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When The Farmers Go Marching In……

Lakhs of farmers to bring their protest to New Delhi on Nov 29

 NEW DELHI: Some say this world of trouble
Is the only one we need
But I’m waiting for that morning
When the new world is revealed

When the revelation (revolution) comes
When the revelation (revolution) comes
Oh lord I want to be in that number
When the farmers (saints) go marching in

The old Louis Armstrong number could have been written for India’s farmers who have been on the road for the past few years – from protests to arrests to police firing and deaths to long marches – for rights and justice. A waiver of the crippling loans that have added to the numbers of farmers’ suicides across the country and remunerative prices as per the Swaminathan Committee recommendations are the two demands that the government at the centre has dismissed as a state subject, regardless of the fact that the states do not have the inclination or the resources to alleviate deep agrarian distress.

The struggle has coalesced into a joint forum, the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) bringing at least 200 farmer organisations together. And under this aegis lakhs of farmers will be marching to Delhi from all corners of India, collecting at four different points in and around the city, and then proceeding to the Ramlila grounds on November 29. Here they will be joined by as many farmers joining in directly, and will stay the night, with several artists participating in a cultural programme to do with the agrarian crisis, and the farmers demands.

On November 30, the farmers will march in unity from the Ramlila grounds to the Boat Club lawns. Permission for the same has been sought; if denied the farmers will go instead to Parliament Street. But march we will, the organisers said, and make those in power feel the pressure from the agrarian sector that has been severely discriminated against by the government and policy planners.

Farmers in fact are emerging as the bulwark of unity, for not just the opposition parties but those who want to preserve the Idea of India based on democracy and secularism. The movement has been linked to democratic values with the farmers standing for unity, regardless of religion and caste. All India Kisan Sabha president Ashok Dhawale told The Citizen that the emphasis would remain on farmers’ demands, which they know can be realised only through unity. “They know they have to reject the politics of divisiveness and come together en masse,” Dhawale said.

Enthused by the recent convention in Mumbai where opposition leaders including the Nationalist Congress Party’s Sharad Pawar came together on one platform, Dhawale said that political change is crucial for farmers. On November 30, the farmers will be addressed by a host of activists, scholars and others working on agrarian unrest in the first session. The second will see all opposition parties who support the farmers’ demands come together, in what will clearly be the first positive glimmerings of unity in the run up to the Lok Sabha polls.

In that sense the unity will be agenda based, with all those participating in the Kisan Mukti March agreeing to make the agrarian crisis central to their agendas and campaigns.

Interestingly, as many as 21 opposition parties have already declared their support for two private member bills introduced in the Lok Sabha by farmers’ leader Raju Shetty, and in the Rajya Sabha by CPI-M MP KK Ragesh. The first bill is titled Liberation from Death, and the second would mandate remunerative prices at one and a half times the cost of production. And, as Dhawale said, the opposition has agreed to discuss all other issues to do with the “unprecedented” agrarian crisis, asking for a special three-week session of parliament to focus on the farmers in the specific and larger context of their existence.

A charter of demands will be released on November 30 with the political message, Dhawale added, that Prime Minister Narendra Modi heads the most anti-farmer and pro-corporate government since India gained indendence. At the same time it will make “a spirited appeal to all farmers to unite against communalism and casteism and be warned of competitive communalism, such as the Ram Mandir ploy, to divert attention from corruption as in the Rafale deal and the adverse impact of measures like demonetisation.”

The coordination committee has approached all farmers’ organisations, including the Bharatiya Kisan Union which has yet to respond. Recently farmers under the aegis of the BKU from western Uttar Pradesh were stopped at Delhi’s borders amidst anger and some violence.

Farmers have been very active in organised protest in Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu to name just a few states. On August 9, the anniversary of the Quit India movement, over five lakh farmers courted arrest in 410 districts of India demanding justice and rights. The All India Kisan Sabha was at the forefront of this movement.

It has been estimated that approximately Rs 15,000 crores are required to waive all farmers’ loans.

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India – People being starved to death by the Govt. in the name of Aadhaar and DBT

Samvidhan Samman Yatra after travelling through 11 states in 31 days entered into third phase, starting from Jharkhand


People being starved to death by the Govt. in the name of Aadhar and DBT


The Land of Aadivasi getting looted by the state in the name of Mines, Industries and Land Bank


NAPM condemns the state repression on Pathalgarhi movement and Human Rights Defenders and asserts the Constitutional rights of Gram Sabhas


Govt. on spree to kill Democracy, Dissent, and Diversity in the state; People of Godda resisting against Adani Power Plant


Another starvation death of an Adivasi in Dumka today; Application for Ration Card still pending in the Govt. office


Ranchi, Jharkhand: After successfully completing Yatra in two-phases, 11 states, Samvidhan Samman Yatra begins Phase 3 Yatra from Jharkhand State and will travel through Odisha, West Bengal, Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Saharanpur, Muzaffarnagar, and finally culminate in Delhi on 10th December on International Human Rights Day.


People of Jharkhand have witnessed aggravated state oppression in the last 2-3 years, where adivasis of the state have been fighting against loot of natural resources, against land acquisition, dilution of CNT-SPT act, fighting against hunger deaths, human trafficking, and many more such issues.


Since last two days, Yatra has travelled to Malhar Toli, Ramgarh, Badakagaon, Ranchi, Nagri, Ulihatu, Khunti, Angrabari, Lachragarh, Simdega to listen to people’s plight facing forced displacement, starvation deaths, industrial pollution, imposition of Aadhar based Direct Benefit Transfer, atrocities unleashed in Adivasis areas, human rights violations etc.


Malhar Tola, Ramgarh

On 11th November, Yatra started from Ranchi taking leaders from different parts of country to Malhar Tola, Ramgarh. Basant Kumar Hetamsaria, NAPM Convener from Jharkhand, briefed the activists about the issues recalling the fact-finding done by the NAPM few months back. Chitaman Malhar died due to lack of food security and a complete failure of social welfare schemes in the village. The village shows the true face of state govt towards importance of people’s lives. A very few people are covered under any social welfare schemes. Majority of families do not have ration cards, NREGA cards, pensions etc. It was after the fact-finding organised by NAPM, we got to know that the situation is far worse and death of Chitaman Malhar is not due to his inability of availing social security schemes but a complete failure of administration and neglect towards people by the state.


Samvidhan Samman Yatra reached the village and interacted with the villagers. People in large number welcomed the activists and vowed to organize and struggle for their rights.


Prem, Chitaman’s son, told the activists that the death of his father was only due to hunger and nothing else. Govt. tried all means to subvert the reasons and just after his death, officials rushed to the village and distributed ration cards to few families. We are facing starvation since long but never any govt. officials paid any attention to our village.


Santoshi, another villager, shared that they have to walk more than 2 Kms to fetch water. We don’t have basic amenities, deprived of food, water, and shelter and Govt. How can we even imagine about cooking gas or electricity? We don’t have resources to make toilets and Govt. never paid any attention to this. They may be claiming that Ramgarh is a model in Swacch Bharat but you all can see the realities we are facing.


Activists expressed solidarity with the people and assured to raise the issues in national platforms. Team also noted that Supreme Court directions on Right to Food are being grossly violated by the state in this region and is highly condemnable.



Jugra Village, Badkagaon, Hazaribagh

Badkagaon in Hazaribagh district is an epicenter of intense land struggle in coal-rich state. Since more than a decade, farmers and India’s largest power producer, NTPC have been locked in a conflict here. While the NTPC wants to take over the land and mine coal for its power plant, the people in Badkagaon refused to sell their land and move away.


The yatra visited some of the families, whose members were brutally gunned down around 2 years back. Mithilesh Dangi from Karanpura Bachao Sangharsh Samiti, said the struggle is to save the land and livelihood of 295 villages in the valley which are endangered by coal mining by NTPC and other corporations.


Devdas, a local activist, said that RSS and sangh organisations distribute weapons to increase conflicts, and we distribute thoughts, and peaceful ways of struggle for our constitutional rights.


People can easily see the spread of coal dust on the standing crops, devastating the local agriculture and ecology of the region. The environmental regulations are being violated at each and every moment. The area witnesses the presence of wildlife species which were not even considered before the allocation of coal blocks. The Govt. is sold to corporates and not seeing anything beyond their profits.


Majority of elders from the village along with young members joined the meeting. Yatra expressed deep concerns and lend solidarity to their struggle.


Public Meeting in Satya Bharti, Ranchi

In the evening, a public meeting in the context of Constitutional rights, systems and ground realities was organised, where NAPM released a book edited by Basant Hetamsaria on hunger deaths in Jharkhand in the presence of well-known activists like Fr. Stan Swamy, Jean Dreze, Dayamani Barla, Aloka Kujur, Gabriele Dietrich, Suniti S R, Basant Hetamsaria, Rajendra Ravi, B. S. Rawat, Meera Sanghamitra and many others.


Meera Sanghamitra introduced the activists travelling with the yatra and briefed people on how the constitutional rights are being violated across the country. The state is hell bent on creating a private government ruled by corporates and hate mongering communal forces. The secular, democratic, diverse frame of the country is under grave threat and we all need to fight back to regain peace, natural resources, and our rights. 


Basant Hetamsaria after the release of book said that there have been more than 61 deaths due to hunger since 2015. Among those 18 were happened only in Jharkhand. The Govt. have been denying the constitutional rights to the people by not ensuring food security to the people. The people do not have ration cards and who have those are being denied in the name of Aadhar, and DBT. Nothing can be more heinous than this where the govt. whom we elect to ensure our constitutional rights is starving people to death and violating the article 21 of Right to Life outrightly.


Dayamani Barla, a well-known leader fighting against atrocities on Adivasis and land acquisition, said that the state has always been ignorant towards aadivasis and dalits. They have only one motive to facilitate the corporates in amassing their wealth and appropriate the natural resources in aadivasi areas.


“Hunger deaths are an issue across the nation and not just in Jharkhand. It is a failure of the government. Almost half of the deaths happened as their ration cards were not linked to Aadhar and other technical issues. It is also a failure of society, where we see in one case that a dalit person died due to hunger”, said John Dreze, a well-known economist and social activist.


Aloka Kujur shared her experiences on how governments are chasing human rights defenders and putting false charges to put them behind bars. Since 2017, the governments have been hyper actively creating an atmosphere of terror. State came down heavily on Pathalgarhi Movement, where people write down their constitutional rights on stone and place that at important places in their villages for awareness and assertion of their rights. State government was in fear of losing the control over resources and under the pressure from corporates, accused many leaders of Pathalgarhi movement with false police cases to suppress the movement.


The government does not want to implement pro-people laws which guarantees and protects people’s rights and claim over resources. The constitution needs to have provisions to defunct such governments or representatives.


Gabriele Dietrich, a social activist and well-known academician from Tamilnadu said that we were hopeful of adivasi leadership in Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh. We are up against corporates which are appropriating the resources and livelihoods of people. As we saw in Thoothukudi, they are also turning murderous, it is high time we all unite and expose the corporates hiding behind state governments.


Fr. Stan Swamy reflected that in the present time, we may be going through increased repression on adivasis and activists, but there is also an increase in intensity of struggles and movements. People are fighting for their rights more strongly and at many places. We will fight and we will win.


During the late evening, activists gathered at Bagaicha where Fr. Stan Swamy briefed about the history of Jharkhand and betrayal by those in power after the formation of state. Govt. have not been able to distribute land pattas to the people. They are calling Pathalgarhi movement, a criminal conspiracy. More than 3000 adivasi youth are behind bars when they stood for their rights and development in their areas. We also know how the government is framing the activists from other regions in Bhima Koregaon incident when the Hindutva groups are enjoying the free pass from the police and the governments. This cannot continue for long. Adivasis will stand strong and will reject the state repression. The state is unleashing violence on all kinds of movements, be it against displacement by dams, against land acquisition for corporates, for land rights under FRA, against changes in pro-people, pro-adivasis laws like CNT-SPT act and many others. Police opened fire on a meeting of more than 5000 adivasis opposing displacement by a dam. The corporate greed has corrupted the government to such extent that people are merely being treated as an object. Movements across the state are coming together and making efforts to fight against the money and muscle power of state and corporate nexus. We need such yatra more in today’s context which is making people aware about their constitutional rights, sharing experiences from other parts of the country, and listening to the people’s issues.


November 12, 2018

On 12th November, the Yatra reached Chette village in Nagri. Basant Hetamsaria briefed activists about the struggle. The people opposed Direct Benefit Transfer successfully and in doing so set an example for others. The people had to travel to Ranchi to get the money from the banks and then purchase the ration, which used to take at least a day or two.


Birsa, one of the villagers, shared that majority of the people are workers and thus incurred a huge loss while doing all this. People protested and fought a successful struggle against the imposition of DBT.


Suniti S R from the yatra, said that as the people of Chette village has fought and won, we need to take inspiration and share the experiences with each other. We need to know about how we won in Lavasa, and still fighting in Narmada Valley.


After interaction with villagers, Yatra moved ahead and a team of leaders joined the press conference organised in Ranchi. Basant Hetamsaria, NAPM Convener, Jharkhand briefed the journalists about the yatra. He said that we have seen the realities of Govt. claims in Ramgarh. People are being deprived of basic necessities forcing them to die due to hunger and abject poverty.


“We are raising our voices against the destruction happening in the name of development. There is a wave of corporate loot of natural resources, communal harmony is being meddled with. We firmly believe that Samta, Sadagi, and Swavalamban can only be the true face of development”, said Suniti SR from NAPM Maharashtra. She also reflected on the aspirations of people during formation of Jharkhand state. People thought of land distribution and receiving livelihood but now we can only see the betrayal from the government and leaders of the state.


Gabriele Dietrich from NAPM Tamilnadu said that there is a contestation over land between companies and local people on a wider scale. People are being denied ration and they are dying of hunger. This is quite shocking in a country where more than 40% of crops are getting wasted.


“The government has been trying to dilute protections provided under the schedule areas and land acquisition act of 2013. If the government continues the repression, then we are also standing strong and will continue to resist”, said Meera Sanghamitra from NAPM Andhra Pradesh – Telangana.


In the evening, Yatra was welcomed in Khudda village of Khunti district in local adivasi tradition. Adivasi Moolnivasi Astitva Raksha Manch and Netarhat Firing Range Sangharsh Morcha together organised the public meeting in the village and briefed the activists about the issues.


“We have a tradition of resisting any kind of oppression and fight for our rights and dignity. Our leader Birsa Munda and others fought against the Britishers and East India Company’s repression. Taking inspiration from our leaders, we also successfully fought against Arcelor Mittal steel company. The language and adivasi culture are closely linked with Jal, Jangal, Jameen. CNT-SPT Act proved to be protecting our rights over resources”, said Dayamani Barla.


She also said that the current Govt and corporate nexus is trying hard to change the laws and grab our land and our resources. They have created land bank system which is actually a direct appropriation of our lands. In the name of Digitalisation of land records, our commons are getting lost. A 3-kms wildlife corridor is proposed here, through which the government is trying to evict people and destroy the symbiotic relationship between the community, forest and wildlife. Village leaders and adivasis are being put in jail and being blackmailed to part away from their land. How is the East India Company, Britishers, and Indian Govt is different? They were against aadivasis before and still doing the same.


Meera Sanghamitra said that the government is taking the wealth of the common people and letting the rich and corporate to accumulate. They are violating the directive principles of our Constitution which talks about working towards reducing the economic disparity. Raghubar Das, chief minister of the state, has wrongly made himself the head of the tribal council and is misusing the position to handover the tribal lands to corporations. Adivasis have lived in harmony with the nature since centuries. Govt. is letting the company to intrude in the forests conserved by the people here and destroy the dense and diverse forests along with rivers. The government has still not ready to recognize the rights of Gram Sabha in truest sense giving them the autonomy to decide for their own development. Our constitution has empowered Gram Sabhas higher than the Lok Sabha, which is still a distant dream in reality.


The government is taking route of communal conflicts. We must resist these attacks and fight to assert the peace and harmony again. We reject any kind of domination over the people by the state. The state must work with the people recognizing their rights over resources, over their own lives and livelihood.  


Lachragarh, Simdega

In the late evening, yatra visited the Lachragarh village where an 11-year old girl, Santoshi, died of starvation. Her family were denied the ration after making Aadhar mandatory for availing the PDS. Koyli Devi, mother of Santoshi, was also present in the meeting and expressed solidarity to the yatra.


Taramani, a Right to Food Campaign activist, said that she had been raising the issue of starvation deaths in the area since long time with the district administration but the government did not respond in time. Santoshi would have been alive if they would have listened to her and taken measures to provide food security to the villagers.


Prafulla Samantara from Lok Shakti Abhiyan said that industrialization is not going to solve our problems of hunger and poverty. We have to protect land and livelihood from corporate giants. Wherever the land has been taken for industries, it has never benefitted local people. Youth are still waiting for employment promised to them.


When Santoshi died, mother in law of Medha, a villager from Lachragarh village, was suspended on the false allegations that Santoshi had malaria and not treated by her. State have been brutal first in killing people in various ways and then subjecting others on false allegations.


Yatra is going to travel through various places in Odisha till 15th November and interact with movements in Niyamagari, Jharsuguda, Sambalpur, Bhuvneshwar etc. Leaders like Prafulla Samantara, Lok Shakti Abhiyan, Odisha; Gabriele Dietrich, Penn Urimay Iyakkam, Madurai, NAPM Tamil NaduRajendra Ravi, National Cyclists Union, NAPM DelhiAmitava Mitra, Transport Workers Union, NAPM West BengalSuniti SR, Tata, Lavasa, Wang Marathwadi Struggles, NAPM MaharashtraBhupendra Singh RawatJan Sangharsh Vahini, NAPM, DelhiSunita Rani, National Domestic Workers Union, New DelhiMeera Sanghamitra, NAPM Andhra Pradesh – TelanganaRohit, Narmada Bachao Andolan, Madhya PradeshVijay, Jan Jagaran Shakti Sangathan (JJSS), Araria, BiharDoli, Jan Jagaran Shakti Sangathan (JJSS), Araria, BiharZainab, Humsafar, Feminist group, Lucknow, Uttar PradeshAfroz Jehaan, Yuva Tarang, LucknowYuvaraj Gatkal, Activist, NAPM MaharashtraAbhishek, Student Activist, Vidrohi Group, KolhapurAkshit, Guhaar, New DelhiAman, Guhaar, New DelhiAnup, Dynamic Action, Kerala;Sameeksha, Activist, MaharashtraMashusudan, Social Activist, Ganjam Dist, OdishaAryaman, New DelhiAryan, Chandigarh, Punjab are travelling in the yatra.

In Jharkhand, Fr. Stan Swamy, Adivasi Rights and Human Rights Defender, BagaichaDayamani Barla, Adivasi Moolnivasi Astitva Raksha Samiti; Vasvi Kiro, Independent Journalist and Former Member, Jharkhand Women’s CommissionBasant Kumar Hetamsaria, NAPM JharkhandAshok Verma, NAPM JharkhandPrem Prakash Verma, Jharkhand Alternative Development ForumLeo Singh, Social Activist, RamgarhRaju Vishwakarma, Social Activist, JharkhandAloka Kujur, Independent Activist, WSS and NAPMVishwanath Azad, Hazaribagh; SharikBalram SinghSatish GuptaManjuAnnaAkash; and many others joined the yatra and extended their support and solidarity to the objectives of Yatra


Samvidhan Samman Yatra


We are standing at crossroads and passing through a critical juncture in India’s history and have a historical responsibility to save and salvage the ethos of this country, to fulfill the dreams of social, economic and political justice that Dr. Baba Saheb Ambedkar envisioned. There is an overwhelming urgency to come together, beyond diversity of perspectives, to safeguard the constitutional values and principles of humanity, based on social justice, liberty, equality, fraternity, scientific and rational thinking in the social psyche to deal with all these political, economic, social, cultural challenges. The need of the hour is to create understanding and tolerance in society, by peaceful, democratic and constitutional means. It is equally vital to aim for economic equity, social parity, environmental protection, sustainable development, establishment of people’s rights over access of resources and annihilation of caste and patriarchy.


It is with this urgency and spirit that National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) has, after numerous discussions,  planned to embark on a Samvidhan Samman Yatra – a nationwide tour to restore and protect the core values of our Constitution and democracy, at a time when there is an all-out attack on the Constitution, people’s rights, livelihoods, environment and the spirit of diversity in the country, even as massive scams, resource loot and dilution of laws are taking place and farmers, workers,

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In Mumbai life is not safe even Outside Shiv Sena Bhavan

In Delhi authorities seem to have at least some understanding of the need for promoting public transport and to discourage private cars. This seems to be sorely lacking in Mumbai.

Air pollution is now so bad in Delhi that the chief of the Environment Pollution Control Authority, senior administrator, Bhure Lal, warned that from November 1 the authority may have to ban private cars in the capital. It is not easy to enforce such a measure given the clout of the car lobby and motorists.But there is at least a realization that car use needs to be curbed.

As coincidence would have it on November 1 the Mumbai administration, on the other hand, showed its servility to the car lobby with an advertisement in Mid-day newspaper for a contract for an underground car park at a cost of Rs. 87 crore at tax payers’ cost. Ironically, the municipality wants to build it below the historic Patwardhan park named after a renowned socialist of old days, Raosaheb Patwardhan.

The government and the civic body are doing this even while they are seriously depriving bus users of elementary facilities by shutting several bus routes, terminating some half way, denying financial support to the BEST bus undertaking. The worst is the robbing of land of bus depots and commercializing it when the need for a growing city is to acquire more land.

Delhi has done a lot to acquire more land for bus stations while Mumbai is hell bent in reducing it causing misery to bus users.

The underground car park is apparently meant to boost the business of most luxury goods shops on Linking Road which have become mere showrooms where customers are conspicuous by their absence.. These are a waste of precious urban space. The car park will also help the new Bal Gandharva auditorium built by developer Raheja which has 40 car parking spaces and apparently it wants more. This is an absolute white elephant created out of a nice, open air theatre which was here till the seventies. It was a citizens’ property, handed over on a platter to a big builder which serves little public interest. .

Besides, for the sake satisfying the ego of a few rich shoppers who want to buy from luxury shops and to promote car sales huge public funds are to be spent and also at a heavy social cost as the public space will be lost to the public for a long time during construction.

The civic authorities and politicians have shown a pathetic lack of understanding the basics of transport needs. Western countries have learnt their lesson and they are now providing less and less space for parking of cars. Our rulers constantly talk of Shanghai, Hong Kong and Singapore unaware that parking is very costly in the last two cities, it costs much more than the cost of very luxurious cars.

And here in Mumbai our administrators want to squander public resources on private cars while denying basic needs of ordinary commuters, humiliating common people.

In a city desperately short of space, the administration first allowed a drive in theatre for motorists on 20 acres of prime land in Bandra east and then illegally granted permission for commercial development of the land. It is so serious that the issue is now to be investigated by the anti-corruption bureau.

A childish argument is made every time that since there is such a big increase in the number of cars, there should be more car parks and parking spaces in the city. These wiseacres never say that since there are more people in need of buses and so many pedestrians we should provide more buses and footpaths for them. On the contrary, these anti-people elements want to reduce facilities for common people. Besides, if parking is to be provided for every car, there will be no open space left in Mumbai for children to play, citizens to walk.

While the government is senselessly inflicting increasing motorization it has failed in its basic duty to create vehicle testing tracks. Having squandered all public space and given it to private developers, the government now wants to encroach on bus station premises and grab a big chunk of space there for these tracks. Despite repeated warnings from the high court the government has failed to act and it has cut a sorry figure. Now it wants to use the space of the Deonar BEST bus depot and of Nehru Nagar S.T. bus depot in Kurla for vehicle testing which shows an utterly bankrupt public policy mindset, preying on facilities essential for needs of public transport.

The government is literally playing havoc with people’s lives, robbing them of every conceivable part of land and water resources. An utterly irresponsible move to allot 17 acres of wetlands for a golf course and towers for the rich was fortunately turned down last week by the Bombay high court.

Are our administrators even aware that golf courses are an environmental disaster even though they look very green ?

The game of robbing the land of BEST buses for private benefit dates back to the eighties though it accelerated in the last few years.

Dr Y.T. Oke, a renowned campaigner against noise and pollution, had challenged the commercial development of the Andheri west bus station way back in 1982. He won in the high court but the Supreme reversed the high court judgement.

So a good portion of the bus station space is now lost to a commercial complex. One can see it as one steps out of Andheri west railway station with big boards of coaching classes.

The anti people policies are visible everywhere.. I was walking by the bungalow of the chief justice of Mumbai high court at Narayan Dabholkar road on Malabar hill recently.

On the other side of the road is the bungalow of the state transport minister Diwakar Raote and further beyond is the bungalow of the legislative council chairperson Ramraje Nimbalkar.

So here with have senior figures of the three pillars of the Indian State, the judiciary, the executive and the legislature. And yet, though the transport minister himself lives here, there is no footpath on this road which gives one an idea of the extreme contempt with which the whole system treats ordinary people.

If a pedestrian is killed on the road, it won’t be suprising if our heartless system treats the victim as the offender, never mind the absence of a footpath.

The traffic police in Mumbai have appealed to people to send suggestions to a committee appointed by the high court to find a solution to the choking of traffic in the city.

One sympathises with the traffic police.They themselves are victims of the government’s anti people policies. One of them lost his life recently when an ambulance carrying him could not reach a hospital in time due to traffic jams. They are also exposed to severe pollution and assault by criminal elements among motorists.

The first thing the police must do is to tell their bosses in the bureaucracy and political class that managing traffic does not merely mean serving the interests of motorists. The police must be allowed to remain impartial and serve the interests of pedestrians as well.

Now because of pressure from high ups the police actively discriminate against pedestrians. Our political class should really feel ashamed by what its policies are doing right outside Shiv Sena Bhavan in Dadar.

Here, for pedestrians wanting to cross from the Manohar Joshi-built Kohinoor Towers to Shiv Sena Bhavan the signal never turns green. So the pedestrians continuously face death and injury.

It is necessary to remind the rulers that it is their Constitutional obligation to protect the life of citizens. It is nothing short of a crime to expose innocent citizens to such hazards.

Vidyadhar Date is a senior journalist and author of a book which seeks priority for public transport and pedestrians

In Mumbai life is not safe even Outside Shiv Sena Bhavan

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Killing tigress- Avni violation of SC order

  • Mumbai
  • Badri Chatterjee

INDEPENDENT STUDY Says bullet was fired when animal was looking away; tranquilliser dart was inserted after her death

MUMBAI: The killing of tigress T1, also known as Avni, on November 2 was not only a violation of the 1972 Wildlife Protection Act but a contempt of Supreme Court (SC) orders on how the wild animal was supposed to have been put down, claimed an independent study.

The analysis by Wildlife Conservation Trust (WCT) said the tranquilliser dart was inserted into the tigress’ body after it died. It also concluded the animal was not shot in self-defence as she was not facing the hunter. Both aspects constitute a violation of SC orders. HT is in possession of the report.

Avni is said to have killed 13 people since June 2016, which forced the forest department to initiate a hunt for the ‘problematic tigress’.

On September 7, justices BP Dharmadhikari and MG Giradkar at the Nagpur Bench of Bombay high court disposed of the civil application seeking a stay against orders to shoot T1.

The order was challenged by the petitioners Dr Jerryl A Banait and Sarita Subramaniam in the SC. Though the apex court refused to interfere with the high court’s decision, it said the forest department would be bound by their own order to tranquillise her first and, in case of failure, shoot her.

According to the report, the dart was found on the tigress’ body with the cannula (a thin tube inserted into a vein or body cavity to administer medication) piercing the skin on the left thigh.

“As observed the cannula of the dart had gone into the subcutaneous layer and had not penetrated into the underlying muscle. There was no haemorrhage observed in the muscles at the darting site,” the report read.

The analysis added the bullet wound was on the left shoulder region near the scapula (shoulder bone) near the third rib.

“The path from the entry wound to the place where the bullet was lodged indicates the trajectory is at an obtuse angle (as measured from the direction of the tigers head) to the axis of the body (spinal axis; nose to tail) … it shows the animal was facing away from the person who fired the bullet,” the report read.

A forest officer who assisted with the post-mortem on November 3 and was present during the analysis, on the condition of anonymity, confirmed it was clear from both reports that the animal was shot first and the dart was merely jabbed into the body.

“It is impossible for the bullet to pass through the shoulder like this if the tigress was about to attack the hunter,” he said.

The report also said, “The weapon that killed the tigress remains unidentified as it was not made available at the post-mortem site. Similarly, the empty cartridge was also not available at the post-mortem site.”

Subramaniam said the report rubbishes the hunter’s self-defence claim and the principal chief wildlife conservator AK Misra’s “attempts at covering up the entire operation.”


The tranquilliser dart should have penetrated the tigress’ underlying muscle and caused a haemorrhage but had not in this case The dart was found with cannula piercing the skin on the left thigh. The dart was empty and no liquid was observed inside the barrel The bullet trajectory indicates that it was fired at an obtuse angle, and the place of its lodging indicate the animal was facing away from the gunman The weapon remains unidentified as it was not made available at the post-mortem site. Similarly, the empty cartridge was also not available The right lung was found damaged due to the bullet injury, as was the tigress’ trachea

An artistic reconstruction of how the bullet was fired at tigress T1 aka Avni according to the post­mortem report prepared by the Wildlife Conservation Trust.

Hindustan Times

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Punjab- Not all farmers burn stubble #mustshare

Some use it to improve harvest

Several Cultivators In Punjab Are Employing Paddy Residue To Create Fertilisers That Are Ploughed Back Into Their Fields

Come autumn and the vexatious issue of stubble burning in northern India sets off alarm bells and leads to much hand-wringing in policy circles and civil society with little, however, to show by way of a solution. But some farmers in Punjab have applied innovative strategies to dispose of their paddy stubble that doesn’t involve the setting of their fields on fire.

Farmers in Punjab have started sowing wheat as paddy harvesting enters the last stage with just one-fifth of the crop left to be cut in fields. But it is the lack of a gap between harvesting paddy and sowing wheat and the increased time and high cost of operating subsidised straw management machines that leaves farmers who are keen to stop burning stubble with no choice.

However, amid all the hue and cry over crop burning, there are instances of farmers in Punjab who have employed novel methods to manage paddy stubble at low or negligible costs.

Take for example Mukesh Chander of Rani Bhatti village near Bhogpur in Jalandhar district. He revealed that he had collected stubble on a small portion of his field and sprayed urea on it. “This helps to convert stubble into fertiliser in around two months, which we plough back into the field at an appropriate time between the harvesting and sowing of a crop,” he said.

The use of this innovative method is a win-win scenario for farmers. “It saves a lot of expenditure on diesel, which is consumed for managing the stubble with machines, and has also reduced my consumption of fertilisers. I have calculated that although a small portion of the field is used to pile up the crop stubble, the final compensation in terms of savings is more,” said Mukesh, who cultivates over 100 acres of land that he takes on contract.

Gurdev Singh of Navan Qila village, near Shahkot, also in Jalandhar district, said he had experimented by throwing cattle dung over stubble piled up at a side of his field with a view to converting it into fertiliser. “If one can mix cattle dung and stubble after a few weeks using an earth-moving machine, then it can be ploughed back as fertiliser in the fields in six months. I have been using this method for most of the last decade and this has been much cheaper,” he said.

Shaminder Singh Sandhu of Aahli Kalan village in Kapurthala district, whose family cultivates over 300 acres, said they did not burn stubble and had ploughed it back into the fields. “This has reduced our consumption of fertilisers. Most people in our village did not burn stubble,” he said.

Lakhwinder Singh, from the same village, whose family has been cultivating 100 acres, said he only used mulcher to break down stubble into fine parts and did not spend on ploughing it back. “We have already sown wheat and it has started growing well,” he said. “The shredded stubble would ultimately get mixed in the soil during irrigation and would decompose further on its own. I have been using this method for the last three years and this has reduced my consumption of fertilisers as well as the spending on stubble management,” he added.

Although media reports suggest that there is a visible reduction in the volume of post-harvest stubble-burning in Punjab and Haryana this year, a good chunk of farmers is still reluctant to use the ‘Happy Seeder’ — a machine which allows sowing without removing the stubble, thus obviating the need for stubble burning — fearing lower yields.

Seasonal burning of crop stubble and smoke from fireworks lit to celebrate Diwali on November 7 have aggravated already high smog levels in the past few days in national capital Delhi from vehicle emissions, industrial gases and construction work.

But turning stubble into fertiliser, as some farmers have done, should serve to address the issues of both crop burning and farm yields for farmers in northern India.

CUTTING EDGE: (Top) Wheat has already started growing at a farm in Kapurthala district where paddy stubble was left in the fields after shredding. (Right) Paddy stubble piled by the sides of a field in Jalandhar district. The stubble, left under the shade of trees, is sprayed with urea as part of a process to convert it into fertiliser

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Maharashtra – 10k farmers face #Aadhaar hurdle to crop insurance payout

₹13 Crore Claims Unpaid In Two Dists By One Co


As many as 10,322 farmers with crop insurance claims worth Rs 13 crore due from the United India Insurance Company Ltd (UIIC) in two districts have not got a payout for last year so far owing to problems with Aadhaar linkage to their bank accounts. Of these, 9,960 farmers are from Beed district and 362 farmers from Ahmednagar, both of which have been badly affected by this year’s drought.

The details of claims rejected under the ‘Aadhaar-based payment system’ are on the insurance company’s website, urging farmers to provide the required documents to enable settlement. The farmers had either applied online or through the common service centre for the PM’s Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) for the 2017 kharif season. The payments were to be made by the insurance firm directly into farmer bank accounts through direct benefit transfer (DBT).

“Initially, rejected claims amounted to Rs 18 crore in these two districts but we have since paid Rs 5 crore. Around Rs 13 crore is pending. Payments for 30-40 farmers are being cleared daily,” said a spokesperson for UIIC.

Farmers have to enrol for the crop insurance scheme in order to avail of a crop loan. The provision of Aadhaar details is mandatory for the scheme. In case a farmer does not have an Aadhaar card, then the application number is sufficient. In September, the Supreme Court had upheld the use of Aadhaar for government welfare schemes. However, it also said that no one could be denied welfare benefits if Aadhaar authentication failed.


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The argument from cyberspace for eliminating nuclear weapons

At the height of the Cold War in 1982, American psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton argued that the “central existential fact of the nuclear age is vulnerability.” That warning predated the proliferation of computers into almost every aspect of modern life, including nuclear weapons.

Today, the destructiveness of nuclear weapons has been coupled with the vulnerability of computers to create new pathways to disaster.

Specifically, there is now the possibility that hackers could compromise the computers that control nuclear weapons or provide information to officials about impending nuclear attacks.

Weapons security critically flawed

An October 2018 report reinforced this sense of vulnerability. In it, the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) described a number of problems commonly found in the modern weapons systems developed by the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD). Although the report itself doesn’t say so, officials confirmed that nuclear weapons programs were included in the study.

 A graphic from the GAO report illustrating many of the potential computer systems built into modern weapons systems that could be vulnerable to hackers. U.S. Government Accountability OfficeThe findings of the GAO report echoed earlier warnings of the cyberthreat to nuclear weapons. These included a 2013 DOD report and one by the Nuclear Threat Initiative, a non-governmental nuclear weapon threat reduction organization based in Washington, D.C.

Our research examines the risks associated with nuclear weapons systems, including those of accidental or inadvertent nuclear war. The most pressing concern from the GAO report is the possibility that some of these vulnerabilities might affect “nuclear command and control,” the term used to describe the computer networks that continuously monitor and direct the vast U.S. nuclear arsenal (or Russia).

The recent GAO report broadly criticized all DOD weapons systems. Over the past five years (2012 to 2017), the GAO reported, “DOD testers routinely found mission-critical cyber-vulnerabilities in nearly all weapon systems that were under development. Using relatively simple tools and techniques, testers were able to take control of these systems and largely operate undetected.”

In other words, just about every weapon system being developed by the U.S. military is vulnerable to cyberattack. What stands out are both the scale of the problem and that these problems exist in systems that should be highly protected.

The computerized military

Computers play an outsized role in the U.S. military — from providing information through various sensors to forming the backbone of communications networks. Faster communications and increased access to information are both valuable assets and these goals can be achieved with computers. Computers have become ubiquitous in the military environment as countries demand quick access to information and communications.

But computers also introduce vulnerabilities. As their role grows to include connecting the weapons systems of most advanced countries, so does our vulnerability. The vulnerability of these weapons systems should be seen as an anticipated and, arguably unavoidable, consequence of the computer-filled world we live in.

The GAO report went farther than just identifying vulnerabilities — it identified a culture within the DOD that fails to recognize and adequately address cybersecurity problems. Officials routinely assumed their systems were safe and ignored warnings until very recently.

We have observed a similar overconfidence in the military officials responsible for nuclear command and control.

This is a problem because the command-and-control system relies on complex networks of interconnected computers. These computers connect early warning satellites and radars to the president and will be used to pass on presidential orders to launch nuclear weapons should that fateful decision ever be made.

Computers must also constantly monitor and coordinate the daily operation of U.S. nuclear arsenal. Timelines for decisions in this system are extremely compressed, allowing less than 10 minutes for critical launch decisions to be made. The combination of interactive complexity and the tight timeline is typical of many other technological systems that are susceptible to unpredictable, large-scale accidents.

Computer errors that almost started nuclear wars

Unclassified reports reveal that problems within the computers of nuclear command and control date back to at least the 1970s, when a deficient computer chip signalled that 200 Soviet missiles were headed towards the U.S. Computer problems have persisted: In 2010, a loose circuit card caused a U.S. launch control centre to lose contact with 50 nuclear missiles. In both cases, the accident might have been mistaken for a deliberate attack. Failing to recognize the mistake could have resulted in the U.S. launching nuclear weapons.

 Programming codes. (Markus Spiske/Unsplash)FALThese cases were presumably the result of unintentional errors, not deliberate actions. But hacking and other forms of targeted cyberattacks greatly increase the risk of accidental nuclear launch or other devastating actions. Overconfidence on the part of the officials overseeing the nuclear arsenal is therefore negligent and dangerous.

A more recent compounding factor is the ongoing, roughly trillion-dollar upgrade of the U.S. nuclear arsenal started by the Obama administration. This so-called modernization effort included upgrades to the nuclear command and control system. The Trump administration continues to make this a priority.

Modernization increases the possibility that changes to the nuclear command and control system will introduce new or reveal hitherto unknown vulnerabilities into the system. The evidence from the GAO report and other publicly available documents indicates that the officials in charge will be emphasizing speed, convenience, or cost over cybersecurity.

In its conclusion, the GAO report explained that the DOD “has taken several major steps to improve weapon systems cybersecurity.” But the DOD “faces barriers that may limit its ability to achieve desired improvements,” such as constraints on information sharing and workforce shortages. That is not reassuring.

There is a more basic problem that we have emphasized above: the risks associated with cyberattacks can be ameliorated but not fully eliminated. When this intrinsic risk is integrated with the sheer destructiveness of nuclear weapons, the only way to avoid a catastrophic accident at some point in time is to embrace efforts to abolish the weapons themselves.

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Mahul- #MumbaisToxicHell #StopGenocidesinMahul

Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan
●Maharashtra Govt to Consider temporary rehabilitation at Kurla HDIL
●Struggle by Mahul Residents Continues Unabated until assurance gets materialised
Mumbai | 12th November 2018: After 16 days of continuous protest by the determined residents of Tansa pipeline who were rehabilitated in Mumbai’s Toxic Hell, Mahul, forced the government to have a meeting with residents at Mantralaya today. In a two hour long meeting held today,  the Housing Minister, Prakash Mehta has agreed to shift the Mahul residents temporarily to Kurla HDIL, a site that was proposed by the members of Mahul Prakalpgrast Sangharsh Samiti and Ghar bachao Ghar Banao Andolan. The Housing Minister has also assured the people that the proposal to shift people to Kurla HDIL will be discussed with the Chief Minister, Devendra Fadnavis in the coming days and the Ministry will be giving a final decision within next four days. However, the Minister has only given an oral agreement and nothing in written has been provided. The meeting was attended by Prakash Mehta (Minister of Housing Department, Maharashtra), Bhushan Gagrani (Principal Secretary, Urban Development Department), Sanjay Kumar (additional Chief secretary, Dept of Housing) and officials from Slum rehabilitation Authority (SRA), Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM), Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA).
In 2017 residents from Tansa pipeline area were shifted to Mahul, Which is one of most ‘Critically’ polluted region of Mumbai. The citizens started their protest under the banner of ‘Jeevan Bachao Andolan’ on 28th October 2018 under the auspices of Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan, after the govt failed to act on the directions of Bombay High Court, given out in August 2018, asking the Govt to provide alternative rehabilitation to the people living in Mahul. All families staying in Mahul have reported deaths and continued illnesses like TB, Cancer, tumors etc  among their family members since they started living there.  Over 100 people have already lost their life while living in Mahul. The people have termed this as a mass genocide by the govt.
Seeing this as a positive development after a rigorous resistance put up for 16 days, the Mahul residents have decided to keep up the struggle till the govt provides concrete decision, on paper, in coming days. To bring the govt’s attention to their plight the people from Mahul had yesterday formed a 3 km long human chain in the Ghatkopar region yesterday which culminated at the Housing Ministers residence. The Minister was forced to communicate with the Mahul residents and gave an assurance to hold the meeting today. It must be noted that the Minister had evaded any dialogue with the people since past one year. However, the fight is far from over for the Mahul residents as the Kurla HDIL will only be a temporary relief, if agreed to by the govt. The future of Mahul residents and their upcoming generations continue to remain insecure and uncertain until they get permanent accommodation. The Minister has hinted to rehabilitate people in-situ I.e. at the site where they had previously resided.

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Mahul Residents form 3km long Human Chain #MumbaisToxicHell

After the massive gherao, Housing Minister fixed meeting with Mahul residents
      Mumbai:  Hundreds of residents of Mahul gathered today, on the 15th day of their protest to form a human chain and capture the attention of Maharashtra Govt towards the plight of over 30,000 citizens who had been rehabilitated in mahul last year. The human chain which spread over 3 Km had participation from over thousands of citizens. Many people from other slums in Mumbai also joined in solidarity. Many students from colleges like Mumbai University, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, IIT Bombay, Nirmala Niketan, Democratic and progressive Organizations, NGOs and individuals also joined to extend their support.
The Human Chain was followed by a massive rally which culminated at the resident of state housing Minister, Shri. Prakash Mehta. After much of negotiation, the Minister called Ms. Medha Patkar who was present in the rally and promised to meet a delegation of Mahul residents in Mantralaya tomorrow afternoon.
       It has been 15 days since the Mahul residents started the protest but have not received anything other than irresponsible comments and false promises from the govt officials and ministers. The Minister for Housing Department, Prakash Mehta has refused to intervene in the matter or take responsibility. The Chief Minister of Maharashtra has refused to acknowledge the issue or pleas of Mahul residents. For Mahul residents, today’s human chain signified to show their unity and resolve to fight till all the demands are met.
      The citizens started their protest under the banner of ‘Jeevan Bachao Andolan’ on 28th October 2018, after the govt failed to act on the directions of Bombay High Court, given out in August 2018, asking the Govt to provide alternative rehabilitation to the people living in Mahul. Mahul, which is one of the most polluted region in Mumbai and rightly called ‘Mumbai’s Toxic Hell’ has been made into a rehabilitation space for thousands of citizens by the Slum rehabilitation Authority (SRA), even after the National green Tribunal (NGT) declaring it as ‘inhabitable’.  All families staying in Mahul have reported deaths and continued illnesses like TB, Cancer, tumors etc  among their family members since they started living there.  Over 100 people have already lost their life while living in Mahul. The people have termed this as a mass genocide by the govt.
       On 8th of August, 2018, the Bombay High Court has directed the Govt. of Maharashtra to either relocate the Mahul resident by giving them alternate accommodation or given them enough rent so that the people can go to a safer place of their choice. The Court had set a deadline of 1st October, 2018 for the Government to take a decision between the two opt.
      The Govt of Maharashtra submitted in the Court that it is not possible for the Govt. to provide any alternative accommodation nor it can give rent to the people. In other words Govt. shrug off its responsibility to save 30,000 lives. On the issue of providing alternative tenements, the Govt. said that they don’t have tenements to be given to Mahul residents. As far as giving rent is concerned the Govt simply said that it is impossible to give rent without giving any reason.
        GBGBA has a list of more 80,000 tenements which are meant for Project Affected Person and are located at different location within Mumbai. This is something which they are suggesting as a solution for relocation of Mahul residents on an urgent basis.
       The residents of Mahul left with no option but to literally come on street to save their lives when they found that the Govt. has taken off its hand from the matter. They got terrified with the increasing rate of deaths and people suffering from serious diseases. Hence, the Jeevan Bachao Andolan under the auspices of Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan was launched on 28th October, 2018
       On the third day of the JBA, GBGBA’s proposal to provide alternative accommodation got partial approval when Shiv Sena, the coalition partner in the Maharashtra govt. decided to come in support of the movement. On insistence of party’s youth wing president, Mr. Aditya Thackrey, the MLA and newly appointed Chairman of MHADA offered all the 300 empty lying tenements available with MHADA.
     While the BJP having all the portfolios in the government to take final decision on the issues is being completely mum, the Shiv Sena is going out of the way to resolve the issue by coordinating with other housing agencies to find out more PAP tenements on the lines suggested by GBGBA.
      The Mahul residents have decided to not take back their movement which they have started to save their lives, until they get confirmation of safe housing to each family living in Mahul. 300 houses is like a cumin seed in camel’s mouth against the demand of around 5,500 houses

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