Press Release: September 5, 2012

Activists storm M.P Bhawan demanding justice for the Omkareshwar and Indira Sagar Dam oustees  

A protest demonstration was organised by Delhi Solidarity Group (DSG) at Madhya Pradesh Bhawan in New Delhi today at 2:30pm demanding the Madhya Pradesh Government to take immediate action and lower the water levels of both, the Omkareshwar and Indira Sagar dams where 51 oustees have been standing in the dam water since the past 12 days. This protest was attended by more than 50 people who came together in support of the Narmada Bachao Andolan. The activists shouted slogans held banners and photographs of the jal satyagrahi’s at the dam site asking for answers from the Madhya Pradesh Government. They demanded the Resident Commissioner, Snehlata Kumar to come out and address the concerns of the protestors, which she did. 

Prashant Bhushan, Himanshu Kumar, Bhupinder Singh Rawat and Vimal Bhai addressed the gathering. They gave an overview of the happenings at the dam site and said that land acquisition is not being done with consent of the people which is the reason for several movements all across the country. It was asserted that the government must address these issues immediately and rehabilitation should be carried out abiding the directives of the Supreme Court and High Court.. 

The main demands from the memorandum were also read out to the resident commissioner and urgency of the issue was stated.

The demands read were: 

  1. Immediate intervention and reduction in the water levels of both the dams in accordance with the Supreme Court’s and GRA’s directives in this regard.
  2. Provision for land for land and other rehabilitation rights as per Supreme Court Order to all the affected people.  

The memorandum with signatures of the protestors (pasted below) was submitted to the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Shivraj Singh Chouhan through the Resident Commissioner at M.P Bhawan. 

Sanjeev Kumar (09958797409),       Seela Manaswinee (09212587159)





  5th September 2012

Sh. Shivraj Singh Chauhan,
The Chief Minister,
Madhya Pradesh,
(Through The Resident Commissioner, M P Bhawan, Delhi)
Sub: Demanding Immediate Justice for the Omkareswar and Indira Sagar Dam Oustees on Jal Satyagrah for last 12 days

Respected Sir,

Namaskar !

We, the citizens in Delhi from different movements, organizations and institutions  are extremely concerned about the ongoing situation of the fifty one Jal-Satyagrahis standing in the Omkareshwar dam water, Ghoghalgaon for the last 11 days. Many of them have developed blisters in their feet. Water has now reached up to their chin level & any increase in the water level would be fatal. We urge your immediate attention to this alarming situation.

We are shocked and dismayed at the initiative of the Government of Madhya Pradesh to raise the water-level in both Omkareshwar and Indira Sagar Dams without providing relief and rehabilitation to thousands of the project affected families respectively, which is in complete disregard of its legal mandate and in direct violation of various orders and findings of the Supreme Court of the country, as well as the specially appointed Grievance Redressal Authority.

The Government and the company Narmada Hydro Development Corporation (NHDC) who built these dams are violating the Orders of the High Court and Supreme Court by raising the water level in these dams, causing submergence of land and houses of thousands of oustees without rehabilitation.This is unjust and unacceptable. Last week around 4000 people from 250 villages of 10 districts like Indore, Dewas, Burhanpur, Harda, Badwani, Khargone, Bhopal & Dhar arrived to extend their solidarity to the Satyagrahi’s. They are not being allowed to the site where the satyagraha is taking place.

These important concerns for which the satyagrahis are staging their protests are not new at all, in fact people have been protesting since the past many years demanding rehabilitation.

Details of the issue:

OMKARESHWAR DAM: In May 2011, the Apex Court ruled that the authorities are obliged to allot land for land and a minimum of 2 hectares of land to be given well in advance of the completion of dam construction. However, even though an entire year has passed since the judgment, the State has failed to allot land to the over 2500 land-holder families. It must be noted that recently even the Grievance Redressal Authority has said in its orders that the rehabilitation policy has not been followed and all the oustees of Omkareshwar dam should be given land in lieu of land. Over 1000 families have still not been allotted house-plots. Various other rehabilitation entitlements still need to be provided.
Despite all this, the State Government and the project authorities have announced that they intend to raise the water level of the Omkareshwar dam to 193 meters from the earlier level of 189 meters and on 25th August, 2012 when the authorities raised the level of the reservoir by 1.5 meters, the oustees started Jal Satyagraha and are standing in the water of Omkareshwar dam since then.
In four villages of the Omkareshwar dam area namely Goggal, Bilawa, Bada Kailawa and Sukaya already more than 1200 acres have been submerged so far by the filling of the reservoir.

INDIRA SAGAR DAM: Similarly, in the Indira Sagar dam area also, thousands of oustees are yet to be given land and other rehabilitation entitlements. There are orders of Supreme Court and High Court that the water level in Indira Sagar dam cannot be raised beyond a level of 260 meters but it has been decided to increase it to 262 metres. Jal Satyagrah has been on in three places in the Indira Sagar dam area from September 1st, in villages Khardana, Badgaon Mal and Badkhaliya of Districts Harda and Khandwa.More than 191 villages are likely to be submerged in this area.

The district administrations statement is false and misleading: The statement issued by the Collector of Khandwa stating that compensation has been given to all Omkareshwar and Indra Sagar dam affected people and that the state owes them nothing, is not just false but misleading. It is surprising that during the meeting Officers of Narmada Hydro Development Corporation (NHDC), the company building the dams, spoke only about compensation and not about the rehabilitation of the affected people in accordance with the Rehabilitation Policy.

Court Orders
According to the Supreme Court orders the affected people need to be given not just compensation but land for land and other rehabilitation entitlements as per Rehabilitation Policy and this must be done 6 months prior to submergence. The Supreme Court, the High Court and recently even the Grievance Redressal Authority (GRA) has clearly stated in their orders that NHDC and the State Government have not adhered to the Rehabilitation Policy. Recently the GRA in first 225 orders has asked the state to give land for land to the displaced people. Therefore, the statement of District Administration is in direct violation and contempt of Supreme Court orders. Also in both these projects thousands of houses still have to be acquired and in the Indra Sagar Project, in 38 villages the back water survey has also not yet been done.

On August 31, 2012 the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) passed an interim order directing the government to ensure the safety of the oustees.

The Narmada Water Scheme – 1980 and 1987  has authorised and rather mandated the Narmada Control Authority chaired by the Secretary, Ministry of Water Resources to monitor and coordinate all the projects, in the Narmada Valley. The Narmada Control Authority must take a firm position on the demand for “No submergence without rehabilitation and compliance as per measures”, here and now!! Any further delay would cause a great human tragedy. The Madhya Pradesh Government which is responsible for the resettlement and rehabilitation of the oustees has the primary responsibility and must live up to its constitutional mandate.
We want you to know that the affected people have turned to the authorities exercising their legal rights. They have put their lives at stake and have been homeless and have lost all their belongings. Urgent decisive action from your part is THE WAY OUT.

We demand that the government:-
1. Immediately intervenes and reduces the water levels of both the dams and abides by the Court’s and GRA’s directives in this regard.
2. Provides land for land and other rehabilitation rights as per Supreme Court Order to all the affected people.

Yours’ Sincerely,

Sanjeev Kumar (09958797409),       Seela Manaswinee (09212587159)

Press Release                                                             21st August 2012

Sangharsh demands UPA not to proceed with the undemocratic

Land Acquisition Bill in Parliament 

Thousands gather in Delhi for three days (21-23 August) in Jan Morcha against land grab and the anti-people ‘Right to Fair Compensation, R&R Bill 2012’

Jantar Mantar, New Delhi – “The UPA Government is trying to fool both the parliament and the people of India, by bringing on the “Right to fair compensation, R&R and transparency in Land Acquisition Bill, 2012”, stated Dr. Sunilam of Kisan Sangharsh Samiti, Madhya Pradesh. Dr. Sunilam was speaking at the opening of the three day Jan Morcha in Delhi, organised by Sangharsh collective, against land grab, corporate exploitation and corruption.

“The government not only has betrayed the Aam Admi’s will, but also has effectively rejected the consultations and recommendations of the two Parliamentary Standing Committees on the subject”, added Roma of National Forum of Forest People and Forest Workers (NFFPFW, Kaimur region, UP).

The public meeting and dharna organised at Jantar Mantar on the occasion of the Monsoon session of the Parliament challenged the government to try and pass the Bill in the current form. “The bill will face the same fate as that of the LAA Amendments Bill that UPA-1 tried to pass in Rajya Sabha in 2009”, remarked Madhuresh Kumar, National Organiser of National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM). “The Ministry of Rural Development is ridiculing the lives and struggles of people of this country whose fight has been to protect their precious land and resources and not for ‘better compensation’, he added.

Martyrs from several anti-displacement struggles, from Assam to Gujarat and Punjab to Muthanga, in Kerala were remembered by the Jan Morcha. At the event at Jantar Mantar, tombstones were erected with the names of valiant fighters who lost their lives to the brutal violence of the state police or corporate goons. Families of some of the Martyrs were present at the Dharna at Sansad Marg.  “We demand that the government has to first declare about the land already acquired, used and the fate of those who lost their livelihood. There can be no talk about new land acquisitions unless we talk of the historical injustices” (poorana hisaf saaf karo phir naye kee baat karo), added Shanta Bhattacharya, of Kaimur Kshetra Mahila Mazdoor Kisan Morcha.

The new draft bill, in its current form has gone against many reccommendations of people’s movements as well as the Parliamentary Standing Committee (PSC). Some of the key issues raised by the dharna are as following:

  • The centralised planning process for development projects must give way to participatory and consent based planning, whereby the Gram Sabhas and Basti Sabhas should have the primary say in deciding what kind of development is required for the area and what constitutes public purpose
  • The current bill legitimises land acquisition of most kinds and by anyone even for private profit, and is only trying to play with language of transparency and fair compensation
  • Agricultural lands of all kinds need to be excluded from acquisition. It is not a question of multi-crop or single-crop, nor is it an issue of amount of compensation
  • The government should not use the ‘principle of eminent domain’ and land acquisition powers to acquire land for Private projects of all kinds and Public Private Partnership projects (PPP)
  • All the 16 central acts, as suggested by the PSC, should be brought under the purview of the new comprehensive legislation
  • The present Bill is strictly a rural displacement related bill, since it completely overlooks the millions of urban working people impacted by urban projects and displacement. This needs to be urgently rectified before the Bill is placed in Parliament.

“It needs to be noted that nearly 100 million people have been displaced since independence and with a dismal 17-20 percent rate of rehabilitation, we had suggested that not only the retrospective application of the provisions of the new act but a National Resettlement & Rehabilitation Commission be established to deal with the claims of the projected affected people from various projects, stated Vimalbhai of MATU Jan Sanghattan, Uttarakhand.

The leaders and representatives of mass organisations who spoke at the Janmorcha included: Shanta Bhatacharjee (NFFPFW, UP), Jagdish Purohit, (Mansi Vakal Band Vistapith Sangarsh Samithi, Rajasthan), Mansaram Bhai (Narmada Bachao Andolan),Kalu Bhai (Chittorgarh, KKMS, Rajasthan), Bhupendra Singh Rawat (Jan Sangharsh Vahini, Delhi & NCR), Aradhana Bhargava (Kisan Sangharsh Samiti, MP), Vijay Sharma, National Hawkers’ Federation, Kolkatta), Devjit Dutt (NAPM, West Bengal),Ganesh (Mansiwakad Dam, Rajasthan), Ranjan Singh (Sita Marhi, Bihar), Ghasi Bhai(Adivasi Kranti Sangattan, Odisha), Rajnish Gambhir (NFFPFW, Khiri, UP), Hansraj Pradhan (Fatehabad anti-nuclear struggle, Haryana), Maharaja Sangram Singh (Kisan Sangharsh Samiti & NAPM), Mangu Singh (Kisan Sangharsh Samiti), Raj Singh Dawas(Bhoomi Bachao Andolan), Rajpal Sewali (Sonipat), Babu Singh Patel (Kisan Sangharsh Samiti, UP), Mohan (Odisha Chas Parivesh Suraksha Parishad) and many Delhi based intellectuals and supporters.

Vijoo Krishnan of All India Kisan Sabha spoke at the gathering in support of demand for a comprehensive bill. The Janmorcha also witnessed a powerful cultural performance by the Delhi based theatre group, Asmita.

For details contact Sangharsh Media team: 

Sanjeev – 99958797409 | Shweta – 9911528696 |Vijayan – 9582862682   

Sangharsh is a struggle platform and process since 2007, comprising of various people movements and national organisations fighting anti- people policies and working towards a just and egalitarian society

c/o: 6/6, Jangpura B, Mathura Road, New Delhi – 110014   # 011-26680914, 24374535 /9818905316

for photos and other details, email : action2007@gmail.com Web : http://napm-india.org/node/326

Our Country is not for Sale !


In opposition to the New Land Acquisition Bill

For Land Rights and Consent of Gram Sabha in Development Planning

Jantar Mantar, New Delhi | 21-22-23 August

Various Programmes, Marches, Demonstrations Across the Country too …

Comrades, Zindabad!

For many years now, the government has been trying to bring in a bill on land acquisition and resettlement and rehabilitation. The country’s farmers, fishermen, landless workers, Dalits, tribals, rural folks and urban poor have been consistently giving their feedback and suggestions regarding this and engaged the government in negotiation on its provisions. The struggles for protection of natural resources continue in every corner of the country. No part of the country has been untouched by people’s struggle including Narmada, Tehri, Damodar, Koel-karo, Singur, Nandigram, Sonebhadra, Chhindwara, Lakhimpur, Bhavnagar, Mundra, Kashipur, Raigarh, Srikakulam, Wang Marathwadi, Fatehabad, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, mining areas of Central India, Mumbai, Patna, Delhi, Bangalore and other urban settlements. The list of martyrs protecting their own land from the government is steadily increasing and the number of our friends in jail is also on the rise. Thanks to mass struggles, the government and corporate interests have not been successful in their nefarious intentions.

As a result of mass struggles, land acquisition has now become a political issue. What we need now is a law that emerges out of political consensus, not a biased pro-capitalist law with a superficial name change that only increases land acquisition. The Ministry of Rural Development has introduced a combined bill and named it “Right to Fair Compensation, Resettlement, Rehabilitation and Transparent Land Acquisition Bill, 2012”. Trying to reflect the commitment of the government, the Bill claims to provide a legal guarantee to project affected people and ensure transparency in the land acquisition process. However; these claims are nothing but empty !

Showing complete disdain the Ministry of Rural Development has rejected the suggestions of people’s movements and recommendations of the all party Parliamentary Standing Committee. Our struggles are not only for protecting land, water, forests and minerals but over the years been proposing a truly democratic Development Planning / Land Protection ActThe government will have to understand that infrastructural development and the foundation of urbanization cannot be laid on the graves of citizens of this country.

We reject the proposals of the Ministry of Rural Development which are in complete contrast with the recommendations of the Parliamentary Standing Committee, such as :

  •  Government will acquire land for private projects and for PPP. We believe government must not have any such role, it can’t transfer the most valuable livelihood resources such as land, water to the profiteering bodies in the garb of ‘public interest’ and ‘public purpose’at the cost of the livelihood of the nature based sections and working class section of society.
  • · Only multiple crop agricultural land will not be acquired. Since, 75% of the agricultural land in India is rain fed and most of it single cropped, mostly held by Dalits, Adivasis and marginal farms and so it t is essential to protect them and all farm land for food security, which comes not from PDS but self sufficient agriculture.
  • The provisions of new act will not apply to 13 out of 16 central Acts including Industrial Development Act, Land Acquisition (Mines) Act, National Highways Act. This means that the forcible land acquisitions and injustices will continue unabated.
  • If the acquired land is not used for five years then it will go to State Land Bank. Concept of land banks are illegal and land unutilised must go back to owners or distributed among landless people.
  • In key decision making bodies and processes, participation and consent of Gram / Basti Sabha is not recognised by the Ministry. We demand that consent and direct involvement of majority of the Gram Sabhas must be there in every project, including public projects for public purpose.
  • The provisions of Act will not apply retrospectively which means nearly 6-8 crore people who have not received proper R&R in various cases of displacement will not get justice. We demand that a National R &R Commission be formed to look in to all unsettled claims of R&R since independence.

Unfortunately, Once again the Bill has no provisions for the Urban Evictions and Displacements …

Neither the Ministry nor the Standing Committee Report has actual looked at the displacement in urban spaces. Most of these are not directly land acquisitions but they are cases of forceful evictions in the name of urban infrastructure development and beautification. We have witnessed large scale demolitions and evictions without any resettlement and rehabilitation in metros and smaller cities as well. In the name of real estate large tracts of land occupied by urban working class is being acquired, negating all provisions of the urban land ceiling act. We demand that let there be separate act which addresses the specifics of the urban conditions and ensure protection of land rights in the urban areas. Since, this Bill fails to deal with the urban situation, let this be called a ‘Rural Bill’ only.

So once again struggling mass movements from across the country will join in theLokmorcha in New Delhi from August 21 to 23. Programs will be conducted by the Gram Sabhas and movements on those very days in respective areas warning the government against bringing anti-people laws and our resolve to protect the country’s natural resources from acquisition for private profit. The government must bring out a white paper with information of usage of all the land acquired since Independence, people displaced as a result, rehabilitation efforts and details of incomplete land reform and only then there can be any discussion on the land use changes even for public purpose. We won’t let the sacrifices of those martyred protecting land, water and forests in various struggles go waste, their families will be part of the country wide events and we will hold the government accountable.

Let us come together at Jantar Mantar, in front of the Parliament; and in our farms, villages, districts, cities and struggle areas and tell the government that we will not allow displacement in the name of development and will not allow the legislation of any destructive or pro-capitalist laws in our name. Do join in force with your banners, flags, slogans, struggle photographs, films, and literature. Let us show the capitalists and ruling classes that sacrifices for community control over natural resources will continue whenever they will attempt forcible acquisition !

We will fight for our freedom, for our community rights!

Required for the program: Volunteers for different tasks and support for food, tent, organising, etc. Please stay in touch for more information.

In solidarity, SANGHARSH members

Medha Patkar – Narmada Bachao Andolan and the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM); Ashok Choudhary, Munnilal – National Forum of Forest people and Forest Workers (NFFPFW); Prafulla Samantara – Lok Shakti Abhiyan, NAPM, Odisha; Roma, Shanta Bhattacharys, Kaimur Kshetra Mahila Mazdoor Kisan Sangharsh Samiti, UP – NFFPFW; Gautam Bandopadhyay – Nadi Ghati Morcha, NAPM, Chhattisgarh; Guman Singh – Him Neeti Abhiyan, HP; Ulka Mahajan, Suniti SR, Prasad Bagwe – SEZ Virodhi Manch and NAPM, Maharashtra; Dr.Sunilam, Aradhna Bhargava – Kisan Sangharsh Samiti, NAPM, MP; Gabriel Dietrich, Geetha Ramakrishnan – Unorganised Sector Workers Federation, NAPM, TN; Shaktiman Ghosh– National Hawker Federation, NAPM; Bhupendra Rawat, Rajendra Ravi, Anita Kapoor – Jan Sangharsh Vahini and NAPM, Delhi; Akhil Gogoi – Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti, NAPM, Assam; Arundhati Dhuru, Sandeep Pandey – NAPM, UP; Sister Celia – Domestic Workers Union, NAPM, Karnataka; Sumit Banjale, Madhuri Shivkar, Simpreet Singh – Ghar Bachao, Ghar Banao Andolan, NAPM, Mumbai;Mata Dayal – Birsa Munda Land Rights Forum and NFFPFW, MP;Dr.Rupesh Verma – Kisan Sangharsh Samiti, NAPM, UP; Manish Gupta– Jan Kalyan Upbhokta Samiti, NAPM, UP; Vimal Bhai – Maatu Jan sangathan, NAPM, Uttarakhand; Vilas Bhongade – Gosikhurd Prakalpgrast Sangharsh Samiti, NAPM, Maharashtra; Ramashray Singh– Ghatwar Adivasi Mahasabha, Jharkhand; Anand Mazhgaonkar, Paryavaran Suraksh Samiti, NAPM Gujarat; Rajneesh, Ramchander Rana, Kadma Devi, Tharu, Aadivasi, evam Tarai Kshetra Mahila Mazdoor Kisan Manch, UP, NFFPFW

For more details contact : – Sangharsh, C/O, NAPM 6/6 Jangpura B, New Delhi – 110014

Sheila – 9212587159/9818411417, Sanjeev – 99958797409, Shweta – 9911528696

email : action2007@gmail.comnapmindia@gmail.com

Brick walled buildings, Monuments that reminds me of my history textbooks faded pictures, Elite malls, green & red buses, super fast Metro transport, a flare of fashion, politics in Jantar Mantar & the ever enlightening India gate… More than all the ‘Aaha’ factors of Delhi, Being a person who lived all her life in another City I definitely raised my eyebrows wide for the “Bus Rapid Transport System” (BRTS) in Delhi.

BRTS has been a controversial project as it is a cutting edge technology that would drastically improve the transport systems of India (So that at least the foreign directors can think of better scenes to portray India than the stereotypical traffic shots where Bus, Auto & Cycle stands perpendicular & create chaos in the main road). While on one side the BRTS makes us raise our collars & keeps the excitement of having a cycle lane high there are a lot of criticisms including the ones like “In BRTS opposed to normal traffic intersections, there are six different movements of vehicles along the arms of the intersection. The two extra movements are that of the buses on the BRT lane, which means that all commuters using the BRT or even passing through have to wait much longer. As the waiting time increases, the traffic tail lengthens much more than it normally would and there is a corresponding ripple effect on traffic,”

While agreeing & understanding the nuances involved in new technologies &  change adaptation & management,  one needs to resort to intensive research & debating.

But, A recent incident came as a shock; you would probably know by this time what I am trying to talk about. For those who are not-  “Around 2 am on 13th May 2012 someone brought bulldozers to BRT corridor and broke about 350m of bus lane median at sheikh sarai and chiragh delhi”. To read more on it



While the case on the disturbances caused due to the BRTS was filed, and the Court has ordered the Central Road Research Institute (CRRI) to conduct further study on the same & the CRRI started the same by trial testing the same. While Col B B Sharan from the NGO called Nyayaboomi not only alleged the DIMTS authorities to destroy the BRTS barricade by claiming himself to be a CRRI member & that he had the court order when actually has the impudence of going ahead & mentioning on the website of Nyaya Bhoomi, the NGO that filed the writ in the first place, the Home Page states that they are carrying out a “crusade” against the BRT and have invited “citizens” to vote on their site. Since the time this was put up (probably about three weeks ago, there have been exactly 42 votes, 26 of them by car drivers and 6 by two-wheeler drivers and only 5 by bus commuters (the rest are others). As expected the cars and two wheelers want the BRT to be abandoned, while the bus commuters want it to stay! Such is the state of participatory democracy in this country!

It’s high time we all wake up to the realities of our lives… We have a lot to discuss debate, understand & fight for as tax payers of the country.

Hope to see you all in the discussion at the Delhi Forum office on 19th May 2012 (Saturday) at 2pm. Dunu Roy (Hazards Centre) & Rajendra Ravi Bhai (INSTITUTE FOR DEMOCRACY AND SUSTAINABILITY) would help us in bringing clarity to the debate on BRTS.

Make sure that you pass on the invite to your friends who are interested to understand the issues around BRTS, Researchers, Students who are working on Urban Development & renewal issues.

Kindly click the links to see a few photographs of the bulldozed BRTS lanes, Letter by Dunu Roy, News on BRT, Cabinet’ Decision on BRT and Summary of record of HCBS meeting.


BRT Letter by Dunu Roy

News on BRT



The address of Delhi Forum office is :

Delhi Forum
Address: F- 10/12, (Basement), Malviya Nagar,
New Delhi INDIA – 110017
Phones: 011-26680883 / 26680914
Near Malviya Nagar Gol Chakkar

NFF Demands separate Ministry for Fisheries at the Centre: 

Delegation meets ministers to demand stopping of anti-fisherpeople projects including Kudankulam Nuke project and the pipeline project in Kerala

New Delhi 17th Dec 2011: A delegation of National Fishworkers’ Forum (NFF) and support groups in Delhi met with the union ministers at the centre and demanded that a separate central ministry for fisheries be immediately formalized by the UPA Government. Speaking to media persons after the meetings, Shri T. Peter, Secretary, NFF reminded the UPA that this was going to be the most contentious issue since Congress and other UPA partners have often supported this demand of fishworkers, without any concrete action being taken to materialize the same. “we demand establishment of a separate Fisheries Ministry in the Government of India as this sector involves more than 25 million people, vitally contributes to the food security of the country and is still neglected”, added Mr. Peter.

The delegation comprised of leaders of NFF, along with Vijayan MJ of Delhi Forum, Madhuresh Kumar of National Alliance of Peoples’ Movements (NAPM), Ashok Choudhary of National Forum of Forest People and Forest Workers (NFFPFW) and Amar of National Hawkers’ Federation (NHF), met with Prof. KV Thomas (In-charge, Minister of state, Ministry of Agriculture), Mr. KC Venugopal (Minister of State, Ministry of Power) and submitted memorandums to Shri. AK Anthony (Defence Minister), Shri. Sharad Pawar (Agricultural Minister) and the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh.

The delegation met with the Power Minister Shri Venugopal to demand that the coastal gas pipeline project in Kerala – from Kochi LNG Terminal to Kayamkulam Thermal Power Plant, be scrapped by the Centre. The delegation briefed the Minister about the threat posed by such a project, since it destroys the sea, the coast and the livelihood of many fishworkers in Kerala’s coast. The Minister assured the delegation that the government will not take any decision that will negatively impact the lives of the fisherpeople of Kerala.

The other demands made by the delegation included:

  1.  Stop Free Trade Agreements and Foreign Direct Investment in retail trade in the Fisheries Sector and that the Fishworkers must be consulted before entering into any trade agreement involving the Fisheries Sector.
  2.  Stop the building of Nuclear Power Plants at Kudankulam, Gorakhpur and Jaitapur.
  3. Stop setting up of thermal power plants with captive ports on the coast and also setting up of new private ports.
  4. Object the imposition of Marine Protected Areas with blanket ban on fishing at Gulf of Kutch in Gujarat, Malvan in Maharashtra, Gulf of Munnar in Tamil Nadu, Gahirmata and Bhitarkanika in Orissa and Sundarban Tiger Reserve in West Bengal; and demand consultation with and participation of the coastal fishworkers in the proposition and management of ecologically sensitive coastal areas.
  5. A comprehensive legislation to rationalize the fisheries sector with reference to fishing vessels, gears, efforts and fish resources ensuring preferential access of small and traditional fishers to the stock of fish in Indian waters.
  6. Ban on Bottom Trawling and Purse-Seining in the territorial waters. In Maharashtra and Gujarat Bottom Trawling and Purse-Seining should be prohibited even   well beyond the territorial waters, where traditional fishing takes place on large scale.
  7. Ratification and implementation of ILO Convention No.188 for Work in Fishing for all coastal fishworkers of the country.
  8. Immediate implementation of Unorganised Workers Social Security Act 2008 with reference to all fishworkers of the country.
  9. Implementation of remaining 40 recommendations of Mandal Commission for Other Backward Classes (OBC).
  10. Implementation of reserved electoral constituencies for coastal fisherpeople as recommended by the Mandal Commission

NFF leaders and support groups were in the city to join the Parliament Rally on the 15thDecember and to also participate in the founding conference of the ‘National Federation of Traditional Workers’, a national coalition force of natural resource based traditional community organisations and working people. The Conference was held at Mavlankar Hall on the 16th of December 2011.

Matanhy Saldanah         Rambhau Patil

Chairperson                            General Secretary


Contact for details: 09868165471



Unified struggles against United aggression:

National Federation Formed to Step up Struggle

To Protect Rights of Natural Resource Based Traditional Communities

New Delhi, December 16 2011: “The fish in the sea would not have been there, if not for the rain, and the rivers, produced by the hills and the forests. The fishworkers of this country cannot sustain ourselves without identifying with and struggling together with the forest people, the handloom weavers, the women vendors, the bamboo workers, etc of this country” T. Peter, National Secretary of National Fishworkers’ Forum said.

Peter was speaking at the national conference of traditional livelihood and natural resources based communities organized today in Delhi’s Mavlankar Hall, aiming at bringing together the diverse groups dependent on natural resources to build a National Federation of Natural Resource Based Traditional Communities and Organizations, at the national level.

“The issue of forest rights for forest dwellers is not that of the last five years. Communities have been demanding it for the last many decades. Having achieved that five years back, what we are facing now is a total failure in its implementation”, K. Krishnan, activist of Adivasi Solidarity Council, Tamilnadu said. “The governments of the left and the right, have failed in catering to the core issues of the traditional working people of the country. We cannot remain silent anymore” he further said.

A growing sense of anger and frustration marked the commemoration of the five years since the enactment of Forest Rights Act 2006. Speakers at the national conference reiterated that themovement to effectively implement the Forest Rights Act is an inalienable part of the struggles for democratic governance.

They said, today the struggle for the implementation of Forest rights is not just important for the forest dependent people or communities, it is equally important for the other natural resource based working people like fish workers, mineral dependents, agriculturalists, bamboo workers, handloom weavers and artisans who are partly or indirectly dependent on forest and other natural resources and also the larger society.

“The challenge before us is to make the government accountable to the people. What it does now is hobnobbing with the corporations, who are bend upon plundering the natural resources, and help them amassing profits. This has to change. The political class should show courage to speak for the people and stand by them,” senior activist Ashok Chowdhury said. “The sea, forest and mountain dwellers’ coming together is not just for the sake of it. It is to move towards making a new world order,” he said.

Large number of adivasis, dalits and traditional workers, representing 18 states attended the national conference. Key speakers at the conference included: Jarjum Ete of Arunachal Pradesh Women’s Commission, Subhash Ghayali of Jharkhand Mines Area Coordination Committee, Guman Singh of Him Niti Abhiyan, Gautam Bandyopadhaya of Nadi Ghati Morcha, Ashim Roy of New Trade Union Initiative, Anuradha Talwar of Paschim Banga Khet Mazdoor Samity, Vasantha of National Adivasi Alliance and Munnilal of National Forum of Forest People and Forest Workers.

“The need of the hour for all people struggling to protect their natural resources is to come together as a federation to coordinate and amplify the struggle in a better way,” Shanta Bhattarjee of Van Sramjeevi Manch, Uttar Pradesh said. “Women needs to be at the leadership of this federation, as women are the ones who bear the cost of losing rights over natural resources disproportionately,” she said.

The call for the Parliament rally yesterday (Dec 15) witnessed support for the cause from different quarters, including political parties, mass movements and organizations from different parts of the country.  At a time when the government is fighting one corruption charges after another, skeletons of its ministers falling from the cupboard, it should not forget the basic rights of the people and the promises made to them, speakers at the rally warned the government.

The national conference was a rare confluence of several movements, the forest struggles, the fishworkers forum, the anti-mining struggles of Jharkhand, the affirmative land struggles from Kerala, UP and AP, the Dalit movements from South and North India, etc. This was pegged as a part of preparing a platform to discuss, share and brainstorm politics, movements, strategies and alliances.

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