From: NAPM India <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, Nov 23, 2010 at 11:20 PM
Subject: [initiative-india] Fwd: today's press note from sanghrash dharna in Delhi
To: NAPM-India@googlegroups.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Enough is Enough; No more displacement – UPA is pushing India to civil war
Ø National Action by Sangharsh continues on day-2
Ø Dam displaced peoples demand moratorium till new legislation
Ø Forest Rights groups demand implementation of FRA prior to land acquisition
Ø 'Project Clearance' should be by Gram Sabhas, not ministries at the centre
23rd November 2010, New Delhi – Speaking to a gathering of more than 3500 people assembled at Jantar Mantar as part of the Sangharsh led National Week of Action, Ms. Medha Patkar of NBA stated that "the Rivers, water bodies and sources of life are under threat and are being destroyed in the country. The people who live on the banks of these rivers do not benefit at all and instead their lives get destroyed. The Government should understand that new battles will be fought between those who are trying to save and protect the riverine life and heritage of India and those who are trying to destroy them".
Ms. Patkar added that; "Energy and electricity have been made out into absolute non-negotiables and every time when people raise genuine social and environmental objections to power projects, they are sidelined by the argument of energy demands (interpreted only as electricity demands) and national growth. New mega projects are cited as the only answer to India's growing corporate and industrial demands. The three main options of 1) cutting down on the close to 30% electricity loss due to transmission & distribution (T&D) losses 2) increasing the efficiency of existing power projects and 3) investing in alternate energy projects of the solar kind of natural renewable sources, are not even considered seriously by this government, who sheds crocodile tears on the issue of climate change"
Members of Parliament, Rajen Gohai and Bijaya Chakravarty visited the dharna and declared solidarity to the people's struggle against displacement.
Grameen Bhakra Sudhar Samiti Chairperson Shri. Nandlal Sharma stated that: "people displaced in the 1960s by the Bhakra Nangal dam are yet to get any rehabilitation or alternate livelihood. They have also been served with eviction notice from the forest areas where they have settled down on their own. Even the Forest Rights Act has not been implemented in any of these areas. Vimalbhai, representing MATU Jan Sanghattan of Uttarakhand stated that "people are loosing faith in this government, which has become a brokering agency for the corporations and industrial houses."
Raju Bhoda, representing the Krushak Mukti Sangram Samiti (Assam): "Our struggles are not any more just against dams or one or two projects; it is for systemic change and for people's new freedom movement." Dam affected people from Arunachal Pradesh, represented by Bijaya: "While Arunachal happens to be a less significant, small state the government is trying to build the biggest and largest number of dams in the state. If the 130 MoUs signed for the dams in this state are implemented, people of not just Arunachal but all over NE will be displaced. We will not allow the total destruction and devastation of our people and culture. We will not allow that to happen, even at the cost of martyrdom."
Gumman Singh, representing Himalaya Niti Abhiayn and Renuka Dam Sangharsh Samiti of Himachal Pradesh: "Himachal Pradesh and across the Himalayan states, the destruction will be complete if we allow the many hydro projects and mega dams like Renuka to go ahead. On top of that now we are having to deal with hundreds of tourism projects and even thermal power projects by the likes of Jaypee Group, who not only acquire land by force, but also run all sorts of illegal projects with fraudulent clearances. HP is being handed out to land mafia and corporations in bulk today."
Meeting with CP Joshi, Union Cabinet Minister for Rural Development: A delegation which met with the minister demanded a white paper on all the land acquisitions and displacement since independence and also that a new comprehensive bill must be brought out to take care of the land requirements, the people's genuine growth needs and aspirations and a national level consultation with people's organisations should be organized by the Government. The Minister requested Sangharsh delegation to present the ministry with a new draft of a comprehensive legislation on development planning and land requirements. The delegation in turn requested the minister that amendments to the LAA or the R&R draft in the present form should not be pushed by the Government in the Parliament.
It was pointed out to the minister that the 2003 and 2007 R&R policies talk about a national committee and commission respectively. However, the minister himself agreed that no meetings or even process towards any R&R monitoring has been undertaken by his ministry or the government as per the policy. Sangharsh leaders demanded that till the time a national level monitoring mechanism comprising of officials and political representation along with social scientists is put in place to monitor land acquisition for projects and also the R&R fulfillment, there should be no acquisition in the country. Any kind of land acquisition, whether for public purpose or for companies' private profit purposes, the process of land acquisition should be subject to the local gram sabha clearance.
Meeting with Sushma Swaraj: Delegation briefed Ms. Swaraj about the lack of democracy and transparency of the UPA government in the processes towards the two draft bills on LAA and R&R. It was brought to the notice of the opposition leader that while the 2003 NDA's R&R policy and the 2007 R&R policy by the UPA talk about minimum displacement, this has not been brought into actuality in any of the project sanctions. It was also shared by the delegation that the recommendations made by Mr. Kalyan Singh led Parliamentary Standing Committee on the two bills have also not been accommodated much in the present drafts.
It was pointed out that after the Aligarh firing on peaceful protesters that killed two peasant, all political parties agreed on the need for a pro-people legislation that also will take care of food security and sovereignty of the country. However, this needs to be converted in to a comprehensive development planning legislation.
Demands on North East Dams and anti-people projects by Sangharsh:
· A complete moratorium on all clearances (including pre-construction clearances) by the MoEF to large dams/hydropower projects in Northeast India.
· Immediate withdrawal of clearances granted to the 2000 MW Lower Subansiri project, 1750 MW Demwe Lower and 1500 MW Tipaimukh which were granted environmental clearance without downstream impact assessment and public consent.
· Commission of a special study group consisting of Independent Reviewers (including scientists, people's representative) to study the environmental and social impact off all the existing dams in Assam.
· A complete review of pre-construction clearances granted to projects in the region.
· Future steps on hydropower projects and dams to be taken only after full, prior and informed consent of the people of the Brahmaputra & Barak river basins.
· The Brahmaputra River and its tributaries to be protected as a cultural and ecological endowment of the people of the region and the country as a whole. Development plans will need to respect the environmental and cultural sensitivity of the region.
SANGHARSH PARTICIPANTS MARCHED IN HUNDREDS TO THE MINISTRY OF ENVIRONMENT AND FORESTS AND DEMONSTRATED IN FRONT OF THE MINISTRY PRIOR TO THE MEETING WITH SHRI. JAIRAM RAMESH SCHEDULED AT 4pm TODAY.
Media team for Sangharsh (Vijayan – 9582862682 / 9868165471, Shalini Sharma (9871076165)
Contact Address: Sangharsh, c/o 6/6, Jungpura B, Mathura Road, New Delhi 110014
Bipin Chander (09868807129), Madhuresh Kumar (9818905316), 011 – 26680883/ 914
 * Sangharsh is a collective platform of social movements and people's organisations from across the country struggling against the process of neo-liberal globalisation and capitalist development leading to SEZs, big infrastructure projects, mining, mega dams, etc. leading to massive displacements of the working class people and traditional craft persons, weavers, fisher people, forest workers, farmers, dalits, women, minorities and adivasis/IPs, etc. The key constituents of Sangharsh include: National Alliance of Peoples' Movements, National Forum for Forest Right and Forest Workers, National Domestic Workers Union, SEZ Virodhi Manch, National Cyclist Union, National Hawkers Federation, Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti, Narmada Bachao Andolan, Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan, Kaimur Kshetra Mahila Mazdoor Kisaan Sangharsh Samiti, Kishan Sangharsh Samiti, Him Niti Abhiyan, Nadi Ghati Morcha, Adivasi Moolniwasi Asthitva Raksha Manch, Jan Sangharsh Vahini, Jai Yuvak Kranti Dal, Maatu Jan Sangathan, Machhimaar Adhikar Sangharsh Samiti, Renuka Baandh Sangharsh Samiti, Birsa Munda Bhu Adhikar Manch, Pennuruimai Iyyakam, Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti, Vangram Bhu Adhikar Manch, Tharu Adivasi Mahila Mazdoor Kisaan Manch, Tarai Kshetra Mahila Mazdoor Kisan Manch, Patha Dalit Bhu Adhikar Manch, Delhi Solidarity Group
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