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Anti-ADB protests begin across India: Planks include loss of livelihood of indigenous people, eco-destruction

By Our Representative
People’s movements and civil society organizations have begun a series of protests against the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB’s) across India to protest against what the organizers call “gross human rights violations, loss of livelihood, and environmental destruction caused by the its development model.”
To end a week later, on May 7, kick-starting the campaign, the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), the apex body of several mass organizations of the country, has collected statements by several senior activists, and distributed their video.
Planning over 100 actions of protest in 21 states, the programmes are geographically spread out from Bilaspur in Himachal Pradesh to Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala, Mundra in Gujarat and Dibrugarh in Assam. The Peoples’ Forum against International Finance Institutes (IFIs) is coordinating the programmes.
Shaktiman Ghosh, general secretary of the National Hawker Federation, a trade union conducting some of these programmes said in his video message, “The model of development pushed ahead by ADB resulted in the loss of livelihood and forced eviction, pushing people to poverty, contradicting ADB’s stated motto of fighting poverty.”
“In urban areas”, Ghosh said in a, released by NAPM, “The hawkers are most badly hit. With increasing privatization of services, even the middle class has not been spared.”
Manshi Asher of Himdhara - Environment Research and Action Collective said in her video message, “ADB needs to seriously review its push for hydro-projects in India, particularly in the Himalayas, in the name of clean energy program in the light of the adverse environmental and social fallouts of its projects and the complete failure of its safeguard policies in this context.”
Commenting on the Coastal Gujarat Power Ltd (Tata Mundra) a $4bn, 4000 MW coal based thermal power plant in Kutch, Gujarat, co-financed by ADB, Dr Bharat Patel of the Machimar Adhikaar Sangharsh Sangathan said in his In a video message, the ADB is “causing damage to people and environment.”
Dr Patel said, this is “confirmed by its own accountability mechanism, Complaiance Review Panel. The project has violated ADB’s policies on consultation with communities, the sanctioning of the project was based on erroneous social impact assessment and due to the project the fish catch has reduced drastically, threatening the livelihood of thousands of fishworkers.”
In a separate statement, Ratika Yumnam of Indigenous Perspectives, Manipur said, “ADB’s investments are resulting in undermining local governance bodies and other traditional institutions”, adding ADB’s development model is “arrogant”, as it is leading to “destruction of cultures and communities by way of bulldozing rights and beliefs of the indigenous peoples of North-East.”
Leo Saldhana of Environmental Support Group, Bangalore, said, “ADB has always played the role of influencing a form of development that ensures revenue from loan recipient countries flows out to the coffers of countries that control the bank's stocks.”
He added, “ADB pushed for Metro projects in India, and after these super-expensive mega projects were well on their way but without serving the real need – of addressing public transport, the bank backed out.”
“The way had already been paved of Japan Bank and JICA to step in to finance the Metro project, as is the case in Bangalore”, Saldanha said, adding, “Interestingly, the project has 300% cost over-runs and is yet not functional. Meanwhile, the entire city has been reduced to a mess of what it was before: India's 'garden city', but not anymore!”

Comments

Uma Sheth said…
Of late I have been quite pessimistic about the country uniting as one people but this article fills me with a faint hope. The ride towards this unity may not be smooth--in India, that is too much to expect--but at least it has brought the people together and hopefully this will pave the way to an understanding of each others' life styles and thinking. 👍

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