Skip to main content

Andhra govt, Centre pushing for Polavaram project, setting aside Dalit, Adivasi rights in scheduled areas: NGO panel

An agricultural field proposed to be acquired
By Our Representative
A fact-finding committee, which visited the Polavaram Multipurpose Project-affected villages in Andhra Pradesh recently, has in its preliminary report said that land acquisition for the project is being carried out "without settlement of forest rights of thousands of adivasis as per the Forest Rights Act (FRA), 2006, and the Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation (LARR) Act, 2013".
Also noting "problems in the allotment of land for the displaced Dalits and Adivasis, lack of grievance redressal systems, poor rehabilitation facilities and weak monitoring", the committee has said, it can confirm the "numerous complaints of legal and procedural violations, corruption and irregularities in the land acquisition and rehabilitation process."
The committee noted that it is gravely concerned over "the scale of displacement, particularly of Adivasis and Dalits in the constitutionally protected Schedule-V area", adding, "The Central government, along with the Andhra Pradesh government, must assume full responsibility to safeguard the rights and interests of all the affected people, before racing ahead with engineering works of the project."
Jointly organized by the National Alliance of People's Movements, Adivasi Sankshema Parishad, Andhra Pradesh Vyavasaya Vruttridarula Union, Rythu Swarajya Vedika (RSV), and the Human Rights Forum, the committee visited villages Errapadu and Reddygudem in Upperu panchayat, as also Vinjaram, Koida, Parentaalpalli, and Singanapalli resettlement and rehabilitation (R&R) colonies.
The committee consisted of Prafulla Samantara, recipient of the Goldman Environment Price, 2017; Sharanya Nayak, social activist from Koraput, Odisha; Babji Juvvala of the Andhra Pradesh Vyavasaya Vruttidarula Union; Kaki Madhu of the Adivasi Sankshema Parishad, Andhra Pradesh; Meera Sanghamitra, human rights activist; independent journalists Malini Subramaniam, among other.
Following an interaction with chairperson of the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) and the Union water resources secretary, under whose charge the Polavaram Project is being monitored as a 100% Centrally funded project since 2014, Samantara told news person in Delhi that they have demanded "a full-fledged judicial inquiry into the nexus of middlemen and officials who are allegedly "swindling huge chunk of the rehabilitation money and the state exchequer."
R Shridhar of the Environics Trust, who accompanied him, said, Poalvaram was a classic case wherein "without an unambiguous clearance from the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) as per the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification, 2006, and public hearings in all affected areas, the project works are going ahead with least regard to the enormous scale of social and environmental impacts."
Sanghamitra told newspersons that, as per the records of Andhra Pradesh, 372 villages are slated to be submergence and a total of 1,06,798.63 acres of land in East Godavari and 51,858 acres of land in West Godavari is being acquired for the project. "The Centre, along with the recently constituted Inter-Ministerial R&R Monitoring Committee of Government of India, are legally mandated to ensure that LARR Act and FRA Act are fully implemented before acquisition and submergence".
"As the supreme constitutional custodian of the rights of adivasis in Schedule V areas, and Polavaram being a National Project, the President is directly responsible for the well-being of the one lakh adivasis in the region", said Vimalbhai of the Matu Jan Sangathan. He added, "The Centre must play a very proactive role in monitoring the overall project and not merely the engineering works."
If social worker Bapji Juvvala stated that locally they have "unearthed evidence of numerous instances of corruption, in which many middlemen, officials and political party leaders are involved", with the state government remaining "completely nonchalant", Krishnanaveni of Darbagudem panchayat noted, the state was trying to create conflict amongst adivasis by ‘rehabilitating’ some project affected adivasis on the lands of other adivasis.

Comments

TRENDING

ISKCON UK 'clarifies' after virus infects devotees, 5 die due to big temple meet

By Rajiv Shah
The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), United Kingdom (UK), has admitted that at least 21 of its devotees were infected because of the spread of the coronavirus amongst the UK devotee community following the March 12 funeral and March 15 memorial of the Bhaktivedanta Manor temple president, in which about 1,000 people participated. Regretting that five of the devotees have passed away, the top Hindu religious in Britain body does not deny more may have been infected.

As corona virus 'travels' to rural areas, NGO begins training tribals, marginalised women

By Souparno Chatterjee*
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared corona virus a pandemic. Originating from Wuhan in China, it has traversed the entire globe, almost, and claimed more than 16,000 lives already. That’s largely the urban population. In India, despite all the preparedness and war-like promptness to safeguard against the pandemic, several lives have been lost , and hundreds of individuals have tested positive.

Idea of fair, tall, customized baby "rooted" in Nazi Germany, RSS' Golwalkar wanted crossbreeding with Brahmins

By Our Representative
Facts have come to light suggesting that the RSS’ experiment to have “fair”, “tall” and “customized” baby has an interesting Gujarat connection: It was first reportedly floated by its topmost ideologue Guru Golwalkar way back in 1960 while giving a lecture in Gujarat University.

COVID-19: Dalit rights bodies regret, no relief plan yet for SCs, STs, marginalized

By Our Representative
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the National Dalit Watch-National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights, endorsed* by several other Dalit rights organizations, have insisted, the Government of India should particular care of the scheduled castes and tribes, trans folks, persons with disabilities and the women and children from these communities, while fighting against COVID-19 pandemic.

Coronavirus scare ‘pushing’ people from Northeast India into more hardship

By Rishiraj Sinha, Biswanath Sinha*
“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background or his religion. People learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” – Nelson Mandela
***

Gujarat govt plan to 'banish' Gandhian activist anti-democratic, unconstitutional

By Rohit Prajapati*
The current Central and Gujarat governments, and their bureaucracy, have been and are still unable to answer and address the concerns raised, with facts, figures, and constitutional provisions, regarding the terror of tourism in the name of the Statue of Unity and tourism projects surrounding it.

Mallika Sarabhai releases speech she was 'not allowed' to give at NID Convocation on Feb 7

Counterview Desk
The National Institute of Design (NID) in Ahmedabad, a Ministry of Commerce and Industry body, landed itself in controversy following its decision to put off its 40th convocation ceremony, where noted danseuse Mallika Sarabhai was invited as chief guest. The ceremony was scheduled to be held on February 7.

Rani Laxmi Bai, Tatya Tope 'martyred' by East India Company, Scindia's forefathers

By Our Representative
In an email alert to Counterview, well-known political scientist Shamsul Islam has said that was “shameful for any political party in democratic India to keep children of Sindhias in their flock” given their role during the First War of Indian Independence (1857). In a direct commentary on Madhya Pradesh Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia moving over to BJP, Prof Islam has quote from a British gazetteer to prove his point.

Gujarat construction workers walk home as Rs 2,900 crore welfare fund lies unused

By Our Representative
Situated behind the Gujarat University, some of the families of the migrant construction workers from Dahod and Panchmahals districts of Gujarat, and a few from Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, who had stayed put in make-shift shanties in Ahmedabad’s sprawling GMDC Ground, have begun a long journey, by foot, back to their home villages in the eastern tribal belt of Gujarat.