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DELHI SOLIDARITY GROUP

MEMORANDUM

  5th September 2012

To
Sh. Shivraj Singh Chauhan,
The Chief Minister,
Madhya Pradesh,
India
(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)

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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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