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Archives for : Prithviraj Chavan

#India – “Tribal autonomy answer to Naxalism’’ #Maoists

May 29, 2013 12:30:50 AM | By Pramod Chunchuwar

Mumbai : Killing Naxals is not the solution, says the Congress MLA from Gadchiroli, Dr Namdev Usendi, a medical practitioner.

On Monday, home minister R R Patil and Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray had demanded stringent laws and harsh action to crush the Maoists.

Strongly opposing the suggestion to kill Naxals by using armed forces, Dr Usendi said, “This will not end Naxalism. Till poverty and violation of fundamental rights of tribals continue, Naxals will manage to recruit villagers.’’

He also lamented that some decisions of his own government made tribals wonder whether the government was with them or with the capitalist forces. A case in point was the government’s decision about granting lease of forest land for mineral exploration.

‘’Autonomy in administration to Naxal affected area can ensure development and this will help curb Naxalism,’’ Dr Usendi said in an interview with the FPJ.

“Since 1978, twenty-two irrigation projects could not be completed due to the Forest Conservation Act. For these projects, a maximum of 1,500 hectares would have been used. But 6, 545 hectares were allotted to various corporate houses for iron ore exploration. Why does the Forest Conservation Act create hurdles in developmental projects and how this Act is not a problem for corporate houses? This has created a doubt in the minds of tribals in our district and they wonder whether the government is with us or with the corporates or capitalists?’’ Dr Usendi said.

“According to the constitution, Gadchiroli’s tribal dominated area falls under the Fifth schedule. According to article 244(1), the Governor has the authority to announce that any law will not be implemented or implemented with some modification or relaxation. We are demanding that the government should announce the relaxation of Forest Conservation Act which will help complete various developmental projects. This demand was made by us to Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan in the Tribal Advisory committee but nothing has happened,’’ the MLA said.

“The Tribal Advisory committee headed by CM and having more than 20 tribal MLAs as members should meet once in six months. But in the last one year, there was no meeting. In the last four years, the committee has met only twice,’’ Dr Usendi said.

“In North Eastern states, tribal dominated area have been accorded autonomy in administration. Like this, there should be two Zilla Parishads in Gadchiroli district. The main ZP will be elected by all voters and election for another will be only in tribal dominated area and only tribals will vote for their representative. These tribal representatives will suggest or design the developmental schemes or projects and the main ZP will implement it,’’ Dr Usendi stressed.

“Currently, there are 23 tribal members in the 51-member ZP of Gadchiroli. Non tribal members are influential and therefore all money originally meant for tribals development can not be spent. Unless tribals get autonomy in development administration, development can’s take place and till the development takes place, Naxalism can not be curbed,’’ Dr Usendi stressed.

Pramod Chunchuwar

 

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Press Release- A Radio Ad on Red FM names Medha Patkar shopping in R City Mall

To

 

medha

Advertising Standards Council Of India

Mumbai, May 23, 2013

Complaint- Radio advertisement of  R City  Mall using name of activist Medha Patkar

 

I was aghast to listen to your advertisement on Red FM between 1545 hrs and 1555 hrs on May  23rd 2013. The R City Mall, shamelessly names Medha  Patkar,  of Narmada Bachao Andolan , the activist enjoying shopping at R City Mall. I contacted  Medha Patkar and she denied completely giving any consent to the R city Mall   using her name. Even the Radio Station RED FM, with tag line Bajate Raho , have ignored such a big  blunder  in the advertisement

Medha  Patkar is a name which resonates  with rights of  slumdwellers   in Mumbai and she is last person to endorse and shop at Malls. She has   been fighting the Builder Mafia and has stood like a rock against the  islum demolitiosn for many years now and recently had been on a ten day  hunger strike against  the Golibar demolitions, which have were stopped due the  relentless efforts of NAPM.

R City has defamed Medha Patkar by using her name in their promotional advertisement for the Mall.

The advertisement should be immediately  withdrawn  , and the Mall and Radio channel need to tender a public apology  with immediate effect.

 

Kamayani Bali Mahabal

 

Mumbai

May 23, 2013

complaint tracking No – 613ed1596928

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Maharashtra to re-examine claims rejected under forest rights Act

Mumbai, May 10, 2013

Alok Deshpande, The Hindu 

Decision by Chavan comes after agitations by CPI(M), Kisan Sabha

Responding to the agitations by the CPI(M) and the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), the Maharashtra government has agreed to re-examine around two-lakh rejected claims of land rights made under the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006.

The re-evaluation will be first carried out in Thane and Nashik districts, which have the highest number of claims.

The decision was taken at a meeting held on April 17 in the office of Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan.

According to government figures, till February 2013, 3,44,148 claims were received. Of these, 1,43,577 claims have been approved, while 1,97,600 requests have been rejected and 2,971 are still pending.

According to the minutes of the meeting available with The Hindu, Mr. Chavan has asked the organisations spearheading the agitation to prepare a list of applicants denied of land rights despite their having submitted two proofs mentioned under the Act.

“The list should be submitted to the District Collectors of Thane and Nashik, along with the copies of proofs. The Collectors should revaluate all these cases and take decision as per the rules,” directed Mr. Chavan. Which means, the government will now re-evaluate 1,97,600 rejected claims.

The Act grants legal recognition to the rights of traditional forest dwelling communities. Those who are cultivating the land prior to December 13, 2005 but do not have documents can claim the land. The upper limit of the claim has been set as four hectares.

Interestingly, of the total rejected claims, only 50,466 have been dismissed at the gram sabha level, while 1,76,456 have been rejected at the sub-divisional committee level.

“This is where the problem lies. The gram sabhas’ decision becomes meaningless when the Act has clearly given them the authority of receiving claims, consolidating and verifying them. The upper committees are clearly violating the gram sabhas’ rights,” said Ashok Dhawale, secretary, Maharashtra CPI(M) State Committee. Last month, the party launched an agitation in Thane and Nashik districts by blocking the highways, demanding re-evaluation.

Dr. Dhawale said: “The claims are getting rejected because the government officer, instead of going on a field survey, sits in the office and decides. The claims are being transferred to the Forest department for approval, which is not permitted as per the Act.”

Despite the Act clearly stating that there should be no direct involvement of the Forest department in granting or rejecting the claims, a letter from the Chief Forest Conservator, dated July 18, 2008, was used to supervise the entire procedure of claims. The letter now stands cancelled after the meeting at the CMO.

Taking a note of allegations, the government has made it clear that apart from the gram sabha, the sub-divisional committee and the district-level committee no other committee should interfere in the matter.

 

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Despite Union minister’s letter, 43 houses demolished in Mumbai #Ajaymaken

STAFF REPORTER, The Hindu, April3, 2013 

A protest rally in front of Maharashtra Sadan in New Delhi against demolition of Golibar slum in Mumbai. A file photo: V. Sudershan.
The HinduA protest rally in front of Maharashtra Sadan in New Delhi against demolition of Golibar slum in Mumbai. A file photo: V. Sudershan.

Paying no heed to the letter from Ajay Maken, Minister of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation asking the Chief Minister of Maharashtra to stop demolition of the houses of slum dwellers, around 43 houses were demolished under the supervision from the collector’s office at Mumbai’s Golibar slum on Wednesday.

The activists of National Alliance of People’s Movement (NAPM) have alleged that the Shivalik Ventures, the developer of prime property of 125 acres called Golibar in suburban Mumbai, in connivance with government officials carried out the demolition.

The Golibar Project has been surrounded by controversy from last five years after it was alleged that the Shivalik Ventures has forged various documents to secure consent of the slum dwellers. Also the houses built for rehabilitation are on the lands of Railways and Defence ministry. The Defence ministry has approached the court, claiming its right on the land and the Railways have taken an undertaking that the buildings will be demolished whenever it requires the land back.

On Tuesday, Mr. Maken had sent a letter to Prithviraj Chavan, which said, “I however, would request you to also ensure that wherever, as in these six Slum Rehabilitation Scheme (SRS) projects under inquiry, there are prima facie illegality, no irreversible damage or eviction of residents should be permitted to be done with police force – the aim solely being that of protecting the already marginalised urban poor.” The Golibar Project is one of the six projects in which inquiry has been ordered.

The government officials however said that they did not receive any instruction from the chief minister office. “If the letter has been sent to chief minister then his office will send the necessary reply to the ministry. However, we did not get any order from our higher ups. We are working as per the court orders,” said PR Rokade, Deputy Collector (Encroachment Removal).

Sumit Wajale of NAPM said that the government officials are working for the builders and not for the government. “The demolition drive is purposely undertaken to finish off the resistance even before the ordered inquiry is concluded,” he said, alleging that the demolition drive was also guarded by private security agencies provided by the builder.

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PRESS RELEASE- Maharashtra Government Takes no Action Against Proved Illegality by Shivalik Builders

Photo

Whose Interests are they Serving in this Democracy ?

April 2: Ignoring a stern letter from Shri Ajay Maken, Union Minister for Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, to Shri Prithviraj Chavan, CM Maharashtra, demolitions in presence of more than 500 policemen and women continued. Nearly 43 houses have been demolished till now by a 200 demolition squad, with active assistance from Shivalik builders bouncers and men, and Kiran Jadhav & Sharad Jhadav, Directors in company personally supervising the same. Houses of Ganesh Krupa Co-operative Housing Society were demolished even though an investigation has been going on against the builders for forging signatures of residents to show their consent for slum redevelopment.

Hundreds of letters asking the Chief Minister to stop demolition has been received too but perhaps pressure from the Builders is too much for Mr. Chief Minister to handle. He has said he will do something, but then why is he not stopping the bulldozers ?

Earlier Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan – GBGB wrote to Chief Minister once again asserting the following :

  1. Slum Rehabilitation Authority Scheme projects in Mumbai are full of flaws, frauds and corruption leading to atrocities against the slum dwellers. Thousands are made shelterless and sent on rent which is discontinued and others decay in transit camps for years. The land rights and co-operative societies related processes and documents are also found to be violating the law and forgery related cases are also filed but it takes years to get an FIR lodged and it goes through years for investigation.

  2. Maharashtra Government had agreed, after a ten day long agitation in first week of January 2013, to get at least 6 projects investigated through the Principal Secretary, Housing Mr. Debashish Chakravarty. That enquiry began in February and open presentations were made on 7th – 8th February, 2013. Builders – Developers / their representatives were also present in most of the cases and some made submissions too. However, even before the enquiry report is finalized and received by CM’s office and us, there is continuous eviction taking place with police force, destroying decades old houses and vcausing irreversible damage, without resolving the issues. This is extremely unjust. Arrests, false cases and everything happened in the month of March in Golibar and Chandivali, as in other slums.

  3. Even where there are courts’ orders, some or the other directions by the Court are not complied with and yet the eviction is taking place, with brutality. Moreover, in case of Ganesh Krupa, Golibar it is clear that transit camps are not provided within 300 mts as promised and upheld by the Court. The Transit camps are in totally uninhabitable condition as per the letter given by the CEO, SRA in December, 2012 for some other society in Golibar, who were also offered transit in the same buildings.

  4. There is a criminal case filed and enquiry is on in the case of Ganesh Krupa Society, Golibar with documents which indicates that there was no consent by 70% people and the General Body Meeting documents are fraudulent. Similar complaints are lodged by some other societies too. The Joint Commissioner, Mr. Datyeji inspected the documents few days back and directed the officials to re-investigate the matter thoroughly.

  5. None of the societies and dwellers in Golibar have received any document confirming that they will get a permanent accommodation in what time limit, of what area and where (in situ rehabilitation is to be ensured as per the SRA scheme, as also the Court’s orders) and hence people want house on their own land. Also, in none of these, people have received any documents. The files in SRA show the agreements between the slum dwellers and some other contractors which they had engaged earlier, but not with Shivalik ventures.

  6. In the case of Golibar, permanent rehabilitation buildings are on the lands of the Defence Ministry’s and Railways. Defence Ministry’s case is pending before the City Civil Court, Dindoshi as directed by HC. Railways have taken an undertaking that those buildings will be demolished, as and when land is required by Railways. How can the dwellers permit their fate to be hung in such circumstances.

  7. Out of 26,000 families, as slum dwelling families in Golibar, according to the developer, 10,000 families have vacated, while the CEO, SRA and officials claim that permission is granted only for 5,500 families as slum dwellers to be rehabilitated. This gross discrepancy is not yet settled. Whatever, the total number, it is also a ground reality that only 900 families are shifted in the permanent rehab buildings that too on the land of the Defence of Railway Ministry. Not more than 1500 families are in the transit camps. Where are the others? Obviously thousands of families are on rent, shifted out with direct or indirect force but not yet settled anywhere. It is also known from the ground survey that at least 20,000 sq. kms land is vacant and available for the developer and yet forcible eviction is imposed on the people.

Demolishing 70 to 100 years old houses in Golibar is criminal and in complete disregard of law of the land. NAPM strongly condemns such action and vows to continue its fight. You can break few more houses but can’t break the resolve of the people to fight for dignified living and shelter. We urge every conscientious individual to join and support our struggle for a dignified living. Continue writing, protesting and shaming those in power, why are the afraid of their own enquiry report by the Principal Secretary, Housing. Let the truth come out, until then stop playing with the lives of citizens of this country.

Medha Patkar, Prerna Gaekwad, Simpreet Singh, Sumit Wajale, Sandeep Yevale, Jameel Bhai

For details call : 9699918964 / 09423965153

 

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Housing Minister Ajay Maken asks CM to investigate Golibar scam; demolitions instead

This morning Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan received a letter from the Minister of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, Government of India, Ajay Maken. The three page letter, which is attached here, says –

“Your decision to investigate six of the proposed or under construction projects through the Principal Secretary (Housing) was conveyed to me, which is a welcome step. I however, would request you to ensure that wherever as in these six SRS projects under enquiry, there are prima facie illegality, no irreversible damage or eviction of residents should be permitted to be done with police force – the aim soley being that of protecting the already marginalised urban poor…”

This afternoon, 18 homes in Ganesh Krupa Society, Golibar were demolished. Over 150 police officers accompanied officials from the Collector’s office as three bulldozers razed these houses to the ground. When they left this evening, they promised to be back tomorrow and the day after, with double the force to demolish the remaining 27 homes. The Chief Minister said he ‘will try and do something.’

The Chief Minister will try and do something. The police don’t even try. They only show up when the builder wants them to. The Court ignores that the builder has broken laws. Are we fooling ourselves we live in a democracy?

 

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#Mumbai- ‘Aadhaar not mandatory yet’- #goodnews #UID

 

Mar 14, 2013 | Age Correspondent | Mumbai
Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan on Wednesday assured the legislative council that possessing an Aadhar number would not be made mandatory for accessing any benefits of government schemes unless 80 per cent of the population of the district has been given Aadhar numbers.
The CM was responding to a calling attention motion moved by Congress MLC Sanjay Dutt and others regarding slow pace of Aadhar registration process. Mr Dutt said that Aadhar number would become mandatory for various things such as gas cylinders, school admissions, PF, pension, scholarships etc.
Mr Dutt said that the citizens are finding it difficult to obtain the Aadhar number because of inadequate number of registration centres and machines for registration. He and other MLCs pointed out that citizens have to wait for hours together to register for thr Aadhar number and in several cases, the cards sent by post have returned undelivered because the address of a person is incorrectly recorded at the time of the registration.
Responding to the motion in the legislative council, Mr Chavan said that the Aadhar Card scheme was an ambitious scheme and that priority was being given to enrol beneficiaries of Central government schemes. “The Aadhar card will be linked to schemes only in the six districts, where direct cash transfers are being implemented. In all other districts, where less than 80 per cent have been registered for Aadhar cards, it will not be made mandatory. These instructions have been issued to all concerned departments,” the CM said.
Earlier, minister of state for IT Fauzia Khan informed the House that till date around 5.43 crore citizens in the state have registered for the Aadhar card and presently, aro-und 4,200 machines have been deployed for registrations. “The government now plans to increase the number of machines used for registering the cards by another 2,000 and the district collectors have been asked to choose agencies at the local level to carry out registration work,” Ms Khan said.
The minister also said that right now 50,000 cards were being generated on a daily basis, which they want to increase to more than a lakh per day. “Those who have registered their names, but not received Aadhar numbers, will be provided e-Aadhar numbers,” she said.

 

 

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#India – Five Narendra Modi lies that must be nailed

Prashant Panday
11 March 2013, 09:35 AM

English: Image of Narendra Modi at the World E...

Prashant Panday
11 March 2013,, TOI
Speaking to US NRIs yesterday, Modi claimed that the growth rate in India had “lost momentum” in the last 6-7 years. Well, Modi is used to dishing out mis-truths and blatant lies; so this was just one more in a series. India’s growth in the last 6-7 years has been exemplary by any standard, with GDP growth hitting 9.2% just last year.

Let me group all of Modi’s lies into 5 distinct categories:

1)    Comparing Gujarat with India: Even a 5th standard student knows what averages are. India’s GDP growth represents the average of all states – dynamic ones like Gujarat, Maharashtra, AP, Haryana and TN as well as poor performing ones like Rajasthan, UP, MP, Karnataka, and (in the past), Bihar and Orissa. Quite obviously Gujarat growth rate will be higher than India’s. When Modi uses this to show that he would make a better PM than Manmohan Singh, it’s plain chicanery. What he should do is compare Gujarat – a powerhouse since decades – with other powerhouse states. But he’s smart. He won’t do that!

2)    Gujarat growth barely comparable with other big states: The top 5 states in terms of state GDP are Maharashtra, UP, AP, TN and Gujarat in that order. Modi will be embarrassed to note that the pecking order of these states has remained largely intact over the last 6-7 years (since 2004-5) – in spite of Modi’s “dynamic” rule. The only exception is that WB used to be 5th back then, and is now just behind Gujarat. Let’s look at how much each state economy has expanded over this period and I am using data from Wikipedia here (which in turn quotes the Ministry of statistics and Program Implementation Govt. Of India). Between 2004-5 and 2010-11, the Maharashtra GDP has expanded 2.49 times in nominal terms, Gujarat’s by 2.52 times, Tamil Nadu’s by 2.50 times, UP’s by 2.28 times, AP’s by 2.62 times and West Bengal’s by 2.27 times. So Gujarat has kept pace with the big states; nothing more, nothing less. Compared to the noise that Modi makes, the actual numbers are nothing to write home!

3)    Takes undue credit: Gujaratis are genetic coded to demand that any CM of the state has to be business minded. Remember Gujarat is a state in which college graduates take up jobs only when they cannot start their own business. And even when they do jobs, almost all of them do something “on the side”. It may be playing the stock market, or doing a small side business in the wife’s name. Growth in Gujarat pre-dates Modi. This is proven by the growth rates recorded during the tenures of the previous CMs. For the purpose of this analysis, I have used Net State Domestic Product at factor cost at constant prices in Rupees as the measure of economic growth. The data taken is from the RBI’s “Handbook of Statistics of Indian Economy” readily available on the internet. Under Modi (between 2002-3 to 2009-10), the average growth rate in Gujarat in nominal terms has been 16.25% per annum. In the Keshubhai Patel era (1998-99 to 2001-02), Gujarat grew at only 7.5% per annum. BJP messed up during Keshubhai’s time and that’s one reason he was replaced. Take the period before Keshubhai Patel. There was a period of rapid changes in CMs in Gujarat between 94-95 and 98-99; the BJP, Congress and the Rashtriya Janata Party ruled the state and achieved between 14% and 31% growth rates. The previous strongman of Gujarat used to be Chimanbhai Patel who ruled as CM from 1990-91 to 1993-94. The growth rate during his period was 16.75%. Err…..higher than what Modi achieved. Prior to Chimanbhai Patel was the rule of the Congress for 10 years from 1980-81 to 1989-90. During this period of time, Madhvsinh Solanki and Amarsingh Chaudhary were the Congress CMs in the state. The growth rate during these ten years was 14.8% – a shade lower than Modi’s achievements. Remember back then, India wasn’t quite the dynamic growth engine it is today. Modi can surely take credit for sustaining Gujarat’s growth; but he cannot claim to be the diva of India’s growth miracle!

4)    Vibrant Gujarat: The biggest lie that Modi dishes out is Vibrant Gujarat. Modi talks of “lacs of crores” of investments “promised” to the state. But promises have not translated into actual investments. A recent report shows that not even 20% of that investment has actually materialized over the last 4 years. The Tatas, the Ambanis, all claim to love Modi and Gujarat and they heap praise on him. They realize Modi loves such public encomium and these business leaders are smart enough to give him that. But they also love Prithviraj Chavan and Maharashtra, Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Haryana, Jayalalitha/Karunanidhi and TN and whoever it is in AP. Businessmen want pragmatic governance and all these states offer that. The only difference is that these states are quiet performers, while Modi croons from the roof top.

5)    Hides all non-GDP data: And the last lie of course is that by talking only about GDP growth, Modi diverts attention from everything else. Be it is his communal record (he hasn’t apologized for the post-Godhra riots, or for the fake encounter killings), or his state’s data on Human Development Indices (The HDI for Gujarat, in 2008, was 0.527 and it ranked 10th among major states), or social indicators (In Gujarat, the Life Expectance at Birth during 2002-06 was 64.1 years and it ranked ninth among major Indian states. In the areas of Mean Years of Schooling and School Life Expectancy, during 2004-05, it ranked seventh and ninth, respectively. Kerala ranked first in all three indicators. Even Maharashtra, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka performed much better than Gujarat (source: Gujarat: Myth and reality: Dr Bhalchandra Mungekar Jun 12, 2012, TOI online edition), Gujarat is a laggard. This is what prompted Chidambaram to state in his budget speech that this is not the growth model that the UPA wants to practice.

The real truth is that the Gujarat economic story has to be narrated correctly. The public has to know the real truth. Even if it takes a hundred such posts. Of course Gujarat is a developed state; just as developed as Maharashtra, AP, Haryana and TN. That’s why people come back impressed from Ahmedabad. But is Modi being truthful by claiming credit for all this? No way. In fact, he is lying through his teeth. And its time the lies are exposed….

 

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#Maharashtra – Displaced and damned for a generation

Date: 18 February 2013

Koynanagar (Maharashtra), February 15, 2013, The Hindu

Displaced and damned for a generation

Alok Deshpande

A view of the Koyna dam. File photo
PTI A view of the Koyna dam. File photo

First, a dam, then an earthquake and finally a tiger reserve — families in Satara district’s Koyna have been displaced thrice in one generation. In 1960, the people had to move, paving the way for the Koyna dam; in 1967 following the earthquake and then for the Koyna tiger reserve in 1985, says Jagannath Vibhute, an activist of the Shramik Mukti Dal and one of the many farmers displaced by dam projects.

According to him, the people who did not want to leave the area shifted to higher areas to be safe from the dam waters.

“But later the area was announced as the tiger reserve, so they had to relocate themselves again.” Representatives of around 27,000 displaced families in Satara have been on an indefinite Thiyya Andolan (sit-in agitation) at Koynanagar — the site of the first major dam in Maharashtra post-independence, constructed in 1960. Of the 10,000-odd families displaced by this project, as many as 1,500 are yet to be rehabilitated even as around 1,000 have bought new land on their own rather than rely on a red tape-hit bureaucracy. Incidentally, Satara is the home district of Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan.

Daji Shelar of Shirsingi in Ajara taluk was asked to vacate his village in 1985 because it fell within the proposed tiger reserve. He moved to Sangli district, where “we had to build our home at our own expense. We did not get any of the allowances sanctioned by the government. We are yet to get the promised land from the government.”

Some of the project-affected people who were given land in the forest areas of Thane district cannot make the transition due to opposition from tribals there. After the notification of the tiger reserve, the Forest Department slapped restrictions on the locals, who had been living on forest land for generations.

“It has become difficult for our women to even collect fuel wood for daily use. The department has stopped construction of the only road which connects villages inside the forest area,” said Sitaram Jangam of Waghavale village.

“There was no need to evict locals, as they used to stay in the forest area. Rather, they were the ones who protected the forest for so many years even before it was announced as the forest. They could have helped the government save and protect the forest,” said Mr. Vibhute.

The agitation is not limited to Satara district. Similar sit-ins are in progress at eight more places in Maharashtra, including Kolhapur, Sangli and Ratnagiri.

Around one lakh affected people have contributed to the Thiyya Andolan, which began last week under the leadership of the Shramik Mukti Dal.

Tukaram Mohite, 72, from Umarkanchan, which was displaced for the Wang Dam in the Patan tehsil of Satara district, laments that people do not want to marry off their daughters to young men from his village.

“We are the displaced ones. The land which some of us received from the government is in an arid area, unlike the irrigated land we had earlier. Some did not get any land. Would you want your daughter to marry a landless farmer’s son or someone who does not have irrigated land?” he asked narrating his plight to fellow farmers. The dam, built in 1996-97, displaced 1,800 such families from nine villages.

With a command area spread over 8,000 hectares in two districts, the dam has opened the door to prosperity to many, but the displaced are still fighting for rehabilitation.

“From a high rainfall area, we were thrown into dry areas. What was given to some of us was waste land in the place of the fertile land we earlier had. We having been displaced from one village, the other village never welcomes us. The government has accepted our demands two years ago, but there is no action on the ground,” said Mr. Vibhute.

At a meeting on May 15, 2012 with Bharat Patankar, president of the Shramik Mukti Dal, the Chief Minister accepted all demands of the project-affected people and even set a three-month time frame for action.

But none of the promises has been met and the farmers will agitate until a government resolution is published resolving their problems. Ironically, similar promises were made by the government at an earlier meeting too, on May 5, 2011.

Chavan promises action

At the end of a meeting held here on Wednesday, Mr. Chavan promised Mr. Patankar’s group that a resolution would be issued in the next 15 days.

The major demands are equal rights for women on land, independent gram panchayats for all new settlements which have 500 or more population, issue of BPL ration cards to all project-affected families and allotment of grazing land (gairan) for rehabilitation in case no other land is available.

Mr. Patankar said the recommendations of the government-appointed committee, released eight months ago, for improving the Rehabilitation Act must be accepted immediately.

 

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Maharashtra Displaced families stage state-wide Dharna against Koyna Dam

Mumbai, Feb 10, 2013, DHNS:

Thousands of dam evictees and project-affected people (PAP) continued their round-the-clock picketing, called Tiyya Andolan, in the interiors of seven districts of Maharashtra demanding the implementation of their long-pending demands.

The protests have been going on since last Monday, in Satara, Sangli, Kolhapur, Solapur, Aurangabad, Raigad and Pune.

Speaking to Deccan Herald from Satara where dharna is going on against the Koyna dam, Jagannath Vibhute of Shramik Mukti Dal (SMD) which is spearheading the state-wide Tiyya Andolan, said: “The state government has sent a message after six days that they will take up the issue of displaced families, people and PAP in the Cabinet meeting to be held this week.

Take for example in Satara where nearly 27,000 families have gathered in Koyna Nagar, around the Koyna Dam, the first major man-made reservoir in post-independence Mahrashtra. Thousands of families were displaced in 1960 and several thousands continue to remain in rootless condition.

They have no place to go. They have become homeless in their own homeland.”
Giving details of other places where the picketing is going on simultaneously, Vibhute said on the border of Sangli and Kolhapur districts, around 500 representatives of dam evictees are carrying out Tiyya Andolan near the base of the Warna Dam.

Similar protests are also being carried out near the Gad Nadi Dam in Ratnagiri district, Teen Vira Dam in Raigad district, Tembhapuri Dam in Aurangabad district and Dhamani Dam in Kolhapur district. Affected people in Azra Tehsil (Kolhapur) and at Pandharpur in Solapur district.

The basic demands of the agitators are: Giving equal rights to the daughters in ancestral property of PAP families, independent status to Gram Panchayat (with 500 or more population), free vocational training, below poverty-line ration cards; disbursing of funds to women self-help groups; grazing land (gairan) for PAP rehabilitation and absorption of Tiger Project PAP families in forest development programmes.

Interestingly, these policy-level demands have been twice sanctioned in the meetings held by Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan in 2011 and 2012; but the government for some strange reason has failed to implement it.

According to Vibhute: “Eight months ago the committee appointed by government to look into the issue submitted its recommendations…but the response of the state is just unfathomable. It just refuses to look at the anguish of the people.”

 

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