Skip to main content

Bullet Train: Govt of India "no" to farmer leaders, environmentalists, local body reps in stakeholder consultations

By Our Representative
The Government of India’s special purpose vehicles (SPVs), created for the proposed Bullet Train between Mumbai and Ahmedabad, is learnt to be keeping out environmental activists, experts, farmers’ representatives and local body elected representatives from participating in crucial stakeholders’ consultations, currently being held along its 300 km route in Gujarat and Maharashtra.
Several civil rights leaders in a letter they have shot to the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Tokyo, which is funding the project, have said, by a way of example, how “the recent announcement for the stakeholder consultations for districts of Navsari and Valsad (both in South Gujarat) specifically mentions in a published invitation in local newspapers that ‘unauthorised people would not be allowed at the consultation’.”
“We fail to understand what criteria are prescribed under JICA guidelines to segregate attending stakeholders as authorised and unauthorized”, the letter wonders, adding, “From the manner in which the stakeholder consultations are conducted it appears that these are just paper arrangements, with no serious concern to the society and environment.”
Telling JICA that ultimately these types of consultations would reflect on its reputation, the letter says, the SVPs -- National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL) and the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail Corporation Limited (MAHSRCL), backed by consultants of the Bullet Train project, Arcadis  -- announce “consultations on a very short notice to the concerned stakeholders”, with “advance notice period have varied from 24 hours to few weeks.”
Newspaper ads seeking to keep out
"unauthorised" persons from consultations
Signed by a half-a-dozen civil rights leaders, the letter has been sent to Shinichi Kitaoka, president, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Tokyo, which if funding the project, with copies to its South Asia in charge Junichi Yamada, and JICA’s India representative, telling them that this “anti-people” attitude is a matter of “serious concern”. 
Signed by Krishnakant Chauhan Rohit Prajapati, Swati Desai, Parth Trivedi, Anand Mazgaonkar and Jayesh Patel, the letter insists, “There is no coherent approach to announcement of stakeholder consultations. At times they are announced for district level and sometimes they are conducted for taluka level.”
Further pointing out that “there is no clarification as to stakeholders invited to the consultation should represent on social concerns or environment”, the letter states, it seems, there is an effort to “purposely create confusion.”
According to the letter, “Two different public advertisements are published by NHRSCL at same venue and same timing, but for different purpose. In case of Environmental Consultations the Supplementary Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) copies are kept for public viewing at different places which are sometimes hundreds of kms away at offices of NHRSCL.”
Noting that “the nearest place being the district collector’s office, which in some cases is about 30 kms away”, the letter says, “The supplementary EIA copies are conspicuously made available only to certain chosen districts, while in some districts there is no mention of the EIA or a copy made available for public.”
“Most of the reports are available in English language, while they should be made available in local vernacular language for the public to be able to read through and understand”, the letter states, adding, “Farmers (who are mostly illiterate or semi-literate) are disallowed to raise questions/queries.”
The letter underlines, “The queries raised during the consultations are very casually addressed and there is no written response to the submissions or oral queries raised at the consultations”, adding, “The minutes of the consultations are not made public, nor is the video documentation is made public.”

Comments

Anonymous said…
this country is becoming like a dictatorship--ask no questions and you will be told no lies; ask questions and you are putting your life at risk

ALSO READ

India failing to dictate diplomatic preferences of Nepal, Bhutan, is unfairly blaming Beijing: Chinese daily

By Our Representative
In a sharply-worded editorial, a top Chinese media outfit, described by BBC as state-run, has said, commenting on India's foreign relations with its neighbours, that "speculation and suspicion" is "certainly not diplomacy". Published in "China Daily", the largest circulating English Monday-to-Saturday newspaper with branches across the world, the editorial notes (September 20) that "several recent events" in Nepal and Bhutan, are "gnawing worrywarts in New Delhi".
The editorial -- which comes close on the heels of a sharp critique of India's foreign policy in a state-supported Russian media outfit, Sputnik International, calling India's anti-Pak diplomacy as having "gone awry" following Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "half-baked" push for anti-terror drill down "others' throat" -- says, the " worrywarts" include "Nepalese troops taking part in a joint…

Accused of being RSS plant, Modi man, Hyderabad Urdu varsity chancellor asks President to probe "irregularities"

Counterview Desk
Refused entry in the Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU), the central university's newly appointed chancellor Firoz Bakht Ahmed, who claims to be grand nephew of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, has, in a letter to the President of India, said that MANUU vice-chancellor (V-C) Dr Aslam Parvaiz has accused him of being an RSS plant and a Modi man, whose sole aim is to "interfere in the working of the university".

Ahmedabad, GIFT, Adani city get 1.68 lakh acre ft Narmada water; Gujarat's rural areas just 4.27 AF: Letter to CM

Counterview Desk
Well-known farmer rights leader Sagar Rabari, in an open letter to Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, has demanded a transparent account of Narmada water, saying, while he has received a "routine reply" from him to his earlier, the data emerging from his RTI application show huge quantity of water being directed to Ahmedabad, the 10 km stretch of Sabarmati for the Ahmedabad riverfront, and nearby elite urban areas, including the Adanis' Shantigram township and GIFT City.

17 lakh Jharkhand elderly, widows, differently abled do not receive pension: Public hearing told, aadhaar is a hurdle

By Our Representative
Hundreds of elderly, widows, single women and differently-abled persons from different districts of Jharkhand gathered near the Raj Bhavan in Ranchi for a public hearing organized by the Jharkhand Right to Food Campaign and Pension Parishad demanding the right to universal social security pensions ahead of World Elderly Day on October 1.

Ethnocide in Caribbean island filmed following award winning docufilm on Jamaica's anti-colonial Indian roots

International awards winner for Best Feature Documentary Linda Aïnouche for “Dreadlocks Story” (2014), which shows how Indians are entangled in the Jamaican society, and how Hinduism was a source of inspiration for the Rastafari movement, is all set to release her new documentary, “Marooned in the Caribbean”, which aims at documenting the awful desolating living conditions that Raizal people, the native inhabitants of San Andres Archipelago, endure.
Sons of slaves, these islanders have fallen prey to what the Colombian government calls Colombianization. “It’s a process”, according to her, “which kills the Raizal culture; it’s the killing of the Raizal soul. Colombianization subjugates Afro-descendants of San Andres to an ethnocide.”

Explorer, director and producer, Linda Aïnouche writes exclusively for Counterview: ***
Nobody escapes from blood and thunder in Colombia, and definitely not in the archipelago of San Andres, situated closer to Managua and Kingston than Bogota. The Raizal p…

India to deport Rohingya refugees, as the world moves towards prosecuting Myanmar for genocide

By Tapan Bose*
Seven Rohingya Muslims refugees who were held at a detention centre in Assam since 2012 will be handed over to Myanmar. The Supreme Court of India has refused to stop their deportation. The new Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gagoi said, "We are not inclined to interfere on the decision taken".

An elite Kutir set up by Modi far from the "madding" crowd: This Gandhi museum is formal, unapproachable

By Rajiv Shah
Have you ever heard of a Gandhi museum, sough to be projected as the “largest” on the Mahatma, yet totally inaccessible, in sharp contrast to Ahmedabad’s humble, approachable and unassuming Gandhi Ashram on the banks of Sabarmati, set up by the Mahatma during the heydays of the freedom movement? It exists about 30 kilometres away, its idea was conceived by none other than a person who has today become even more inaccessible than he ever was: Narendra Modi, India's Prime Minister.

History less known: Kasturba's role as an independent woman and a freedom fighter in her own right

By Nandini Oza*
Even the most deserving of women do not find a place that equals their worth in history. Kasturba is one such woman whose contribution to India’s struggle for freedom has been exemplary, and yet, it has not received the recognition it deserves. Kastur Makhanji Kapadia was born in the year 1869, the same year and in the same town of Porbandar in Gujarat as Gandhiji. In fact she was older than Gandhiji by a few months.

Hyderabad-based Urdu university "bars" entry of its new chancellor, who had "initiated" reforms in institute

Counterview Desk
In an unusual controversy, Aslam Parvaiz, vice-chancellor of of the Hyderabad-based Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU) has restricted the entry of its newly appointed Chancellor, Firoz Bakht Ahmed, allegedly because he was trying to initiate reforms, including setting up of a Maulana Azad Center for Composite Culture and Progressive Studies, Model Madrasa, Center for Empowerment of Muslim Women, Course for the Development of Legal Vocabulary and Legal Consciousness in Urdu, and so on.

Poor response to tenders for Gujarat's bid for the world's tallest statue, no international firm shows interest

By Our Representative
The Gujarat government’s claim that its decision to build the world’s highest statue in the world, in the memory of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, would attract “tremendous” response top international construction companies, has gone phut. The state government floated international tenders in August to build the statue, which is slated to be 182-metres high. Despite the “international” character of the tenders and big claims, well-informed Sachivalaya sources close to Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi say, “not one international firm has come up to offer to carry out the construction activity.”