Skip to main content

Madhya Pradesh on displacement spree? Independent panel questions "corporate takeover" of natural resources

By Our Representative
More than 500 adivasis, farmers, workers and activists from various mass organizations and movements representing about 25 districts of Madhya Pradesh came together  in Bhopal to represent before a panel of experts on the “ongoing corporate loot and diversion of natural resources” as part of the national campaign begun by the Bhumi Adhikar Andolan (BAA), a new apex body formed to raise grassroots level issues across India.
During the hearing, which took place on November 24, people spoke of “unjust” acquisition of land, multiple displacement and denial of rehabilitation through various projects and interventions of the state government, especially during the so-called ‘golden rule’ of Shivraj Singh Chauhan, over the past decade. The meeting, which took place at Gandhi Bhavan, was preceded by a rally.
Those who participated during the hearing included Badwani, Khargone, Dhar, Neemuch, Gwalior, Vidisha, Sidhi, Singrauli, Bhopal, Satna, Anuppur, Shahdol, Alirajpur, Rewa, Mandla, Jabalpur, Katni, Panna, Umariya, Bhind, and Morena.
The BAA, which seeks to present an alternative developmental model and has been formed with the active help of prominent social activist Medha Patkar-led Narmada Bachao Andolan, said in a statement that people’s representatives “spoke about their grievances, with sharp analysis on the status of displacement and rehabilitation in the state.”
Panel of five eminent citizens which heard the representations included Arun Gurtu, Former Director General of Police, Madhya Pradesh; Rajesh Joshi, Hindi writer, poet, journalist and playwright, who returned his 2002 Sahitya Academy Award recently; Prof Suresh Mishra, former professor of history, Bhopal, and chief patron, Global History and Culture Review Project, Central Indian Historical Research Foundation; and others.
“The panel heard more than 50 depositions for over five hours from various people affected by large dams, thermal power plants, nuclear plant, canals, reservoirs, national parks, sanctuaries, highways, private and public sector companies”, the statement said.
Medha Patkar speaking at the Bhopal meet
“The panel concluded that there was gross violation of the laws and directions of the Supreme Court and the High Court, non-consultation with the Gram Sabhas as per PESA Act, 1996, prioritization of corporate interest over the common citizenry, shoddy rehabilitation, serious impacts on the environment as well as pauperization of the adivasi, dalit, women, working and farming communities”, it added.
While Prof Mishra read out from the Interim Report of the Panel to the audience, Gurtu stated that “this is certainly not the kind of development envisioned by the Constitution-makers, where 80% of the population is further marginalized.”
During depositions, Navratan Dubey of Mandla talked about the serious impact of the Chutka Nuclear Power Plant; and Shanno Mansuri of District Dhar spoke of the massive displacement of 2.5 lakh people due to the Sardar Sarovar Project, and false claims of rehabilitation and resettlement (R&R) leading to denial of land and poor status of R&R sites.
Further, Sunder Singh Baghel, Sidhi pointed towards the multiple displacement for the Ram Sagar Dam, Dudhi Coal Mine, and Sarai Thermal Plant; Sanjay Namdev and Ramlallu Gupta of Singrauli complained against the NTPC, the JP-owned and other Thermal Plants leading to severe health impacts, water and air pollution, soil contamination etc.
There were depositions on displacement of 40 villages due to bird and wild life sanctuary near Gwalior, the displacement of farmers due to the Mosaber Company, the struggle of forest dwellers and tribals for pattas and serious impacts of power companies on agriculture and environment, diversion diversion of irrigated land and water from Maan Dam to the Aditya Birla Ultratech Cement Company.
The representatives also spoke about the struggle of farmers against forced land acquisition for cement plants and other private companies in Jalasore, displacement without rehabilitation of 162 villages affected by Bargi Dam, displacement in the name of smart cities and beautification, impact on slum-dwellers, hawkers in Indore, Bhopal, Jabalpur and other cities, and so on.

Comments

TRENDING

Amit Shah 'wrong': Lack of transparency characterized bank frauds, NPAs, jobs data

Counterview Desk
India's senior RTI activists Nikhil Dey, Anjali Bhardwaj, Venktesh Nayak, Rakesh Reddy Dubbudu, Dr. Shaikh Ghulam Rasool, Pankti Jog and Pradip Pradhan, who are attached with the National Campaign for Peoples' Right to Information (NCPRI), have said that Union home minister Amit Shah's claim that the Government of India is committed to transparency stands in sharp contrast to its actual actions.

Untold story of Jammu: Business 'down', students fear lynching, teachers can't speak

By Rajiv Shah
A just-released report, seeking to debunk the view that people in Jammu, the second biggest city of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) after Srinagar, people had gone “out celebrating” abrogation of Article 370 which took away the state’s special status, has reported what it calls “abominably high levels of fear” across all sections in the town.

Kashmiris in a civil disobedience mode, are going against 'diktat' to open shops

Counterview Desk
A team of concerned citizens, including Ludhiana-based psychiatrist and writer Anirudh Kala, Mumbai-based activist and public health professional Brinelle Dsouza, Delhi-based journalist and writer Revati Laul, and social activist Shabnam Hashmi, travelled to Kashmir and Jammu to understand the impact of the abrogation of Article 370 and the subsequent security clampdown and communication blockade on the lives of the people of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).

Gujarat's incomplete canals: Narmada dam filled up, yet benefits 'won't reach' farmers

By Our Representative
Even as the Gujarat government is making all out efforts to fill up the Sardar Sarovar dam on Narmada river up to the full reservoir level (FRL), a senior farmer rights leader has said the huge reservoir, as of today, remains a “mirage for the farmers of Gujarat”.
In a statement, Sagar Rabari of the Khedut Ekta Manch (KEM), has said that though the dam’s reservoir is being filled up, the canal network remains complete. Quoting latest government figures, he says, meanwhile, the command area of the dam has been reduced from 18,45,000 hectares (ha) to 17,92,000 ha.
“According to the website of the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd, which was last updated on Friday, while the main canal, of 458 km long, has been completed, 144 km of ranch canals out of the proposed length of 2731 km remain incomplete.
Then, as against the targeted 4,569 km distributaries, 4,347 km have been constructed, suggesting work for 222 km is still pending. And of the 15,670 km of minor canal…

Ceramic worker dies: 20,000 workers in Thangadh, Gujarat, 'risk' deadly silicosis

By Our Representative
Even as the country was busy preparing for the Janmashtami festival on Saturday, Hareshbhai, a 46-year-old ceramic worker from suffering from the fatal lung disease silicosis, passed away. He worked in a ceramic unit in Thangadh in Surendranagar district of Gujarat from 2000 to 2016.
Hareshbhai was diagnosed with the disease by the GCS Medical College, Naroda Road, Ahmedabad in 2014. He was found to be suffering from progressive massive fibrosis. He is left behind by his wife Rekha sister and two sons Deepak (18) and Umesh (12),
The death of Hareshbhai, says Jagdish Patel of the health rights group Peoples Training and Research Centre (PTRC), suggests that silicosis, an occupational disease, can be prevented but not cured, and the Factory Act has sufficient provisions to prevent this.
According to Patel, the pottery industry in the industrial town of Thangadh has evolved for a long time and locals as well as migrant workers are employed here. There are abou…

Cess for Gujarat construction workers: Spending less than 10%; no 'direct help' to beneficiaries

By Our Representative
While the Gujarat government’s Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board, set up in 2004, as of March 31, 2019, has collected a total cess of Rs 2,097.62 crore from the the builders, it has spent less than 10% -- Rs 197.17 crore. And, as on May 31, 2019, the total cess collection has reached Rs 2,583.16 crore, said a statement issued by Bandhkam Majur Sagathan general secretary Vipul Pandya.
Pointing out that just about 6.5 lakh out of 20 lakh workers have been registered under the board, Pandya said, vis-à-vis other states, Gujarat ranks No 13th in the amount spent on the welfare of the construction workers, while 11th in the amount collected.
And while the builders are obliged to pay just about 1% of the total cost of their project, the calculation of the cess is flawed: It is Rs 3,000 per square yard; accordingly, Rs 30 per square yard is collected. “Had the cess been collected on the real construction cost, it would have been at least Rs 7,000 cr…

Success of 'political' Hinduism: Kashmiris being depicted as antagonists of rest of India

By Anand K Sahay*
There are times in history when facts call attention to themselves; they assert their independence in all its amplitude and are in no need of the crutch of interpretation. Such a moment is visible in Kashmir now. Merely by being on the table, the facts there taunt the regime’s proclamations.

Gujarat CM aide 'doubts' authenticity of Gandhi article published in 'Harijan'

By Rajiv Shah
A top aide of Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani has doubted the authenticity of the article written by Mahatma on Gandhi January 27, 1948, three days before his death. Hitesh Pandya, who was assistant public relations officer (PRO) under Narendra Modi’s chief ministership in Gujarat, and is currently serving as PRO of Rupani, has said, there is “reason to doubt”, since the article appeared on February 1, 1948, two days after Gandhi’s assassination.

Why nobody objected to Gautam Gambhir, Sunny Deol in t-shirt, jean?: Activists

By Our Representative
Mimi Chakraborty and Nusrat Jahan’s excitement on their first day as MPs was overshadowed by a barrage of sexism over their ‘non- sanskari’ outfits, a group of civil society activists have said in a statement. According to Aarushi Nigam, Divya Kaushik, Riya Sharma, Ruman Ganguly, and Anulekha Agarwal, both Bengali actors and first-time MPs "were certainly excited to take them on when they posted pictures from their new workplace on social media."
Hit by misogynistic comments, the activists say, "Their choice of workwear – jeans and a white button-down shirt for Mimi, a wine-coloured peplum suit for Nusrat – was the first and last word on their political competence for many."
“You’re not on vacation”, “they have mistaken Parliament for Kolkata’s Nicco Park or City Centre”, “this is not a photo studio, this is a place where you should fight for people’s rights and legislate”, “keep some respect towards your Bengali society” were some of the &quo…

Australian protesters picket, stop work of Adani contractors for Carmichael coalmine

By Our Representative
Australian protesters have stopped work at the Mackay office of piping company AC Whalan, demanding the company withdraws its tender from Adani’s controversial Carmichael coalmine mine.Twenty-year-old Lisa Amato locked herself to the gate of the facility, while a group of 30 people formed a picket line. Adani is a top Indian tycoon close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The group say they have information that AC Whalan have put in a tender for Adani’s polyethylene pipe contract, though the company have not publicly announced. Spokesperson Donna Smit said, “AC Whalan have not publicly declared their interest in Adani’s Carmichael mine, understandably because the majority of Australians do not want this climate destroying mine.”
“The message we are sending to AC Whalan and all other companies involved with Adani is that we have our eyes on Adani’s contractors. With the effects of climate breakdown being seen right now across this country, any company that hopes to…