Skip to main content

In a new turn, protesters oppose ADB proposal to fund smart cities, as they have "no space" for street hawkers

By Our Representative
Nationwide protests against the Asian Development Bank's (ADB’s) 50 years of “inequitable” and “unjust” development, which began on May 1 (click HERE), has taken a new turn, with people’s organizations terming smart city and other urban beautification projects funded by ADB and other international financial institutions (IFIs) “anti-poor.”
Hawkers’ organizations have said, their livelihood would be snatched. Apprehending that proposals would include imposing huge user charges on hawkers for a space to sell their goods in smart cities, Anita Das, general secretary of the All-India Women's Hawkers Federation, wondered, "From where the poor vendor will pay a penalty of Rs 500 for selling their goods when they sell goods worth less than Rs 500 per day?"
According to reports, ADB has agreed in principle to set aside $1 billion for extending loans to the smart city projects.This follows a Government of India’s suggestion to the cities in the first list of 20 smart cities to quickly apply for funding from international bodies, including the World Bank, ADB and the BRICS Development Bank.
Protesters belonging to the National Hawkers’ Federation in Ranchi, Secundarabad and Kolkata organised similar actions of resistance – ranging from human chains and demonstrations to public meetings - to raise voices against forced eviction of hawkers and roadside vendors.
According to Das, city administrations, in the name of beautification and smart cities, are harassing hawkers. "In recent times, they are being jailed for days and charged with the provisions of deterring public servant from discharge of their duty," she lamented.
Pointing towards lack of transparency and accountability, and impunity enjoyed by ADB and other IFIs, the demonstrators said there was nothing to celebrate on the 50th anniversary of ADB during annual meetings being held in Yokohama, Japan.
Anti-ADB protests are being coordinated by the Peoples' Forum against ADB, and are part of over 120 actions of resistance observed across the country, in the current week across 21 states of the country to highlight what they considered “gross human rights violations, loss of livelihood, and environmental destruction caused by the inequitable, unjust development model being pushed by ADB and other IFIs.”
Programmes are being held by civil society organisations, trade unions, women organisations and people's movements such as National Hawkers’ Federation, National Fishworkers’ Forum, National Alliance of People’s Movements, Environment Support Group, Delhi Solidarity Group, Bargi Bandh Visthapit Sangh, Jharkhand Mines and Area Coordination Committee, Chhattisgarh Nagarik Manch, and Machhimar Adhikar Sangharsh Sangathan.
Programmes are being held in metros like Kolkata and Bangalore as also remote parts like villages in Belghana block of Chhattisgarh, with the common thread being “anguish” against the development model, being “peddled” by IFIs.
In the buffer zone of the Achanakmar Tiger Reserve in Chhattisgarh, people protested at the Belghana block of Bilaspur district under the leadership of Susheela Baiga and Indumati Uraon against displacement and social alienation, caused by the construction of the dam and other infrastructure projects in the buffer zone of the protected area.
“The villagers are angry as they are being displaced while the tourism industry is promoted in the region with ADB funds,” said Devjeet Mandi, co-convenor of the All India Forest Movements Forum, who is also part of this movement.
In Jammu & Kashmir, people organised meeting and demonstration at Kathua, Jammu, Chinai, Battote, Bhadarwa, Doda and Rajouri and raised social and environmental impacts of the projects being run or proposed in the state. Programmes were also organised in Andhra Pradesh, Jaipur, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Assam and Manipur.

Comments

TRENDING

Green revolution "not sustainable", Bt cotton a failure in India: MS Swaminathan

Counterview Desk
In a recent paper in the journal “Current Science”, distinguished scientist PC Kesaven and his colleague MS Swaminathan, widely regarded as the father of the Green Revolution, have argued that Bt insecticidal cotton, widely regarded as the continuation of the Green Revolution, has been a failure in India and has not provided livelihood security for mainly resource-poor, small and marginal farmers.
Sharply taking on Green Revolution, the authors say, it has not been sustainable largely because of adverse environmental and social impacts, insisting on the need to move away from the simplistic output-yield paradigm that dominates much thinking. Seeking to address the concerns about local food security and sovereignty as well as on-farm and off-farm social and ecological issues associated with the Green Revolution, they argue in favour of what they call sustainable ‘Evergreen Revolution’, based on a ‘systems approach’ and ‘ecoagriculture’.
Pointing out that Evergreen Revol…

Rejoinder: Inescapable to have Central Water Commission as strong technical body in India

By BN Navalawala*
This is with reference to Counterview Blog (December 5, 2018), "Modi govt 'shelves' water reforms report, shows 'no interest' in its recommendations", below mentioned are my comments/observations thereon:
A committee was constituted under the Chairmanship of Dr. Mihir Shah, Former Member, Planning Commission, for restructuring of Central Water Commission (CWC) and Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) for optimal development of water resources in the country in the backdrop of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM).

Some Hindu bodies in US defending BJP-RSS' divisive, violent activities: Agnivesh

Counterview Desk Last week, Washington DC saw speakers at a religious freedom roundtable, chaired by the US Ambassador for Religious Freedom, Sam Brownback, express concern over "eroding" space for religious freedom in India. Dr Mike Ghouse, executive director, of the Center for Pluralism in Washington DC, referring to the roundtable, said in an email alert that Indian-Americans have "a moral duty to prevent India from being labeled as a Country of Particular Concern by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF)".

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Preventing childhood deaths: India performs worse than Bangladesh, "equals" Pakistan

By Rajiv Shah
A just-released study, “The Pneumonia and Diarrhea Progress Report 2018”, prepared by the International Vaccine Access Centre (IVAC) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, has identified India among 15 other countries which are still far off the mark in achieving the targets of the Global Action Plan for the Prevention of Pneumonia and Diarrhea (GAPPD).

India's rewritten textbooks talk of demerits of democracy, praise Hitler, underrate Mughals

Counterview Desk
A detailed, 3,800-word review of the books rewritten under directions of the BJP rulers across India since Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in May 2014 has suggested that one of aims of the books is to instill a sense of doubt about India’s democratic polity among the country’s young minds. Reviewed in the prestigious US journal, “The New York Review of Books”, in its latest issue (December 6, 2018) by Alex Traub, the scrutiny insists, the effort has also been to paint Indian history from the angle of “Hindu triumphalism”, even as creating “Islamophobia”.

Govt of India "tarnishing" NGO reputation, dossier leaked selectively: Amnesty

Counterview Desk
Amnesty International India has said that a deliberate attempt is being made to tarnish its reputation by leaking a dossier, supposedly made by investigating agencies, to media without giving it access to any such information. The high profile NGO’s claim follows a Times Now report about proceedings launched by investigative agencies, including Enforcement Directorate (ED) against the rights body for “violations” of rules pertaining to overseas donations.

Four children die after poor UP Dalit, Muslim families forced to flee to forest area: PVCHR

Counterview Desk
Peoples’ Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR) has said that the forest department police’s crackdown, allegedly without any prior notice, on Dalit and Muslim households in Dakhin Tola, Churk Bazaar, Sonbhadra district, Uttar Pradesh, beating up “children and old people, women, and men in an inhuman way”, has led to “forced displacement, starvation and discrimination”. This has reportedly affected about 350 people.

Social workers, architects, students, historians, common people come together, protest "politics" of renaming Ahmedabad

By Nandini Oza*
No sooner did the BJP leaders of Gujarat announce the intention of changing the name of Ahmedabad to Karnavati just before Diwali, on November 7, 2018, many people’s mood changed from festivity to heated debate and furor across the state. For many of us, an online petition, initiated by Bandish Soparkar, on change.org protesting name change came to immediate rescue.

Vedanta is out but corporate loot continues in Odisha: Local activists tell NAPM yatra

By Our Representative
Lok Shakti Abhiyan leader Prafulla Samantara, winner of the Goldman Environmental (also known as Green Nobel) Prize in 2017, has regretted that though Sundergarh in Odisha, like other forest areas, is a fifth schedule area, where Forest Rights Act (FRA) and Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act (PESA) is applicable, but these laws are being “outrightly violated to facilitate corporate loot.”