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Archive for August, 2012

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

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Our Country is not for Sale !

Janmorcha

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

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