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

Whither Govt of India strategy to reduce import dependence on crude oil, natural gas?

By NS Venkataraman*  India presently imports around 80% of it’s crude oil requirement and around 50% of its natural gas requirements . As the domestic production of crude oil and natural gas are virtually stagnant and the domestic demand is increasing at around 7% per annum, India’s steadily increasing dependence on import of the vital energy source is a matter of high energy security concern. This is particularly so, since the price of crude oil and natural gas are considerably fluctuating / increasing in the global market due to geo political factors, which are beyond the control of India. India has promised to achieve zero emission by the year 2070, which mean that the level of emission has to start declining at slow and steady rate from now onwards. It is now well recognized that global emission is caused largely due to use of coal as fuel and natural gas as fuel and feedstock. While burning of coal as fuel cause emission of global warming carbon dioxide gas and sulphur

'Blatant violation' of law by Central government in making NREGA payments

By Our Representative  In September third week, NREGA workers across the country were mobilised for two day so raise their issues and submit a memorandum to the Prime Minister. Organised the NREGA Sangharsh Morcha (NSM), a collective of groups that work with NREGA labourers across the country, workers from 13 states -- Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal -- carried out Kaam Do Abhiyaan, staging demonstrations and rallies against what they called blatant violation of law by the Central government in making NREGA payments. While NREGA has had very positive impacts, it has lately become fruitless, exploiting labour, even though workers who have put in honest hard work have to wait for their wages endlessly, it was suggested.  In such a situation, there is a need to firm up NREGA implementation and end systematic corruption to ensure that workers get their basic NREGA entit

Fascism on prowl? Religious meet 'deeply pained' at silence of Church, bishops, priests

Counterview Desk  The ‘Forum of Religious for Justice and Peace’which held its 17th National Convention at the Montfort Social Institute, Hyderabad, Telangana from 22 to 24 September 2022 on the theme “Deepening our Identity as Religious: Responding to the Signs of the Times”, has expressed concern “at the deteriorating situation of our nation on every front”, especially stating, “Fascism seems to have come to stay” in India. At the same time, the convention, which took place with the participation of 60 persons from 16 states representing 20 religious congregations, in its unanimously-adopted statement added, “We have reached abysmal depths on every parameter: be it social, economic and political”, underlining, “The poor in India become poorer every day; the rich and powerful continue to profiteer at their expense and amass scandalous amounts of wealth.” Text: We, members (63 women and men Religious, from 16 states representing 20 Congregations) of the Forum of Religious for Justice

Muslim intellectuals met Bhagwat, extra-constitutional authority 'like Sanjay Gandhi'

By Shamsul Islam*  In a significant development a delegation of five Muslim intellectuals namely former chief election commissioner SY Quraishi; former senior bureaucrat Najeeb Jung; former AMU vice-chancellor and Lt Gen (retd) Zameer U Shah; politician-cum-journalist Shahid Siddiqui (presently with RLD); and businessman Saeed Shervani [Samajvadi Party] met RSS Supremo Mohan Bhagwat at RSS Delhi headquarters. The meeting was kept secret for reasons known to the participants and was held in August. According to the Muslim intellectuals the meeting held in “a very cordial” atmosphere continued for 75 minutes whereas time allotted was 30 minutes! In a post-meeting justification of the parleys Quraishi stated that their main concern was “the insecurity being increasingly felt by the Muslim community in the wake of recurring incidents of lynching of innocents, calls by Hindutva hotheads for genocide and the marginalisation of the community in almost every sphere”. This delegation consistin

Why Bose's India Gate statue suggests RSS, BJP need violence-loving ‘Hindu’ Netaji

By Prem Singh*  In a TV channel debate, a BJP spokesperson and anchor shared and served a lie that Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose's daughter in her letter to the Prime Minister has alleged that the Congress kept devaluing Netaji to further Gandhi's non-violence; because Netaji had taken the path of liberating the country through violence mode by forming the Azad Hind Fauj (INA). They also praised the Bombay Royal Naval Mutiny of 1946 to confirm that the country got its independence through a violent route. I stated that I have read the letter of Netaji's daughter, and there is no such allegation in it. But a lie told in the intoxication of power is bound to be blatant. Netaji's daughter Anita Bose Pfaff, even in the past, has already requested some earlier prime ministers of the country to bring back the mortal remains of her father from Japan to India. In none of the letters she has spoken about devaluation of her father’s role in the freedom movement on the basis of Gandh

'Massive concern for people': Modi seeking to turn India into global manufacturing hub

By Shankar Sharma*  The news item quoting Narendra Modi at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meet, "Want to turn India into a manufacturing hub: PM Modi at SCO Summit" should be of massive concern to our people. One can only continue to be shocked by such policies, which can be termed as ill-conceived to say the least. Without objectively considering the environmental and social impacts on our communities in the medium to long term, such policies will also result in massive economic impacts because a lack of environmental and social perspective cannot be economically attractive either. In order to become the global manufacturing hub, India will have to meet an enormous demand for energy of various kinds, and in order to meet this much energy demand the economy has to manufacture enormous number of appliances/ gadgets/ machineries (to generate and distribute commercial forms of energy such as coal, nuclear, gas, hydro, and renewable energy (RE) sources such as so

Pesticide companies' lobbying 'seriously impairing' basics of governance, regulation

Dr Narasimha Reddy Donthi*  The Indian agricultural sector is grappling with low incomes, shortage of natural resources, increasing pest incidence and low public investments in research and extension. Pest attacks are increasing. Previously unknown pests are attacking crops. Farmers, indebted as they are due to various market mechanisms, are finding it hard to protect their crop investments. Thus, farmers are pushed into the conundrum of pesticide usage by pesticide markets and companies. Pesticide usage in India is increasingly becoming a regulatory problem. Regulation has not been effective in the face of such challenges. Scientific expertise on pesticides is often subsumed in the policy tradeoffs that, in the ultimate scenario, encourage production and marketing of Highly Hazardous Pesticides (HHPs). Expert Committee reports, which are recommending withdrawal of certain HHPs, are not being acted upon. Lobbying by pesticide companies has seriously impaired the basics of governance an

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Is coal import dependence of more than 50% by 2047 of any relevance to India?

By Shankar Sharma*  I have read the article " Building Resilience in India’s Power Sector " by N Vedachalam, released by the Observer Research Foundation, with a lot of interest. I expected it to provide few useful recommendations to our authorities in charting out a sustainable pathway to green energy transition much before the climate catastrophe push our communities to the precipice. But I am sorry to say that the overall discussions or the message implied in the article disappointed me. I was expecting the article, coming from an engineer with past experience in the power sector, to discuss the much needed recommendations to put the power sector on a sustainable developmental pathway. But I could notice mostly technical jargon and a lot of statistical information, which may already be available in the public domain.   The article also seems to have simply accepted what some of the official agencies seem to have indicated as inevitable for the power sector in our country;

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.