Skip to main content

China-based multilateral bank keeps out people's groups from urban consultation ahead of Mumbai annual meet

Proposed smart city Dholera off Ahmedabad:
No space for urban poor
By Our Representative
Gujarat's civil society groups have strongly protested against their exclusion during consultations, currently being held in different parts of the country as part of preparations of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank's (AIIB's) second Annual Governors' Meeting in Mumbai on June 25-26 in Mumbai. The consultations in Gujarat are to be held in a top Ahmedabad hotel on April 19-20.
Formed outside the Bretton Woods framework, which led to the formation of the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, AIIB mainly seeks to fund infrastructure projects in the Asia-Pacific region. China has 26% stakes in AIIB, followed by India, 7.5%. Headquartered in Beijing, in all, it has 64 members, while another 20 are its prospctive mmbers. The United States is not an AIIB member.
Talking with mediapersons in Ahmedabad, Krishankant of the Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS) said, the exclusion of urban poor groups and civil society in consultations "shows a trend of opacity, non-transparency and indifference to the concerns of various sections of society which inhabit a city."
"India, as host country, is holding a number seminars across the country, of which the seminar on urban development is being organised in Ahmedabad on April 19 and 20. The organisers of the conference have not extended invitations to civil society organisations or social movements who are actively working for equitable, inclusive and sustainable cities", he said.
The proposed bullet train
Pointing out that this type of approach is in line with the new Government of India thinking, of not involving people who might be affects because or major infrastructure projects, senior farmers' leader Sagar Rabari of the Khedut Samaj Gujarat said, "Farmers of Gujarat and Maharashtra to be affected by the proposed Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project are not being consulted for acquiring land."
To be funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the bullet train project, said Ashok Shrimali of the mines, minerals & People (mm&P), is being implemented when the Maharashtra government has come up with a notification that no social impact assessment (SIA) is needed for acquiring land for project, the Gujarat government has declared no SIA is required for it.
Krishnakant informed media, "It was only after JICA said it's terms of funding require strict social and environmental impact assessment, a private consultant, Arcadis, was appointed for holding consultations, which were held in Vadodara, Nadiad and Bharuch, but without the participation of stakeholders. Even government officials were not present."
Regretting that AIIB does not even have this requirement, Krishnakant said, those holding its consultations in Ahmedabad should remember that "the issue of urban development is not about creating investment opportunities for corporates but about securing the rights and livelihoods of people who are living in those cities whose voices are not being considered in the planning of city development."
The proposed Andhra capital Amravati
"A large number of questions are being raised by various groups across the country regarding massive investments which at one hand will create huge public debt and on the other hand does not ease living for the masses living in those cities and to the contrary, displace, disposes and derecognise their genuine voices", he insisted.
Thus, Krishnakant said, "The support to Amravati state capital for Andhra Pradesh by AIIB without considering the effects of such massive development project on the environment and livelihoods of the people or addressing their problems is a case in the point. It could not put together a comprehensive complaints mechanism of its own and policies that will guide their investments and have started funding projects."
Against this backdrop, ahead of the AIIB's Annual Governors' Meeting in Mumbai on June 25-26 in Mumbai, he said, civil society groups across the country will "assemble in Mumbai on June 21-23 demanding accountability and reiterate their vision of an equitable society differing from the versions of international financial institutions which opens the planet and people for further destruction."
Rabari added, "Finance driven unequitable and unsustainable projects have posed in many problems to society and the government. Gujarat is no exception to this. Its people's groups have resisted undemocratic consultant-driven urban development, whether it was Mandal-Bhechraji Special Investment Region (SIR) or Dholera SIR, or city development in Surat, Navsari, Bardoli and Morbi. We propose to be part of the protest in Mumbai."

Comments

TRENDING

Why do I lend my support to voices protesting world class renovation of Gandhi Ashram?

By Martin Macwan* One would not expect an activist working on Dalit rights to join such a protest. Dalits carry unhealed trauma that Gandhi caused to Dr BR Ambedkar and the Dalit cause of effective political representation by using violent means of his own definition in the event of the Poona Pact. This apart, Gandhi’s ideas in general, which changed often, on caste were orthodox. I have nothing to add to the subject after the sharpest critique offered by Dr Ambedkar.

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".

Inaccurate gender-relevant data 'spoiling' government policy on Covid social impact

By Simi Mehta*  The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has been different across vulnerable groups. They were hit by the pandemic at various stages, whether it was accessibility to medical treatment or financial support. The second wave witnessed human suffering at a level where one can never forget the traumatized faces of people due to the inaccessibility and unavailability of essential medical services such as hospitals beds and oxygen. The probability of the third wave has also been one of the major upcoming challenges.

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.

Flamboyant 'demagogues' adjust politics, personality in shadow of democracy

Modi, Erdogan, Bolsonaro By Ajit Singh The terms dictators and demagogues are used interchangeably in various contexts, but there is a difference. The former rule over a totalitarian states where governments are able to exercise complete influence over every aspect of citizens’ life, whereas the latter are a "wannabe dictators" but due to the system of checks and balances they are are not fully capable to create police states.

Vindictive raids? Centre 'retaliates' after Delhi govt child rights body's clean chit to ex-babu

By Our Representative  Over 700 academics, advocates, activists, civil servants, writers, film makers, journalists, musicians and artists have condemned the raids by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on the offices and private home of top IAS bureaucrat-turned-human rights and peace activist Harsh Mander, stating, the aim is nothing but to “harass and intimidate” him.

Protests break out as school going children 'branded Naxalites, taken prisoners'

By Sheshu Babu* Conditions in all spheres of life is going from bad to worse. On September 13, Political Prisoners' Day was observed. On that day, Jatin Das, friend of Bhagat Singh and member of the Hindustan Republican Socialist Association, passed away after 63 days of hunger strike. He demanded 'political prisoners' status to those who have been jailed by the state.

Celebrating birthday amidst image of 'coerced, submissive' India ruled by a strong leader

Pushkar Raj*  As the weeks long birthday festivity of the leadership was being rejoiced India wide, the Covid was still raging in several parts of India. The carnival was in line with the post-Covid decisions and actions of the leadership demonstrating a pursuit of personal power and glory instead of national interest in times of disease and death.

Catholic women warn: Kerala Bishop turning Church into puppet in political games

Counterview Desk A group of Catholic women under the banner Concerned Catholic Women of India has said that they are deeply concerned over "a bishop’s controversial statement" which may threaten communal harmony in India. As many as 89 Catholic women from across India have urged the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India and its Kerala unit to take special steps to "foster peace and avoid strife."

No space for 2 lakh waste pickers in Delhi masterplan for next two decades: Study

By Our Representative  A new survey report prepared by the NGO Chintan Environmental Research and Action Group on the challenges faced by waste pickers in managing solid waste in Delhi, “Space for Waste - 2021”, has regretted that currently, there is no provision of workspace for waste workers, hence they carry out their work of segregation, repairing, and composting at different locations.