पानी डाला जो बाँध के नीचे वास में नहीं, गुजरात के शहर और कंपनियों की ओर मोड़ दिया, गुजरात के चुनाव से पहले। ओंकारेश्वर जैसे जलाशय से नर्मदा –क्षिप्रा, नर्मदा- मही, नर्मदा-गंभीर, नर्मदा – कालीसिंध और इंदिरा सागर से नर्मदा पार्वती जैसी नर्मदा से प्रति सेकेंड 5 से 15 हजार लिटर्स पानी उठाने वाली लिंक परियोजनाओं द्वारा मालवा के 70 शहर और 3000 गांवों को पानी देने की जाहिरात, उद्घाटन यह सब म. प्र. के आने वाले चुनाव के मद्देनजर मालवा की वोटबैंक ध्यान में लेते हुये हो रहा है। नर्मदा किनारे के तहसीलों में, गाँव गाँव में और बड़वानी, कुक्षी जैसे शहरों को जब जबकि नियमित पानी नहीं मिल रहा है, खेतों में फसल खड़ी हैं लेकिन हजारों हेक्टे यर्स में सूखी पड़ी है, किसानों को हजारों रु. खर्च करके भी पाइपों से पानी नहीं मिल पा रहा है, तब मालवा को स्थानीय जलस्त्रोतों के विकेन्द्रित विकास के बदले नर्मदा का मृगजल दिखाकर भ्रमित किया गया, फंसाया जा रहा है। दिल्ली मुंबई इंडस्ट्रियल कॉरिडोर व पीथमपुर जैसे औद्योगिक क्षेत्र में हर एक कंपनी को हर माह करोड़ों लिटर्स पानी देकर नर्मदा खाली की जा रही है तो मध्य प्रदेश की सत्ताधीश पार्टी कंपनियों से चुनावी चंदा जरूर ले लेगी, क्या उन्हीं के वोट्स पर जीत जायेगी?

सरदार सरोवर में म. प्रदेश के 6 से 8 हजार करोड़ रूपये ही नहीं, पीढ़ियों पुरानी धरोहर, हजारों परिवार, हजारों हेक्टर उपजाऊ खेती, लाखों पेड़, हजारों 10 वीं/12 वीं सदी के मंदिर, कुछ मस्जिद, घाट आदि की आहुति देने पर न ही बिजली मिल रही है  जो की 56% मिलनी थी, न ही एक बूँद पानी पर अधिकार। इस स्थिति पर गुजरात में ही नहीं, म. प्र. में भी हाहाकार है और साधुओं को दिया गया राजमंत्री का दर्जा एक राजनीतिक चाल है।

नर्मदा के किनारे प्रस्तावित चुटका परमाणु तथा अनेकों ताप विद्युत् परियोजनाएं प्रस्तावित हैं। यह परियोजना नर्मदा नदी से भारी मात्रा में पानी भी लेंगे तथा विकिरण तथा राखड से नदी के अस्तित्व को ख़त्म करेगी। यह पानी उद्योग की पेयजल तथा सिंचाई सुविधा को समाप्त कर दिया जा रहा।

साधुओं को क्या संभव है बचाना नर्मदा, जन, जीवन और अधिकार?

नर्मदा नदी पर विविध प्रकार से ढिंढोरा पीटने के बाद करोड़ों रु. की यात्रा व योजनाओं पर खर्च व्यर्थ जाने के बाद अब नई राजनीतिक चाल खेली गयी है। तीन साधू बाबा और राजनेताओं के साथ संवाद औरगुरु शिष्य का रिश्ता रखने वाले भैय्यु महाराज चारों का राज्यमंत्री का दर्जा देकर शासन ने अपने साथ लिया है। क्या नदी घाटी, नदी और जलस्त्रोत बचाने, विकसित करने में ये सफल होंगे? शासन के अवैध, गैरकानूनी, अन्यायपूर्ण कारनामों के खिलाफ आवाज उठाएंगे? लाल गाड़ी सनात्व बचायेंगे? जग्गी वासुदेव जैसे सद्गुरु ने करोड़ों रूपये जुटाकर कोई नदी नहीं बचाई, वे नर्मदा घाटी 100 एकड़ जमीन की मांग मात्र बढ़ा रहे हैं, तो क्या साधुओं की समिति नर्मदा बचाएगी? मध्य प्रदेश शासन जवाब दे।  

नर्मदा जनसंवाद  –

नर्मदा घाटी के अमरकंटक से निमाड़- मालवा और गुजरात के भरूच जिले तक के लड़ने वाले किसान ,मजदूर ,मछुआरे सभी के साथ देश के विविध जनसंगठन और सामाजिक संस्थाएं खड़ी होकर चलाएगी नर्मदा जन संवाद। हम ऐलान करते हैं कि देश के युवा, विद्यार्थी, कार्यकर्ता, शोधकर्ता, अधिवक्ता, पत्रकार, कलाकारों व नदी का समाज से रिश्ता मानने वालों को कि वे आने वाले दिनों में घाटी में आये और इस अभियान में शामिल हो जाए। अप्रैल 3 और 4 के रोज गाँधी भवन, भोपाल में हुयी संगोष्ठी में यह निर्णय हुआ है। इसका ब्यौरा बाद में जाहिर होगा।

नर्मदा घाटी की जनता के अलावा नर्मदा और देश की हर नदी को जीवित रखना चाहने वाले सभी को हमारा ऐलान होगा कि नर्मदा के पानी को विकेन्द्रित रूप से संजोगना, यहाँ के पेड़-पौधे, जंगल बचाना, नदी पर आज तक न बने छोटे बाँध या जलग्रहण क्षेत्र नियोजन को बढ़ाना और इंडस्ट्रीज और शहरों अंधाधुंध पानी देने के लिए किसानों को ग्रामवासी, आदिवासियों को और नदी को भी सूखा छोड़ना नहीं होने देना जरूरी है। संघर्ष के साथ निर्माण भी आगे बढ़ाएंगे, यही संकल्प है।

सौम्या दत्ता, विमल भाई, जगदीश पटेल, राजकुमार सिन्हा, मेधा पाटकर, चिन्मय मिश्रा    

संपर्क9179617513                                                                                                     

 

Why Sardar Sarovar Dam being challenged


Present status of the Sardar Sarovar Project and Demands of Narmada Bachao Andolan

 

 

WITHDRAW ILLEGAL PERMISSION TO SSP:

Rehabilitate all Families as per law; Review SSP in national interest

 

As on date, there are not less than 50,000 families (about 2,50,000 PAFs) in the three states of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat, affected by the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP), whose land and livelihood-based resettlement and rehabilitation (R&R) as per the Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal Award, 1979 (NWDTA), State Rehabilitation Policies, Judgements of the Supreme Court, 2000 & 2005 and  Orders of the Grievance Redressal Authorities (GRAs) is yet to happen. These include thousands of hilly and plain area adivasis and other farmers, landless labourers, fish workers, potters, artisans, shop keepers, small traders, encroachers, adult sons, widow women etc. etc. All these families, organized as the Narmada Bachao Andolan, demand the following from the Government of India:

 

  1. Withdraw the ‘permission’ granted by the Narmada Control Authority and its Rehabilitation (R&R) and Environment Sub Group (ESG) for “construction of piers, over head bridge and installation of gates in open or raised position at Sardar Sarovar Project until the complete land and livelihood based rehabilitation of all the affected families as per the aforementioned legal framework is ensured, all environmental measures are complied with, inquiry into corruption is complete and action taken against responsible persons and a comprehensive cost-benefit appraisal is undertaken.  The Govt. Of India must infact be called upon to lower the water level in the reservoir, at least to 110.64 mts, since there are, to this day, thousands of families not yet rehabilitated under the present dam height of 121.92 mts.

 

  1. Environment Sub Group & R&R Sub Group must withdraw  ‘clearance’ given to SSP. NCA, along with both Sub-Groups must undertake a comprehensive field based and document-based exercise of checking the status of R&R of each and every PAF in the 245 SSP-affected villages in the 3 states, as also the status of environmental compliance. 

 

  1. Govt. of India must come out with  White Paper on the SSP – which must include the excact status of irrigation, power, drinking water potentional achieved at this stage and actual benefits attained: The White Paper must also provide exact status of environmetal complaince and rehabilitatoion of all cetegories of PAFs, at every stasge of the dam height, in the framework of NWDTA, state policies and Apex Court;’s Judgements.

 

  1. Ministry of Water Resources, Narmada Control Authority and the Planning Commission, along with the other concerned Ministries and involvement of the NBA and representatives of the PAFs must initiate a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis of the overall claims and benefits of the Project including irrigation, power generation, drinking water and assess the social, environmental, financial, cultural and human costs.

 

  1. Direct the Government of M.P. and Maharashtra to provide only cultivable, irrigable, and un-encroached land, along with house plots in developed resettlement sites to all the eligible PAFs. This can include Govt. farm land as directed by the R&R Sub Group and denuded forest land (identified in Maharashtra) and to be identified in M.P. Land Bank, which is mostly of uncultivable land or which is under decades of encroachment has been rejected by the GRA and all ex parte offers of such must be immediately cancelled.

 

  1. Direct the Government of M.P. and Maharashtra to stop all encashment of rehabilitation entitlements. In M.P, encashment has led to massive fake land registries and corruption of not less than 1,000 crores in the rehabilitation process, which is now under inquiry by Justice S.S Jha Commission as per the directions of the High Court since, 2008. The High Court has clearly stated that corruption implies no rehabilitation and violation of right to life and R&R cannot be considered as completed until the Report by the Commission is out and corrective measures are undertaken, including legal and punitive action against responsible agencies, officials and middlemen as also rehabilitation of all those who are duped in the R&R process.

 

  1. Direct the GoMP to withdraw all its Schemes of encashment of mandatory rehabilitation entitlements, such as SRP (in lieu of land), grant amount (in lieu of house plots); meagre monetary grants (in lieu of fishing rights in the reservoir, alternative livelihood to the landless etc) pushed in violation of NWDTA and SC’s judgements.

 

  1. In the case of about 1500 PAFs who have been stranded after receiving the 1st instalment of the cash package (SRP) and have not been able to purchase land due to the nexus of middlemen and officials and high land prices, the GoMP has introduced a completely unlawful scheme dated 6-9-2010 of compulsory deposit of the meagre second installment, without ensuring land for land. This is totally illegal and violates right to land of hundreds of SCs and STs. NCA, we demand, must take a clear position that the Scheme is totally unlawful and must direct the GoMP to immediately withdraw the same and provide cultivable land to all such PAFs.

 

  1. Inquiry by Justice Jha Commission is underway for the past 5 years and the Commission has issued interim progress reports, which indicate the mammoth scale of investigation into fake registries, house plot allotments, disbursement of livelihood grants, fraud in civic works at R&R sites etc. Only upon completion of inquiry, would it be known as to how many thousands of PAFs have been cheated, how many are yet to obtain land, house plots, alternative livelihood etc. as per law. Thus, the Govt. of India must acknowledge that rehabilitation is far from complete in the case of thousands of PAFs.

 

  1. There are thousands of families who have already faced the illegal impact of submergence without rehabilitation, especially hilly adivasis since 1993 and even the plain area PAFs since 2001 and again in 2012 and 2013 in M.P, Maharashtra and Gujarat. The GRA (M.P.) has upheld the right to compensation of such PAFs, which the NVDA is resisting on totally legally untenable grounds. The Govt. of India must take a clear stand on this and direct that all such PAFs, are granted compensation, on the basis of ‘Joint Panchanamas’ and actual losses incurred by them.

 

  1. Direct the GoMP to initiate the process of village-wise joint checking to finalize the list of all PAFs, who are affected, but have not been declared so, as per the assurance given by the joint team of Director, NVDA and Director (Rehabilitation), NCA to the PAFs on 19th July, 2012, during their visit to Kharya Bhadal hilly adivasi village in M.P.

 

  1. Direct the GoMP to provide livelihood-based rehabilitation to all the landless PAFs, fish workers, potters, small traders as per the R&R Policy, Judgement of the Hon’ble Supreme Court and the procedure envisaged in the NVDA’s Action Plan, 1993, including recognition of the fish workers’ co-operatives.

 

  1. Direct the Government of Maharashtra to ensure the land-based rehabilitation of all the hilly adivasis, still residing in the original villages and also ensure that the pending entitlements of all the PAFs, residing at the R&R sites is guaranteed, as per the discussions and agreement with the Collectorare, Nandurbar. Direct the Govt. of Gujarat to ensure land based R&R to hundreds of families both in the original villages and resettlement sites whose are yet to be given land or whose bad quality lands need to be exchanged.

 

  1. The states governments, especially M.P. and Maharashtra must also be directed to ensure all services including medical and health care, rations, ICDS services, boat transport etc. in the hilly adivasi villages, encircled by the reservoir in the 3 states.

 

  1. Direct the three states in strongest terms to comply with all the directions of the GRA in every single case, such as land based R&R of minor joint landholders, rights of widow oustees, compensation for illegal submergence / lack of timely R&R, allotment of cultivable and un-encroached land etc. and stop the practice of challenging the GRA’s orders in the High Court.

 

  1. Direct NVDA and GoMP to immediately provide adequate relief to all the affected families and villages including adequate rations, tarpolin sheets, wooden logs, iron pipes & asbestos sheets for construction of temporary sheds, health services, safe drinking water etc.

 

  1.  Ensure that no further submergence would occur in any of the villages, due to increase in the level of the Sardar Sarovar reservoir or by the waters to be released from the other dams, without lawful rehabilitation and declare a clear mechanism for regulation and monitoring of water releases, across the cascade of dams on the Narmada and scrupulously implement the same, in order to ensure that the PAFs have sufficient, timely notice of rise in water levels and no damage to human life and properties occur.
  2. Expert Committees appointed by the MoEF have concluded umpteen violations and non-compliance on various conditional measures including command area development (CAD), catchment area treatment, compensatory afforestation, seismicity impacts, down stream impacts, seismicity, archeology etc. stipulated by the environmental clearance granted in 1987. Each state and much more Gujarat would lose its land due to water logging and salinization if it has not done necessary work on command area development. The Govt. Of India must ensure full and timely compliance on all these conditions, before pushing Project work ahead.

 

  1. Uphold the Report of the Expert Committee of MoEF on the issue of Back Water Levels and direct the GoMP not to mislead the oustees and GRA, by pushing ahead the flawed ‘revised’ BWLs.  NCA and Central water Commission must withdraw the Report on the ‘Revised BWLs’ and conduct fresh accurate surveys, as per NWDTA, in a time-bound manner, including all the nallahs (drains), tributaries etc. The affected villages must also be involved in this process by the CWC and NCA.

 

  1. Direct the Govt. of M.P. to cancel the canal network of Omkareshwar and Indira Sagar Dams, that is excavating Sardar Sarovar and Maheshwar Dam affected villages on the Narmada Banks and other villages which have a high percentage of irrigation. No canals without drainage and other Command Area development Works, compensation due to loss of land due to canals and full rehabilitation must be fully ensured.

 

  1. NCA must direct the GoMP to immediately stop all illegal sand mining in the river bank or river bed of Narmada and her tributaries and the directly / indirectly draining catchment of the SSP, that has infact increased the risk of illegal submergence and comply fully with the Judgement of the Hon’ble Supreme Court and Orders of the National Green Tribunal.

 

There must be no further decision making process with regard to raising the height of the Sardar Sarovar Dam, until:

 

  • all rehabilitation and environmental safeguard measures are complied with, as per law.

 

  • all the costs and benefits are fully reviewed

 

  • all Judgements of the Supreme Court and Orders of GRAs are executed and

 

  • inquiry by the Justice Jha Commission is complete, report submitted and lawful action taken against all persons responsible for corruption.

 

August, 2014

 

WAKE UP, GOVERNMENT OF INDIA

STOP THE DESTRUCTION BY SARDAR SAROVAR

 

WHY ARE WE CHALLENGING THE DECISION TO INCREASE HEIGHT OF THE SARDAR SAROVAR DAM BY 17 mts?

————————————————————————————————-

  • BECAUSE even today, about 48,000 families live in the submergence area of the Sardar Sarovar Dam – thousands of farmers and tribals are being denied their legal right to cultivable land based rehabilitation, thousands of landless workers, fishermen, potters, small traders, are being deprived of their livelihood without rehabilitation and well-settled flourishing villages are being submerged.
  • BECAUSE thousands of hectares of prime cultivable land, rich variety of farm produce, lakhs of trees, temples, mosques, hospitals, markets, tribal gods and goddesses in the submergence area of hills and plains of the valley – spread across 245 villages in the states of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat will be consigned to a watery grave!
  • BECAUSE in the name of rehabilitation, farmers have been mostly given barren and non-cultivable lands or meagre cash compensation. The resettlement sites are not in a state of habitation. In such a situation, the decision to flood the thickly populated original villages with the dam waters is a ghastly inhumanity.
  • BECAUSE a massive corruption scam of Rs. 1,000 crores is being investigated by a High Court appointed Judicial Commission since the last 5 years. Approximately 3,000 false registries, embezzlement of crores of rupees in 88 resettlement sites, fraud in house plot allocations, disbursement of livelihood grants has led to loot of thousands of poor and illiterate by the nexus of middlemen and officials. The hasty decision to drown the Narmada Valley, before the Report come out in public domain and action taken against the corrupt is nothing but a political conspiracy.

 

  • BECAUSE the judgements and orders of the High Court and the Supreme Court are being violated, hundreds of complaints are still pending before the Grievance Reressal Authorities and the decision to push the dam ahead without rehabilitation is nothing short of judicial contempt.

 

  • BECAUSE thousands of poor, dalits, scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, other backward classes, minorities, women, widows and children are being denied their legal rights in an unjust manner and their lives are being destroyed.
  • BECAUSE 70,000 crore rupees has been the estimated dam cost at 2012 prices and the present estimates go upto 90,000 crores ! In the garb of irrigation, electricity and drinking water the people of Gujarat also are being misled. Same is the plight of people in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra who are being looted in the name of ‘free power’, while these two states are contributing in terms of thousands of hectares of land, forests, investments and river itself !
  • BECAUSE Narmada Valley is being drowned by projecting false statistics and promises of free electricity; while even after the 17 mts height increase, there would only be a marginal increase of 10-20% more electricity.
  • BECAUSE even though Mr. Narendra Modi was the chief minister of Gujarat and despite no protests against the construction of canals, barely 30% canals have been constructed so far. Using less than 20% of the water of the reservoir is a failure of the Gujarat Government. It is also a sham against the people of Kutch and Saurashtra. Even after throwing thousands of families in the submergence zone, irrigation of only 2 lakh hectares of land is a serious fraud!
  • BECAUSE depriving the primary beneficiaries (farmers and villagers) and diverting water and land to industries and corporates is a betrayal of the people of the Gujarat and the Narmada valley, too. Isn’t giving away 1000 litres of water at just Rs. 10 to companies in the name of development a way of promoting loot?
  • BECAUSE the decision to de-notify 70,000 hecatres of land from the command (beneficiary) area and plan to exclude 4 lakh hectares, is only aimed at fetching profits to companies by snatching away the legitimate rights of farmers and villages.
  • BECAUS the Central Environment Ministry has already rejected the questionable report of the Narmada Control Authority to exclude 55 villages and Dharampuri township from the affected zone. The 2013 monsoon submergence has proven that at the full height of 138 metres, and in the event of high flood, none of the properties acquired will be saved. The game of numbers, false surveys and paper rehabilitation is illegal and un-acceptable.
  • BECAUSE many reports of expert committees appointed by the Environment Ministry have proven that the clearance conditions have been violated.. Though crores of rupees are shown to have been spent on command area development, compensatory afforestation, health impacts, fisheries, seismic risks, archaeological impacts etc. yet the requisite studies and safeguard measures, as per law, are not in place.
  • BECAUSE the politics of displacement and tourism is being pushed ahead in the name of late farmer’s leader, Sardar Patel; expenditure of 3,000 crores  (more than the cost of rehabilitation of 3 states) on the ‘Statue of Unity’ Project is inhuman and a disgrace to Sardar Patel himself.

 

  • Therefore, we the people of Narmada Valley are fighting not only for our rights, but also for the welfare of our country.
  • Sardar Sarovar has become a

Monument of Mismanagement and Monument of Injustice

  • We challenge the hasty, unlawful and unjust decision

of increasing the dam height by 17 mts.

 

SARDAR SAROVAR REHABILITATION SCANDAL IN MADHYA PRADESH

1,000 crores corruption under judicial inquiry since 5 years

 

[Even as the Narmada Control Authority Annual Reports state that the balance families in the SSP Submergence area is ‘0’, while 2.5 lakh people continue to reside here, corruption worth about 1,000 crores is under inquiry by the Justice S.S. Jha Commission appointed by the High Court]

Sl. No. Category of corruption / irregularity & Commission’s task Scale of corruption under inquiry and value (approx) Status of Inquiry and Comment
3000+ Fake land registries More than 3,000 fake registries – Each registry is worth 5.58 lakhs i.e. a few hundreds crore rupees has been wasted away – money spent from state exchequer – but land entitlement not ensured. Inquiry into more than 2000 registries is almost over and in most cases, the registry has turned out to be fake and the names of middlemen and officials who have cheated the oustees is out, whose role is now under inquiry.
Irregularities in the civic amenities at 88 resettlement (R&R) sites Physical verification to check alleged sub-standard quality of more than 800 R&R structures including panchayat bhavans, schools, dispensaries, seed stores, hand pumps, cisterns,  roads, electricity poles, culverts, drains, tree platforms. Field Visit to 88 sites by the Commission, along with technical experts from MANIT, Bhopal and assistance from IIT, Mumbai has been concluded. Report submitted to Commission and arguments of NVDA and NBA heard. CAG’s expose in 2004 already led to suspension of more than 37 officials of NVDA, and 30 more charged but action not taken.
Irregularities in

House Plot Allotment

25,000 house plots allotted in M.P – Irregularity in disbursement of thousands of plots, purchase of plots by non-oustees, under scrutiny Commission has stayed change of plots, new construction, planning of the R&R sites, encashment, process of house plot allotment under scrutiny.
Corruption in alternative livelihood to 8,000 landless Meagre cash disbursements through fake documents leave 8,000 landless, fish workers, potters without livelihood: under inquiry Commission is yet to begin detailed inquiry into this aspect of corruption wherein no productive assets have been purchased.
Compensation to ineligible persons and properties Crores of rupees worth corruption by compensating non-existent, ineligible properties, constructed only for compensation. Part haring concluded – Commission yet to hear detailed submissions on massive corruption of this kind in numerous villages. Depositions pending.
Declaration of ineligible persons and exclusion of eligible PAFs Hundreds of ineligible persons compensated due to corruption while hundreds others, despite being eligible are left out. Inquiry of 4374 families declared ineligible in a questionable manner also pending. Hearing, submissions by the NBA and NVDA and Inquiry is under way. Each and every document is being summoned by the Commission and investigated.
Inquiry into changed back water levels (BWLs) 55 villages and one huge township (Dharampuri) declared to be out of submergence, on the basis of ‘revised’ back water levels that have been rejected by the MoEF Expert Committee in 2010. Commission has called for Report from the NCA and hearing is pending. The entire process reeks of corruption, false, incomplete surveys and estimates. This has been exposed by the severe submergence of August, 2012 and 2013.
Scrutiny before disbursement of cash grant (2nd installment) in lieu of land to 1,500 PAFs Detailed scrutiny and Inquiry is on in the case of 1,500 PAFs who could not purchase land out of meagre cash installment (SRP). NVDA has taken questionable affidavits and deposited cash in the bank accounts of 400 PAFs – this has been stayed by the Commission. High Court’s order of 18-07-2013 has upheld Commission’s scrutiny power,  challenged by NVDA. Thus, all land offers, affidavits, disbursements is under scrutiny. Supreme Court has granted an interim stay in 400 Cases, but inquiry into thousands of other cases pending. Commission is also inspecting some of the land bank sites offered to the PAFs.
Scrutiny before disbursement of SRP – cash grant (1st  installment) in lieu of land Cases of hundreds of oustees, whose entitlement is recently being established by the GRA, and are being entangled by the same middlemen–official racket to accept cash in lieu of land under scrutiny. NVDA pushing ahead cases of cash disbursement in lieu of land – Commission has a mandate to scrutinize all these cases within the framework of the Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal Award and Apex Court’s and High Court’ orders.
Scrutiny of all other cash grants (house compensation, rehabilitation grants As per Supreme Court’s order, of 11th May, 2009; the Commission has to scrutinize every single cash / cheque disbursement, to ensure there is no corruption. Thus, thousands of cases of disbursement are awaiting scrutiny. The process is underway by the Commission and is an enormous task, although unique of its kind in the history of the R&R implementation, since a mechanism to ensure that no further corruption takes place has been instituted.

CALL FROM THE NARMADA VALLEY

 

to save the right to life & livelihood of 48 thousand families affected by Sardar Sarovar Dam

to recall illegal decision of Indian Govt. to raise the dam height by 17 mts

 

Displacement and Destitution of Lakhs: Investment of Millions & Crores of Corruption

 

Rehabilitate Oustees and Review SSP: Halt Height Increase

 

WHO PROFITS ? WHO PAYS ?
F Project cost shoots up to 90,000 Crores

F Only 30% Canals built in 30 years !

F Claim of 8 lakh ha irrigation at present dam height of 122 mts ! Actual Irrigation less than 2 lakh hectares

F 4 lakh hectares land excluded from command area !

F Command area land and reservoir water diverted to corporates !!

F Fake political promises of ‘free electricity to M.P. and Maharashtra

F Thousands of litres of waters for bottled water industry at throwaway prices!

F 3000 crores investment for Sardar Patel Tourism Project !

F 245 villages in 3 states – 30,000 hectares of prime farm land, forests, thousands of houses, lakhs of trees etc. in submergence !

 

F Rehabilitation of 50,000 families of farmers, fish workers, tribals, potters, boats men, artisans, shop keepers, landless workers incomplete.

 

F At least 30,000 hectares land need for rehabilitation in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.

 

F Games of numbers: exclusion of thousands of eligible oustees, 55 villages and a huge township declared ‘out of submergence’ due to flawed back water levels – Lives of thousands of oustees at risk.

 

F 1,000 crores corruption scam and more than 3000 fake land registries judicial scanner since 5 years.

 

 

Costs increase by 10 times ! Less than 10% claimed benefits realized!

Violation of Narmada Award and Judgements of Supreme Court unacceptable

 

 

\

RECALL  THE UNJUST DECISION REHABILITATE THE PEOPLE REVIEW THE PROJECT

 

WE URGE ALL CONCERNED PERSONS, ORGANISATIONS AND VARIOUS POLITICAL AND SOCIAL GROUPS TO

UNDERSTAND THE REASONS FOR OUR STRUGGLE AND SUPPORT OUR CAUSE.

Narmada Bachao Andolan’s activists including Medha Patkar released unconditionally on Uma Bharti’s request.


Dear all,

As you all know, senior activists of Narmada Bachao Andolan including Kamla Yadav, Kailash Awasya, Yogini Khanolkar, Jikubhai Tadvi, Medha Patkar and about 80 other oustees from the states of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat were unlawfully taken into custody by the Delhi police and detained at the Parliament Street Police Station, for more than 6 hours on 1st December, 2014. The police action came as a shocking surprise to the activists, since just minutes ago, the Union Water Resources Minister, Ms. Uma Bharati promised a detailed meeting with the activists on 2nd December, in presence of Director, (Rehabilitation), NCA.

This assurance was given after the activists protested at the gates of the Ministry and subsequently Ms. Uma Bharati met Medha Patkar with a delegation in her office. The sudden arrest, despite the promise of dialogue, angered the oustees, who sat on a satyagraha inside the police station. Many senior social and political activists including Ali Anwar, Member of Parliament JD(U), Dr. Sunilam KSS, Annie Raja, CPI, Kavita Srivastava, PUCL, Kamayani, MKSS and number of advocates met the oustees at the station. Later in the evening, all the oustees and activists were released unconditionally, after Ms. Uma Bharti wrote to Mr. Rajnath Singh, Union Home Minister stating that the oustees had a peaceful interaction and they did not cause any disturbance, hence no ction may be taken against them. A true copy of the Minister’s letter is enclosed.

Hundreds of oustees participated in the massive rally and public meetings of people movements (Convergence) the next day, where, among other issues, the demand not to displace, rehabilitate the thousands of families affected by various projects including the Sardar Sarovar Project in the Narmada Valley and also to review the project was raised. We thank all of you for being with us in this struggle.  Our struggle will have to intensify in the days to come, both on the field and in the Supreme Court and we urge you all to stand by us in these trying times. Do write to PM to stop work at the dam and to review the decision.

नर्मदा घाटी के धार जिले में आज किसान मजदूर मछुआरे कुम्हार आज जताया अपना ज़मीन घर पर हक


 आज धार जिले में दिए सैकड़ो आवेदन 
धार, 17 अक्टूबर: जैसा की आपने सुना होगा की कल भोपाल में नर्मदा घाटी के सरदार सरोवर प्रभावित सैकड़ो की संख्या में पहुँच कर नए भू-अर्जन कानून के तहत  भू-स्वामी होने की ऐतेहासिक घोषणा की । बड़ी संख्या में किसान, मजदूर, मछुआरे आदि के दौरान सरदार सरोवर प्रभावितों को बिना पुनर्वास डूबना और बाँध की उंचाई बढ़ने के निर्णय का विरोध किया । इसी कड़ी में आज धार जिले में विशाल कार्यक्रम हुआ।
 आज धार जिला के कलेक्टर के सामने सैकड़ो आवेदन दिए गए । आवेदन यह है कि नए भू-अर्जन कानून, 2013 की धारा 24 (2) के तहत पुराने भू-अर्जन की प्रक्रिया रद्द होते होते हुए, आज तक जिनका अपनी संपत्ति पर भौतिक कब्ज़ा कायम है या जिन्होंने मुआवजा नही लिया है  ऐसे हजारो किसान, मजदूर , मछुआरे अपने पूर्व में अर्जित ज़मीन तथा भूमिहीनों के मकानों पर फिर से अपना मालिकाना हक प्राप्त  कर चुके है । इसी प्रकार का कार्यक्रम हमने 30 सितम्बर को बडवानी में किया था जिसमे हजारो आवेदन बडवानी कलेक्टर को दिए थे । आज धार जिले में कलेक्टर के सामने फिर से यहीं प्रक्रिया दोहराई गयी। कलेक्टर को आवेदन में यह भी चेताया गया कि वह अब मालिको की सहमती लिए बिना कोई भी ज़मीन या घर डुबा नहीं सकते ! इस पर कलेक्टर महादोया ने सहमती जताई और और दो घंटे की हमारी प्रस्तुति को ध्यानपूर्वक सुनकर आश्वासन दिया की वह कानून के दायरे में रहकर हर महत्वपूर्ण कदम उठाएगी ।
 साथ ही आज सरदार सरोवर परियोजना (स.स.प. ) प्रभावित किसान, मजदूर, मछुआरे, कुम्हार सभी, सरदार सरोवर बाँध की ऊंचाई 122 मी. से 139मी. बढ़ाये जाने के कार्य आरंभ होने  का विरोध करा । स.स.प. के डूब क्षेत्र में आज भी ढाई लाख लोग बसे है। मध्य प्रदेश के अलीराजपुर, धार, बडवानी जिले है । पहाड़ी आदिवासी गाँव तथा निमाड़ के बड़े गाँव एवं नगर में आज खेती, फलउद्यान, दवाखाने, शालाए, बाज़ार, मंदिर, मस्जिद, पंचायते होते हुए, आज के डूब में 177 गाँव, वर्त्तमान उंचाई 122 मी. पर निवासरत है । पुनर्वास में भ्रष्टचार के कारण हज़ारो किसानो की फर्जी रगिस्ट्री पाई है, ज़मीन नहीं । मजदूर, मछुआरे, कुम्हारों को मात्र ₹33,000 या ₹49,00 का अनुदान यह भी कई लोगो को न मिलते हुए, आजीविका का हक छिना जा रहा है ।
 आज भी 5 हज़ार परिवार को ज़मीन और कई हजारो को आजीविका मिलना बाक़ी है । पुनर्वास में भ्रष्टचार के कारण वासाहते रहने लायक नहीं है , ऐसी स्तिथि में 122 मी. से बाँध की ऊंचाई बढ़ाना और गाँव डूबना गैर कानूनी है ।
 चिखाल्दा, निसरपुर, करोंदिया, एकाल्वारा, सेमाल्दा, आदि गाँव में आई डूब से नुकसान की भरपाई देना बाक़ी है । जो माननीय शिकायत निवारण प्राधिकरण से मंज़ूर हुई है । इस स्तिथि में   122 मी. के ऊपर 17 मी. गेट खड़ा करना गैरकानूनी है !
 गुजरात सरकार ने 1,20,000 टन सीमेंट एवं 13,000 टन लोहे के गेट्स, लगाने का यह कार्य 250 करोड़ का तथा 20 महीने में पूरा होने वाला है । नर्मदा घाटी की पानी जल समाधी बनाने को अमादा मोदी सरकार जिस प्रकार जन विरोधी निर्णय ले रही है, उस पर मुख्यमंत्री भी मौन क्यों है ? कल भोपाल में मुख्यमंत्री ने 1000 नर्मदा घाटी के विस्थापितों को मिलने से क्यों मन किया ?
 देवेन्द्र तोमर      मीरा        राहुल यादव     
 
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Dialogue Needed on Sardar Sarovar


Vol – XLIX No. 37, September 13, 2014 in Economic and Political Weekly
http://www.epw.in/letters/dialogue-needed-sardar-sarovar.html

The following is an Open Letter to Uma Bharti, Minister for Water Resources, Government of India:

We the undersigned believe that the recent decision of the Narmada Control Authority (NCA) to raise the height of the Sardar Sarovar dam by 16.76 metres (m) taking the height to the designed final height of 138.68 m within two weeks of oath by the new government is a hasty, unwise and disastrous decision.

It will cause huge additional displacement, when rehabilitation of the people affected even at the current height is far from complete. Moreover experience has also shown that even at the current height, Gujarat can take the water stored to virtually any part of the designed command area, and can draw its share of water as per the Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal (NWDT) award and there are no compelling reasons for raising the height on this count.

On the other hand, there has been no inclusive dialogue on the issues related to the dam over more than 30 years of its troubled history because governments have ignored dialogue in favour of a legalistic stand. We believe there is an urgent need to evolve a broad social consensus on four critical issues about the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP):

(1) Height of the dam: Studies and alternatives indicate that Gujarat can utilise its share of Narmada waters at the current height. Non-installation of the 16.8 m high gates that remain does not have any structural implications for the dam though it may have some impact on power benefit, but that benefit anyway is transitional, falling off to small values as the states utilise their share of water. Moreover, even today, as per Central Electricity Authority figures, at the current height the SSP generated 5,882 million units of power in 2013-14, which is more than what the SSP was envisaged to generate. And the potentially small power loss will be more than compensated by the greatly reduced submergence and displacement with a dam at the current height, especially for Madhya Pradesh. There is in fact a distinct possibility that optimal solutions exist at the current height and they need to be explored.

(2) Equitable distribution, sustainable use and participatory and efficient management of stored water: Since Gujarat now can carry water to all parts of the command, it is important to concentrate on how water is being used. This has been criticised, often by its strongest proponents, on many counts, for example, gross underutilisation of the stored water; irrigation water not reaching the drought-prone areas of Kachchh, Saurashtra and north Gujarat, diversion of water for unplanned uses (for example, riverfront development, urban and industrial use south of Sabarmati), non-existence of water users’ associations in most part of the command, lack of proper drainage in the command area, and inefficient and inequitable use.

(3) Status of displacement and rehabilitation: There is no agreement between the state and various groups and individuals including those from the adversely affected, both about the exact numbers involved as well as about the quality of rehabilitation. The authorities have generally claimed satisfactory rehabilitation, but there are also strong claims that rehabilitation at the current height falls quite short of what is legally required or what basic human justice demands. There is an urgent need to bridge this gap and come to a consensus on the actual extent and quality of rehabilitation already carried out before causing further massive displacement.

(4) Environment and climate change:Downstream impacts of the SSP on environment and livelihoods have not been properly assessed, environment flows and requirements have not been studied and environmental management plans have not been formulated or implemented. Experts emphasise the importance of re-evaluating the costs, benefits, impacts and optimality of all projects in the light of climate change. It is high time we initiated studies and discussion on these with respect to the SSP. If rejuvenation of rivers is to receive a central place in water resources development and the Narmada is to remain alive these issues need to be brought into discussion and resolved as soon as possible.

Good governance entails making socially and environmentally just decisions within a deliberative democratic framework and it is the lack of this that has resulted in a three-decade history of conflict and polarisation around the SSP.

We appeal to you to put us on a path of better governance, the professed aim of the new government, by revoking the decision to increase the height of the SSP from the current 121.92 m to 138.68 m and initiating a comprehensive inclusive dialogue on the substantive issues surrounding the project.

A C Bhagabati, A Vaidyanathan, Amita Baviskar, Ashish Kothari, Bharat Patankar, Ghanshyam Shah, K J Joy, Kanchan Chopra, Ramaswamy R Iyer, S Janakarajan, Sanjay Kak, Sharachchandra Lele, Sudarshan Iyengar, Suhas Paranjape, Vimalbhai and others

Government Go Back: The Narmada Valley is ours


Thousands of Sardar Sarovar oustees declare right to ownership of the acquired land and houses
as per New Land Acquisition Act, 2013

More than 2000 oustees and 200 supporters from across India gather at mass rally and public meet

Demand halt to Sardar Sarovar and answers from NDA Govt.:
Condemn the Dam of illegality and corruption

Ultimatum to Modi Govt upto 10th October: Struggle to intensity if decision not revoked

24th August, 2014/ Badwani: More than 2000 people from the Sardar Sarovar Project affected villages stormed the streets of Badwani today in a massive rally, followed by a huge meeting where a declaration that would shake the Government of India in the days to come was made. The declaration asserted that as per the New Land Acquisition Act, 2014, thousands of families living in the villages, where their land and houses have been acquired for the Project, have now become owners, since they have either not accepted compensation or have not given possession of their lands and houses, even 5 years after acquisition. With this declaration, a new phase of struggle begins in the valley and the Government cannot submerge even an inch of land now and, if necessary, start all acquisition process afresh.

The declaration was made in the presence of more than 200 supporters from across the country including an internationally acclaimed hydrologist, representatives of various social movements and organizations, lawyers, teachers, students, artists, and social activists from Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu ,Kerala, Delhi, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Telangana and West Bengal, who joined the farmers, agricultural, labourers, adivasis, women, the young and the old of the valley. The sitting MLA of Badwani, Ramesh Patel and Former MLA of Dharampuri, Panchilal Meda also expressed solidarity with the struggle. The oustees celebrated the declaration with a plough, cart wheel, unfurling of banners, as also with the songs of well-known musician and writer Swanand Kirkire.
The oustees and supporters demanded that the destructive step of increasing the height should be immediately revoked. They openly challenged the Central and the state governments on the decision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to increase the height of the Sardar Sarovar Dam on illegal and undemocratic grounds. Medha Patkar, addressing the large gathering stated that thes struggle on Narmada, which is to complete thirty years in 2015 has once again become vibrant and rejuvenated with this new declaration. In the long history of thirty years, the movement has challenged the state powers and the World Bank at several junctures. The Morse Committee Report against the World Bank is a significant example. Time to time, the height of the dam has been stopped through the pressure of the movement and the solidarity attained from across the country and the world. We will face every challenge from the Govt, she said, with an endorsement of applause from the oustees, who also addressed the gathering.
If the height of the dam is increased, it implies the submergence of the thousands of hectares of most fertile land yielding best of wheat, maize, sugar cane, fruits, chilly, vegetables, cotton, bajra. Thousands of farmers, agricultural labourers, fisher folks and shop-keepers and several others are not yet rehabilitated and Govt. has to answer people’s questions before even thinking of any further project work. More than 2.5 lakh people from 245 villages from three states (Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat) continue to live in the submergence area. Despite numerous Supreme Court, High Court orders and Narmada Tribunal Award promises for rehabilitation, thousands have not yet been rehabilitated. Massive corruption is being inquired into by the Justice Jha Commission since 5 years and thousands of cases are under inquiry, exposing fake claims of rehabilitation, but the government is hell-bent on raising the height of the dam, violating all constitutional guarantees. The oustees, at today’s gathering issued an ultimatum to the Modi-led NDA Govt. that the struggle would be intensified, if the illegal decision to raise the height of the SSP is not revoked.

In every village, be it Khalghat, Pipri, Chhota Barda, the team witnessed that rehabilitation is a fraud, review of Back Water Level is a huge game of numbers and that the Govt. is pushing the dam for ulterior purposes, not for Kutch and Saurashtra, but for Ambanis and Adanis. Internationally acclaimed hydrologist, Raj Kachroo, while addressing the people, said that the government should stop being dishonest to the people and demanded that the project-affected and their experts should also be part of any further decision making process including real assessment of back water impact.
Thousands of affected people and the large number of persons supporting the cause from across the country have strongly resolved to intensify the struggle of Narmada Bachao Andolan.

Earlier in the day more than 300 people gathered on the banks of Narmada, at the Gandhi Samadhi, Rajghat for the Prathana and Sankalp. Tomorrow, the last day of the three – day Narmada Ghati Adhikar Samvaad Yatra, the team of supporters would visit the hilly adivasi village Manibeli and interact with the oustees on the issues and challenges in the hilly areas.

Kamla Yadav Mukesh Kailash Awasya Meera Medha Patkar

Ph: 09179148973 / 09423965153
(List of members of the fact finding teams is annexed )


*************************
Narmada Bachao Andolan,
Narmada-Ashish, Off Kasravad Road,
Navalpura, Badwani,
Madhya Pradesh – 451551
Ph: 07290-291464; Fax: 07290-222549
E-mail: medha.narmada@gmail.com ;
nba.medha@gmail.com

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;

6/6, Jangpura B, Mathura Road, New Delhi – 110014
Phone : 011 2435 4737
E-mail: napmindia@gmail.com | napmindia@napm-india.org
Web : http://www.napm-india.orgnba1


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150 supporters from 15 states across India begin 3 day Narmada Adhikar Samvaad Yatra


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150 supporters from 15 states across India begin 3 day

Narmada Adhikar Samvaad Yatra
Team interacts with hundreds of Sardar Sarovar affected from
Khalghat, Chhota Barda and Pipri
Flawed Back Water Levels, Corruption and lack of
Rehabilitation exposed
New Declaration for Future of Struggle to be made at Massive
Public rally and meeting tomorrow
23rd August, 2014, Badwani:
More than 150 supporters of the people’s struggle in the Narmada
Valley began an intensive 3 day long fact finding tour of the various Sardar Sarovar Project affected
villages in the states of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat. The team included a
hydrologist, environmentalists, farmer’s leaders, trade unionists, lawyers, academics, researchers,
architects, social work students, representatives of various social movements and organisations as
also some supporters from the Aam Aadmi Party. The visit has been organised in the context of the
recent illegal decision by the Modi Government to increase the height of the Sardar Sarovar dam by
17 meters and plan to submerge the farms, homes and hearths of more than 2.5 lakh people living in
245 thickly populated affected villages.
In their visit to village Khalghat ( tehsil Dharampuri), the supporters observed the manner in
which Khalghat, along with 55 villages has been thrown out of submergence while hundreds of
families in this area, including poor workers and fisher people have faced submergence in the
monsoon of 2012 and 2013. A large gathering of more than 500 people saw vibrant expression of
support responding to the reality exposed by the oustees. The support also came in from the former
MLA Panchilal Meda who admitted that not just in Khalghat but in numerous villages in the
Dharmpuri area, thousands of families are yet to be rehabilitated. The women in particular, who
were present in large numbers expressed a resolution to intensify their struggle in the days to come.
Similar was the situation in villages Chhota Barda and Pipri where as well, rallies were organised
and hundreds expressed their support to the legitimate demands of the andolan.
The activists from Polavaram Dam struggle, Mahaan Sangharsh Samiti, Kudankulam anti-
nuclear struggle, movements associated with National Alliance of People’s Movements, as also
environmentalists from Gujarat participated in the meetings at various places. The team also halted
at the tribal village Mandil which is has been severely affected by the excavation by the Indira
Sagar canals.
Tomorrow, that is on 24th August a massive rally followed by a large public meeting at Badwani is

 
being organised in which large numbers of people from many submergence affected villages would
participate and make a new declaration for the future course of the struggle.
On the third day the
supporters would visit hilly adivasi village at Manibeli after a road and boat journey.
Kamla Yadav
Mohan Bhai
Devram Kanera Kailash Awasya Bhagirath
Pavan Yadav
Rahul Yadav
Meera
Medha Patkar
Meera:-9179148973
Bilal Khan:- 09958660556

Solidarity with Global Day of Action against Vedanta


New Delhi, August 1, 2014: We express our solidarity with the Global Day of Action against Vedanta – action against the law breaking corporates. They have been cheating not only the directly affected adivasis and farmers, but the country as a whole, by plundering common wealth and resources.

 The case of betrayal of adivasis in the case of Vedanta in Niyamgiri or land grab in Jagannathpuri, in the name of mining or University is exemplary of what is done or rather done away with in the name of ‘progress’.  Industrialization cannot strip the `industrious adivasis of nature and culture.

 Vedanta’s funding to both Congress and BJP, as reported through documents in the public domain is another corrupt and criminal offence against democracy.  Politics which is in the clutches of such companies whether called Sterlite or Vedanta, whether belonging to Ambani or Adani can’t be either democratic or just.  

 Protest against Vedanta is a consensus against corrupt economics and politics, both !

 

Medha Patkar – Narmada Bachao Andolan – NAPM; Prafulla Samantara, Lingraj Azad – Lok Shakti Abhiyan, NAPM, Odisha; Dr. Sunilam, Aradhna Bhargava – Kisan Sangharsh Samiti, NAPM, MP; Gautam Bandopadhyay – Nadi Ghati Morcha, NAPM, Chhattisgarh; Suniti SR, Suhas Kolhekar, Prasad Bagwe – NAPM, Maharashtra; Gabriel Dietrich, Geetha Ramakrishnan – Unorganised Sector Workers Federation, NAPM, TN; C R Neelakandan – NAPM Kerala; Saraswati Kavula, P Chennaiah – NAPM Andhra Pradesh, Bhupender Singh Rawat – Jan Sangharsh Vahini, Rajendra Ravi, Sunita Rani, Seela M, Madhuresh Kumar, Kanika Sharma – NAPM, Delhi; Arundhati Dhuru, Richa Singh – NAPM, UP; Sister Celia – Domestic Workers Union, NAPM, Karnataka; Sumit Wanjale – Ghar Bachao, Ghar Banao Andolan, NAPM, Mumbai; Manish Gupta – Jan Kalyan Upbhokta Samiti, NAPM, UP; Vimal Bhai – Matu Jan sangathan, NAPM, Uttarakhand; Vilas Bhongade – Gosikhurd Prakalpgrast Sangharsh Samiti, NAPM, Maharashtra; Ramashray Singh – Ghatwar Adivasi Mahasabha, Jharkhand; Anand Mazgaonkar, Krishnakant – Paryavaran Suraksh Samiti, NAPM Gujarat; Kamayani Swami, Ashish Ranjan – Jan Jagran Shakti Sangathan, NAPM Bihar; Mahendra Yadav – Kosi Navnirman Manch, NAPM Bihar

The Rajasthan Amendments to Labour Law will create many more Bhopal’s Gas Tragedies


New Delhi,31 July,2014

The Rajasthan Amendments to Labour Law will create many more Bhopal’s Gas Tragedies

The Rajasthan government’s decision to to amend the Factories Act has turned the clock back two centuries for what are acceptable conditions of work in a factory.

The amendment seeks to raise the floor for mandatory registration, of an establishment engaged in a manufacturing process, under the Factories Act from 10 workers to 20 workers. This means that factories employing 19 or less workers would not have legally binding responsibility for the safety of their workers inside the factory. The amendment also undermines the legal protection on hours of work, a weekly off and other rights to decent working conditions.

The struggle for universal coverage under what came to be the Factories Act in many countries was waged first in the 19th century. The amendments proposed by the Rajasthan Government thus take us back two centuries.    Following the 1984 Bhopal Gas Tragedy, the Factories Act 1948 was significantly amended to ensure that employers had higher accountability for workers’ safety and health hazards.

The amendment to the Factories Act in Rajasthan comes with amendments to the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act 1970, the Apprentices Act 1961 and critical clauses of the Industrial Disputes Act 1948.

The amendment to the Contract Labour Act will raise the floor for application of the Act to an establishment that employs 50 or more contract workers (from the present 20 or more as applicable country-wide).  In an environment that widely acknowledges severe under reporting by small and medium enterprises and allows multiple factory licences at the same address, effectively allowing factories within factories, these amendments would in effect allow factories with employment of a 100+ workers to operate entirely outside the protection provided under the Factories Act and the Contract Labour Act

The amendment to the Apprentices Act provides for a ‘sharing’ of apprentice compensation between employers and the state government, the freedom of employers to terminate apprentices during the apprenticeship and including apprenticeships under categories of temporary and contract workers. Today apprentices are being employed in large numbers in manufacturing to keep wages low and deny workers their legitimate right to freedom of association and collective bargaining. The amendments are aimed at providing a legal cover to this practice. While the government talks of creating skilled and employable workers this amendement effectively puts skilled workers out of the definition of workers and places them in the category of apprentices.

The effort of the Rajasthan’s BJP Government to change the basic framework of labour law in the country is further concretised and its scope widened in the proposal to amend Chapter VB of the Industrial Disputes Act 1948 (IDA). The provisions of Sections 25 of the IDA imbue accountability of employers in employment of workers in establishments with 100+ workers wherein they are required to obtain prior permission of government if they wish to close down the establishment or reduce the number of workers employed. The ID Act lays out clearly the conditions under which an establishment covered under Chapter V B can apply for lay-off, retrenchment or closure, two of which clearly being (i) genuineness and adequacy of the reasons for such action by the establishment and (ii) interests of employed workers. The Government of Rajasthan seeks to raise the floor for coverage under chapter VB from establishments employing 100 workers to those employing 300 workers without providing any rationale based on changes in industrial practice or manufacturing processes over time. By implication all establishments employing 299 or less workers will now be governed under Chapter V A which does not require government approval for termination, retrenchment or layoff of workers or closure of establishment.

The amendments to the ID Act include a detailed definition, of what constitutes ‘go slow’ in an establishment in Schedule V – Unfair Labour Practice. If workers are retrenched, laid-off or terminated for executing a ‘go slow’, that includes ‘work to rule’ and the failure to achieve ‘fixed or average or normal level of production or work or output’, the amendment proposes that the workers will not be eligible for any compensation. Taken along with the amendment to Chapter VB the definition of ‘go slow’ can open the way to retrenchment without compensation and therefore increase the fear of victimisation which today is a palpable threat against the right to form or join unions. The present amendments will also repeal a progressive Rajasthan addition of 1958 wherein the definition of workmen included contract workers. The exclusion of contract workers in computing the number of workers on the rolls of an establishment will make it easier for employers to show their employment numbers below the 299 threshold. The amendments will raise the threshold from 15% of trade union membership to 30% of membership within an establishment for a trade union to be able to demand recognition, thereby significantly eroding trade union rights and paving the way for employer promoted unions. Every one of these amendments represents a fundamental attack on rights of workers to protest unfair labour practice routinely committed by employers.

The amendments proposed by Rajasthan’s BJP Government are most of all in violation of Article 254 of the country’s constitution – upheld through judicial review – which clearly sets out that the power of states to legislate changes, in variance with rights protected by national legislation, are limited to removing difficulties or for easier explanation unless state legislation enhances the rights of citizens.  

The framework of development over the last two decades has involved a competition for investment between states through the provision of concession to capital in the form of land grants, tax holidays and in the case of Gujarat even unsecured loans of large sums of monies at virtually no interest have been handed out to private companies. The actions of the Government of Rajasthan now stretch to providing a lower regulatory employment framework that will force down wages and therefore intensify competition between states on this count too.

For over two decades, the labour rights implementation machinery has been in complete disrepair as far as workers rights are concerned. Furthermore provisions such as prior permission from government under Chapter VB of IDA comes through automatically unless government declines permission. The fact remains that in the present environment retrenchment or closure has only been resisted where a democratic union has been able to militate the rights of its membership. Vast numbers of workers are defenceless in the absence of unions.

The actions of the BJP government in Rajasthan are not innocent and restricted to Rajasthan alone. Its action is in tandem with the aggressive efforts of the Union Government, including through the Union Cabinets approval to the Factories Act and Apprentices Act yesterday. This represents a political attack on industrial workers and their fundamental right to form or join unions to defend their rights to safe work places and secure employment. 

The New Trade Union Initiative opposes the amendments and calls upon all sections of the working class to build a sustained opposition to them. In pursuance of this the NTUI shall respond to all calls that are already in place to build the widest coalition of trade unions and social movements to defend these fundamental rights of workers.

Gautam Mody

General Sercretary