Reports from NAPM Mumbai-Delhi Sangharsh Yatra

March 20, 2013

DMIC Virodhi Sangharsh Yatra Culminates with National Convention on DMIC: Facts and Myths

DMIC is not about development but resource grab and corporate profit

19th March 2013, New Delhi

The DMIC Virodhi Sangharsh Yatra culminated today with the National Convention on the DMIC – Facts and Myths to share new information gathered enroute the Yatra, analyze outcomes and devise a strategy for further action, and was attended by activists, supporters and experts. Opening the session, Manoranjan Mohanty applauded the Yatris in spreading awareness about the DMIC. “Very few people know of the DMIC corridor. Yatris are responsible for bringing this to the media’s attention.” He further said that land acquisition and the development modal were two issues which should be put before voters with elections around the corner without letting it become a propaganda tool for political parties to use. Prafulla Samantara opined that repeated crimes of the police and even corporate goons against innocent people were evidence of the creation of a police state. “How we organize into collective action is the question. This is the responsible role the NAPM has to take up. We need to stop the creation of a police state and ensure a democratic nation.”

Medha Patkar critiqued this kind of forced development, which she called ‘aggressive progress ‘which furthers interests of cities alone. “The current land bill has included everything from highways to damns under infrastructure…people are still without roads and toilets.” She further stated that the idea of this need for infrastructure has been propagated effectively. Most speakers commented on the sheer size and complexity of this project. “People have been fighting battles against SEZs, railway tracks, power plants little knowing that they were fighting the DMIC. Even the Principal Secretary in Maharashtra said that he knew no more than we do, that too from the website.” All 6 states have been doing the groundwork irrespective of ruling party. Legal changes being brought about to legalise the loot; blanket clearances over labour laws, land acquisition laws, environmental compliance rules for smooth implementation of the DMIC. “But no project is possible without people’s participation,” she said ending with triumphant ““Kheti Bachao, Desh Bachao!”

Vikram Soni shared a presentation over water security illustrating the grave situation of water scarcity and availability especially in the DMIC regions. 5% of increasing sea levels is attributed to India’s lost groundwater alone! The strip between Mumbai and Delhi is also the driest in the country; It is seriously water stressed as most of its groundwater has been withdrawn. This makes the question of water availability for the DMIC a pertinent question. “Leave alone rights, we’re talking about survival,” he said adding that Water Acquisition must also be added to people’s agenda.

The first session saw representatives from each of the 6 states come and speak to the audience. Representing Maharashtra was Ulka Mahajan of Sarvahara Jan Andolan. She said that “There has been no talk of this project at the parliament or legislative assembly level. Gram sabha is still a long shot. When we started calling MPs and MLAs, they did not even know about DMIC. How can such a decision be thrust upon us without any discussion whatsoever?” Till today, under the name of MIDC, which is a state corporation, 13 lakh acres has been acquired. Then there’s also JNPT, CIDCO and various other industrial bodies that facilitate the same. From RTI applications we found that 229 MIDC industrial areas have been established about which we are extracting information. Of these 80% plants are currently shut. People who have been rendered landless because of this acquisition are in the same situation without any improvements or employment through this development. “If we are in the affected area today, what about all the people who are already in line waiting for employment? When will they deal with the displacement here?” as per the census report of 2007 and 2008, 4.5 million Medium, micro and small industry units have been shut. Bring in mega industries and 2.25 crore livelihoods will be directly hit. And they have stated that 3 lakh jobs will be given. How does this compare at all?

Busting the myth of “Vibrant Gujarat” Krishnakant revealed that most of the DMIC nodes were already being developed and today, are some of the most polluted, have high unemployment figures and low standards of living. “There is talk of international standards when it comes to PPP projects but when it comes to land acquisition, Indian standards are not even followed. People are still awaiting compensations and laws are bent”

“Hum ek inch zamin dene wale nahin hain!,” declared Ram Krishna Alhawas representing Haryana. Expressing discontent over lack of basic amenities like clean drinking water he said that Haryana is the face of the DMIC and that the people of Haryana will not let it proceed any further. Similar sentiments were expressed by Hiramand Shinde (Sinnar), Balwant More (Nanded) and Prasad Bagwe(Karla) . Umesh Tiwari from Madhya Pradesh called it “the biggest land acquisition in the history of the world. If we do not fight, we risk being looted.” Upendra Rawat from Delhi said “Before the loot of land, what does the government do? First it quashes the powers of the panchayat and then it creates a law to recognize the rights of the panchayat” referring to the process by which NCR regions were established in Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.

The second session saw members K.B. Saxena (former secretary GOI), Abimanyu Shreshta (lawyer Supreme Court), Himanshu Damle (financial analyst, Bank Information Centre), Soumya Dutta (environmentalist, BVES) and Swati Sheshadri (Researcher, EQUATION) presenting brief analysis on the legal, environmental, financial aspects and on the land acquisition act and even tourism as land grab tool. KB Saxena interestingly pointed out that land acquired through private transactions and is outside any control hence should be looked into at length. Soumya Dutta talking about the environmental aspect focused on the spillover effects of additional factories being set up to provide resources for the DMIC industrial belt. On the legal front Abhimanyu Shreshta pressed on the point of raising objections as soon as notifications are received, otherwise there might not be a chance to do so later while Himanshu Damle suggested putting pressure on the IIFC (Indian counterparts of the Project Development Fund) to share their safeguard policies in a transparent way. Ending the second session was Swati Sheshadri’s presentation on tourism. She spoke of inevitable recreational set –ups like hotels, golf courses etc. to cater to the industries. Since tourism requires small sizes of land, and is acquired through private transactions, it evades most acquisition laws, environmental clearances and others.

The Session closed with a discussion on steps to be taken next and formulation of an multi – action plan for coming months leading up to the 2014 elections.


Press Release March 14

Stop the bulldozer of progress, now!
Need to talk not only of gram swaraj, but also of nagar swaraj and Lok swaraj, today!

Ahmedabad, March 14: The Mumbai- Delhi DMIC Virodhi Sangharsh Yatra reached Gujarat Vidyapith, Ahmedabad, after conversing with farmers in Kheda today. A discussion was held on the topic “DMIC: progress or destruction?” at Ahimsa Mandap in the afternoon, and veteran Gandhian Chunni Vaidya, Ila Bahan Pathak, Rajni Dave, Sagar Rabari, Indu Bhai, Raju Purohit, Vidyut Bhai, Anand Mazgaonkar, Swati Desai and other social activists participated in it along with the Mithivirdi Parmanu Virodhi Sangharsh Samiti and farmers currently fighting against the DMIC’s Palanpur hub.

Addressing the gathering, Chunni Bhai said that there is rampant destruction in the name of developmet in the county today, and that the time has come for the people to rightfully demand from the government that this “bulldozer” of development be stopped. He said that it is society that has the right to the country’s resources, not the government or corporations. He called for everyone present to stand together and say, “Village land belongs to the village, not to the government!”

Vasuram Bhai, associated with the Mithivirdi agitation, said, “we refuse to believe the false claims of the government, it is a statement of borne out of conviction that the farmers and labourers together will not allow anyone to trespass upon their land”.

Talking about the DMIC in Gujarat, Rajendra Purohit stated that the situation in the state, already suffering from misuse of resources for industrial development, will worsen in coming times. Anand Mazgaonkar said that Gujarat is witnessing a fight over the sale of everything from séeds to land, and the false propaganda of zero resistance is being carried out with the help of money power and political power aimed at ensuring open grab and use of natural resources. Agitations are on in Umargaon, Bhavnagar, Mahua, Dahej, Sarbhan, Mithivirdi and Kachch, even as the politically powerful continue their false propaganda for the sake of their political ambitions.

NAPM’s Madhuresh Kumar rested his case saying, “the ruling class has always been attracted towards the big projects and big dreams which are shown to the common man, but development with justice and equity is never discussed. DMIC is yet another fantasy of the megalomaniac ruling class, which is against the rights of the people, and the opposition of which is in the better interests of all society. In the name of progress and industrial development, lakhs of hectares of land, forests and mineral resources have been acquired, but have these ever been used righteously? No. Then why are requisitions being considered? The need of the hour is to address the problems and questions raised due to all the developmental processes till date, for the creation of a peaceful society. Today, we need to talk of not only gram swaraj but of nagar swaraj and Lok swaraj, or else our future generations will never forgive us”.

The meeting came to a close with a discussion about the establishment of a Gram Swaraj Samiti, and the farmers of Palanpur and Mithivirdi announced that they would be participating in the Kisaan Khet Mazdoor Mahapanchayat to be held at Jantar Mantar, Delhi on 18th March. The Yatra will be visiting Pithampur Industrial Area in Indore tomorrow.

Lingraj Azad, Prasad Bagve, Suhaas Kolhekar, Utpal VB, Milind Champanerkar, Krishnakant, Ateek Ahmed, Nasreen Bi, Anwari, Mukesh, Yuvraj Bhatkal, Viabhav Joshi, Mansaram.


March 9, 2013

Yatra lends support to struggle of Raigad and Karla on Day 2

DMIC is an Attack on Our Democratic Rights and Values as Enshrined in the Constitution

Karla, Lonavla, March 9: Mumbai- Delhi Corridor Virodhi Sangharsh Yatra on its second day joined the public meeting organised by Jagtikikaran Virodhi Kriti Samiti at Maangaon Taluka, Raigad District. The meeting was joined by Sarvahara Jan Andolan, Corridor Virodhi Sangharsh Samiti, NAPM and other organisations. Ulka Mahajan welcomed the yatra and said they fought Reliance SEZ and got it cancelled after years of struggle but now they are faced with a monstrosity called the DMIC. 9715 families of 69 villages in Maangaon, Roha and Tala Talukas have received notifications for land acquisition- a total of 24, 207 acres under the Maharashtra Industrial Development Act. The land required for it is under Dighi Industrial Area part of DMIC corridor. MIDC has already acquired 2000 hectares of land since 1985 at the rate of 20-25,000 Rs per acre, of which land has been given to Jindal, POSCO and others. There is no record of land utilised and unutilised with MIDC, in past fifty years it has acquired more than 13 lakh acres of land. The provision of MIDC Act is more draconian than Land Acquisition Act 1894, which leaves little scope for the consent of the affected population.

The current notifications issued to farmers are illegal since the isssuiing authority SDO does not have the power to issue notifications of land above the price of Rs. 50, 000. However, the current rate as per MIDCs own notification is Rs. 40 lakhs per acre. Sarvahara Jan Andolan vowed to challenge this forcible acquisition.

Addressing the meeting, Medha Patkar said that the purpose of the yatra is to bring together all the struggles in this massive region, since neither the people nor the democratically elected Gram Sabhas are aware of this monstrosity. What is at stake is the hard- earned freedom and democratic rights of the people, as enshrined in the Constitution of India. Forcible acquisition of land in the name of industrial city development will only lead to development of real estate and land grab, bringing not prosperity, but impoverishment.

NAPM Natioanl Convenor Suniti SR questions whether the Kathkari Adivasis of Raigad have benefitted, till date, from any of the numerous industries in the region. The Reliance SEZ, for which 1700 hectares of land was bought, has been cancelled, but the land is now up for sale for real estate. These projects only facilitate land grab from Adivasis, a glaring example being the Lavasa hill city project.

The Sangharsh Yatra later moved to Karla, Lonavla, where Ekvira Bachao Andolan welcomed it to Lonavla city. Yatris offered their respects by garlanding statues of Babasaheb Ambedkar, Jyotiba Phule, and Shivaji. Ekvira Bachao Andolan had fought against the Mahindra SEZ and achieved its cancellation, but the land again faces the threat of forcible acquisition, this time from the DMIC. In the words of Prasad Bagve, “SEZ has been cancelled but denotification notice is yet to be issued by the administration. Is this the democracy we live in?”

As we move ahead, talking about the project and planned destruction in the name of development, we see the yatra garnering more and more response. Overall, the DMIC area consists of 70% agricultural and 10% forest land, which contribute to 50% of food grain production in the country. Large scale acquisition in the 12 investment regions and 12 industrial areas will adversely affect the food grain production and put extra pressure on land, water and forest. Sentiments everywhere are the same, “we are not ready to move, we shall fight, we shall win!”

Lingraj Azad, Kamla Yadav, Anwari Bi, Sumit Wajale, Santosh Thakur, Milind Champanerkar, Yuvraj, Seela M and Madhuresh Kumar.

Contact: 9818905316

P.S: March 10- meetings at Malegaon, Dhule and Nandurbar

National Alliance of People’s Movements
National Office : 6/6, Jangpura B, Mathura Road, New Delhi 110014
Phone : 011 26241167 / 24354737 Mobile : 09818905316
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March 8, 2013

Mumbai – Delhi Sangharsh Yartr flagged off on Women’s Day from Azad Maidan

A struggle for life and livelihood against destruction

Azad Maidan, Mumbai, March 8th:
The Mumbai – Delhi Sangarsh Yatra against the mammoth Delhi – Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) was flagged off on the occasion of international women’s day from the iconic Azad Maidan in Mumbai by women activists from Lavasa, Wang Marathwad, Narmada, Kanjhawala, Delhi, Aurangabad, Pune, Golibar and many bastis of Mumbai in the presence of noted Marathi writer Hirabai Daya Pawar. Women gift life but are repaid with violence and destruction. Even though the state, political classes and capitalistic forces have joined hands to wreck havoc on us, women will fiercely challenge them in bastis, river valleys, villages, everywhere! This was witnessed today as more than 1000 women from different bastis came together to pledge to carry forward the struggle. Yesterday they bravely stood against bulldozers and the police who with the support of goons of the Shivalik builders, broke down their homes. Yesterday also saw the Maharashtra government showing it true face, beating up women on the eve of women’s day arresting Neha, Johara, Prerna Gaekwad along with Medha Patkar for resisting the demolition at Golibar and Andheri. Dr. Sunilam of Kisan Sangharsh Samiti, Madhya Pradesh condemned the violence against women and said that women in Chindwara, Madhya Pradesh are facing goons of Adani group.

Our struggle is the same everywhere. Today Capitalist forces want to take away even whatever is left with the poorest of the poor. A small piece of land on which our houses stand whether in cities or farms, is gold. They want it all and that is what is at stake in the DMIC, a 1483 kms highway with an influence area equal to 14% of total land in India and affecting 17% of the population. 70% of the project influence area is agricultural land therefore seriously impacting the food security of the country.

Women from every field – academics, literature, media, development etc. were present for the event. Women representatives from various movements, places and organisations like India Against Corruption, the Yusuf Mehrally Centre etc. were also active participants of the events passionately expressing their concerns, complaints and opinions. The children from the Balanandwan Alisarg Kendra, Dahanu road closed the event with a play on evils done against women.

The Mumbai – Delhi Sangharsh Yatra is joined by activists from ten states of the country and will pass through Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh . They will finally reach Delhi on 18th March for the Kisan – Mazdoor Mahapanchayat. The Yatra is an organised effort to bring together various struggles going across the corridor as it violates all rights of democratically elected Gram Sabhasa and Panchayats and threatens fundamental rights and environmental balance.

Medha Patkar, Dr. Sunilam, Suniti SR, Gyaneshwar Shedge, Lingraj Azad, Rajsingh, Vedvati, Kamla Yadav, Prema bhai, Atik Ahmed, Suhas kolhekar, Suniti S.R>, Sumit Wajale, Prerna Gaekwad, Jameelbhai, Prasad Bagwe, Seela M., Madhuresh and many others will travel from Mumbai to Delhi.

The schedule or the Yatra is as follows:-

8th March – Mumbai

9th March – Raigad/Karla (Pune)

10th March – Dhule/Nandurbar

11th March – Aurangabad/Sinnar

12th March – Umargam(Nargol)

13th March – Surat

14th March – Ahmadebad/Mehsana

15th March – Ujjain

16th March – Udaipur/ Pithampur Industrial area Village Kali Billod

17th March – Jaipur/Rewari

18th March – “Kisan-Khetmazdoor Mahapanchayat” @Jantar Mantar

19th March – Convention on “Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor: Myths and Facts” @ Indian Social Institute, Lodhi Road, New Delhi