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

TRENDING

Noam Chomsky, top scholars ask NRIs to take stand on human rights violations in India

Counterview Desk
Renowned world scholars, including Noam Chomsky, James Petras, Angela Davis, Fredric Jameson, Bruno Latour, Ilan Pappe, Judith Butler, among others, have issued a statement castigating the Narendra Modi government for allegedly creating an environment of fear through arrests, intimidation and violence.

Actionable programme for 2019 polls amidst lynch mobs, caste violence, hate mongering

Counterview Desk
Reclaiming the Republic, a civil rights network, has released a document prepared under the chairmanship of Justice AP Shah (retired) -- and backed, among others, by Supreme Court advocate Prashant Bhushan, bureaucrat-turned-human rights activist Harsh Mander, economist Prabhat Patnaik, Right to transparency activist Anjali Bhardwaj and social scientist Yogendra Yadav  (click HERE for full list) -- with the "aim" of putting forth policy and legislative reforms needed to “protect” and “strengthen” the Constitutional safeguards for India’s democratic polity.

India under Modi "promoted" crony business, protected financial fraudsters, fueled bigotry

By Sandeep* and Rahul Pandey**
Narendra Modi's ascension to power was accompanied with jubilation and expectation. His supporters were expecting an end to era of corruption and initiation of good governance which was described as Achche Din. His party's adherence to idea of nationalism was believed to make India a vibrant country and guide India to be a world leader. He gave the slogan of 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas' conveying that his government was for all.
Corruption The government system is infested with corruption. A minimum of 10% is siphoned off from government schemes and projects, some of which goes back to political party in power and remaining is pocketed by various administrative, executive and political functionaries. This corruption continues and has increased. Now an additional Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) person working as Official on Special Duty or some equivalent position in every government department also has a share in this booty.
The Narendra M…

Inviting Rajapaksa to India "insult" to 1,40,000 Tamils killed by Sri Lankan army

Counterview Desk
In the context of Sri Lankan opposition leader Mahinda Rajapaksa being invited in India, about 75 human rights activists*, claiming to be concerned about rights violations during the civil war in Sri Lanka, especially in 2009, have joined together to express their dissent through a statement.

Modi wants Pak govt be held responsible for JeM terror strike: World doesn't agree

By Sandeep Pandey*
I went to participate in a candle light homage paying event at Dr BR Ambedkar's statue organised by about 200 Dalit students on Hazratganj main crossing in Lucknow on February 16, 2019 evening, two days after the dastardly terrorist act in Pulwana, Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), in which 44 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel was killed.

Post-advisory, Govt of India appears reluctant to ban e-cigarettes, "harmful" to kids

By Rajiv Shah
Is the Government of India dilly-dallying over the issue of banning e-cigarettes, which have been declared by anti-tobacco activists across the world as providing “an entryway to nicotine addiction”, especially among the kids? It would seem so, if the latest developments are any guide.

A Godse legacy? BJP rulers have "refrained" from calling Gandhi Father of the Nation

By Dr Hari Desai*
What an agony! On one hand, the entire India is celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but on the other side, so-called Hindu Mahasabha members have been found mock-enacting the killing of the Mahatma and celebrating the murder by distributing sweets!

No aadhaar, no ration? Hard blow by Gujarat govt on poor and marginalized

By Pankti Jog*
Only those who have aadhaar registration and linked it with ration card will get ration from a Public Distribution System (PDS) shop. This decision of the Gujarat government has hit very badly thousands of poor and marginalized communities of Gujarat, especially during the drought year.

Not just Indian women engineers, men too face sexual harassment at workplace: US study

By Rajiv Shah
A recent research, carried out jointly by two US-based non-profit organizations, Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and Center for WorkLife Law (WLL), based at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, has found that 45% of women engineers as against 28% of men engineers complained that it was perceived as “inappropriate when women argued at work, even when it was work-related.”

Anti-liquor march: Women padyatris "resolve" to occupy Karnataka state assembly

By Abhay, Swarna Bhat*
At a huge public convention held at Siddaganga Mutt on the Republic Day, January 26, 2019, in the presence of Sanehalli Sri Panditaradhya Swamiji, padyatris of the Madya Nishedha Andolana decided to intensify the ongoing liquor ban movement. A resolution passed at the convention, in which thousands of rural women joined in, the marching women declared that on reaching Bengaluru will “occupy Vidhan Soudha” on Mahatma Gandhi’s martyrdom day, January 30.