CACIM DELHI DEMOS BULLETIN 24 : Much to be done

From Kathmandu, Thursday, April 20, 2006
PLEASE SEND ON
The Delhi demos may be over but a great deal remains to be done. Both movements, and perhaps especially the Narmada movement at this stage, require solidarity and support. We give below the latest information and the most urgent requirements. (Item 1.) As always, please do send this Bulletin on to others you feel might want to know about this and might be in a position to help.
We at CACIM are continuing to discuss how we should and could follow up these 24 issues of CDDB – and as we asked yesterday, we would welcome your input on this, perhaps especially in terms of your reflections on the issues we have tried raising in this Bulletin. Many questions have arisen, from the question of coordination between movements (and perhaps also, between supporters of movements ?) and the questions that lie behind this one, of division and of the inability to coordinate; to the question of, if it takes 20 and more days of a hunger-strike by several people, and major solidarity actions, to even begin to reach the ear and mind of the state, whether movements do not need to re-think tactics and strategy, including moving on from such issue-based mobilisation – but if so, how and in what directions ?; to the question of how movements in India at least seem to be accepting in the most docile manner the drastic reductions in space (both physically and politically) that the state is systematically forcing on them (see CDDB issue 2). (Just to illustrate this latter point, and taking a liberty with the formal theme of these bulletins, we have included here a news item on a very similar development that is apparently taking place in Goa, in India (item 5). Especially in the convergence of neoliberalisation and the world after 9/11 however, we feel sure that this phenomenon is not limited to India alone.)
We tried to lay out, in yesterday’s edition of CDDB, who we at CACIM are, where we are coming from, our areas of concern, and the directions in which we, as a new initiative, are thinking of moving. We would be glad to have your comments and input.
Jai Sen, for CACIM
IN THIS ISSUE OF CDDB :
[1] NARMADA ACTION ALERT (April 19/20)
[2] ‘Mr PM, Please Don’t Change The Monsoon Arrival Dates…’ (April 18-19)
[3] Tech panel to examine Carbide waste report (April 19/20)
[4] Bhopal Gas Victims : (1) Bhopal Campaigners Call Off Hunger Strike (2) One Cause, 2 Decades: From Bhopal To Delhi On Foot, It’s Time To Take The Train Home (April 19/20)
[5] ‘Now, dharnas to be held [only] at Azad Maidan’ (April 7)
Note : All back issues of this Bulletin (the CACIM Delhi Demos Bulletin), number 0 onwards, are available here.
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[1] NARMADA ACTION ALERT
April 19-20, 2006
Current Status:
The Supreme court has adjourned the hearing of the petition from the Andolan seeking a stay on raising the height of the Sardar Sarovar Project from about 110 metres to 122 metres to May 1. While empowering Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to resolve the dispute over raising the height of the Sardar Sarovar dam, the Supreme Court on Monday warned the States concerned that it would have no option but to stop construction if the rehabilitation measures were inadequate.
IMMEDIATE ACTION REQUIRED:
A Flood of Phone calls and faxes to the Prime Minister, Sonia Gandhi, and Prithviraj Chauhan (PM
Office) Letters to Editors of major newspapers Phone Numbers, fax numbers and email addresses given at the end.
TALKING POINTS:
[Use suitable modifications of the suggested points when talking to the Minister of State Prithviraj Chavan or with Sonia Gandhi’s office. Points below assume one is talking to PMO. ] When three of his own ministers had been sent to Madhya Pradesh by him to assess the extent of rehabilitation, and if they had come back to report inaction, corruption and callousness on an inhuman scale, then it ought to be the Prime Minister – and not the Supreme Court – who must decide and act on that report. Request the prime minister to embody and implement the “statesman-like approach”, which the court has advocated, in order to strike that difficult balance “between rehabilitation and development”.
The Union Government has proposed in the Supreme Court that the Sardar Sarovar oustees “would be completely rehabilitated before end of August, 2006, the period of onset of monsoon.” The PM knows very well that rehabilitation in 3 months is impossible. So, this is a meaningless assertion. If it is granted by the Court, would simply mean submergence of thousands of families without rehabilitation.
The Soz report clearly acknowledges that rehabilitation cannot be completed by MP until at least a year from now. The major rehabilitation site where MP claims as having resettled 18000 families has only a handful of families with very few houses, no water, no roads, no school, etc. Similarly with many other sites, How can this be rectified in 3 months?
The monsoon begins in June, and last year there were major floods at the end of June in Gujarat in which many people were killed. So, the argument that onslaught of monsoon is in August is unacceptable. The government stated in the Court that in case the rehabilitation could not be completed then the government would resort to temporary resettlement. This is a cruel and inhumane proposal by the Government. Temporary resettlement is only an escape mechanism for the government leaving the families destitute.
It is Dr. Manmohan Singh, and not the Supreme Court, who should be taking clear, firm and ethically reasonable decisions regarding the height of the dam. It is, again, Prime Minister Singh, together with the Central and state governments, who must see that the displaced are rehabilitated in a proper and timely manner.
Contact Information
>From India: Use STD code 0 -11
>From abroad: Use (international dialling code) 91-11-
before dialling the numbers below :
· Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh
Office: 23012312, 23013149, 23019545, 23016857 (Fax)
Home: 23018939, 23018668, 23015470, 23015603 (Fax)
Parliament: 23017660, 23019817, 23014255 (Fax)
· Mrs. Sonia Gandhi, leader of UPA, governing
coalition
Office: 23014481, 23012656, 23018651 (FAX)
· Mr. Prithviraj Chauhan
Office: 23010191, 23013719, 23017931 (Fax)
Home: 23013132, 23017839 (Fax)
Parliament: 23034963
Email Addresses of PM & Minister of State in PMO
pmosb@pmo.nic.in
chavanprithviraj@sansad.nic.in
Letters to the Editor
[Please mention you complete postal address and phone
for chance of publication in most cases ] [ For all participants in alert: ] HT: letters@hindustantimes.com
IE: editor@indian-express.com, editor@expressindia.com
ToI: editor@timesofindia.com
The Hindu: thehindu@vsnl.com
Asian Age: asianage@asianage.com, asianage@vsnl.com
DH: letters@deccanherald.co.in
Statesman: http://www.thestatesman.net/page.feedback.php?usrsess=1, thestatesman@vsnl.com
[For US based participants in alert:] India West: News@indiawest.com
India Abroad: editorial@indiaabroad.com
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[2] On 20.4.06 10:01am, “Priya Ranjan”
wrote:
OPEN LETTER
‘Mr PM, Please Don’t Change The Monsoon Arrival Dates…’

… to hoodwink the Supreme Court and the nation.
These are ploys that any run-of-the-mill politician employs.. We are awaiting a statesman-like Prime Minister of India who puts petty politics aside and takes a meaningful and truthful stand.’
Js RAVI KUCHIMANCHI

April 19, 2006
To
Dr. Manmohan Singh,
Prime Minister of India,
Dear Prime Minister,
Instead of acting on the report of the Group of Ministers who visited the Narmada valley, the union government has promised the Supreme Court that the Sardar Sarovar oustees “would be completely rehabilitated before August, 2006, the period of onset of monsoon .” [1] We wonder if you are aware that as per the India Meteorological Department [3] the onset of the southwest monsoon in the Narmada valley is from June 10-15 every year and the withdrawal is Sept 15-Oct 1. So, by August, we will be half way into the monsoons!
Do you expect that the displaced families, even if they were magically rehabilitated by Aug 1, will plough their lands – assuming they are allotted lands and not cash – and sow the seeds in August for the monsoons that start in June? If they are even now allotted cash, do you expect them to purchase lands, till them and be ready for cultivation this monsoons?
Have you forgotten that by June last year the monsoon was in full swing and hundreds of people were dying in the floods in Gujarat? The Sardar Sarovar dam was overflowing at 110 mts and by July 1, 2005 already the newspapers were quoting Sardar Sarovar Nigam Ltd as saying that had the dam height been 121.9 mts., the reservoir would have filled up by then instead of the waters flowing waste to the sea. [2] In fact, not only in 2005, but in many of the past years the dam was overflowing in July itself. Of course this is to be expected as whether there are heavy rains in Gujarat or Maharashtra or Madhya Pradesh, the SSP dam overflows and by June or July every year at least one of these states in the catchment area of SSP receives huge rainfall.
So how did your government arrive at the August deadline for rehabilitating families and claim that is when monsoons started? If you are really concerned about rehabilitating families, as you have said, then surely you must realize that this can only be done by immediately calling halt to dam construction so as to minimize the scale of displaced families, and then on a war footing rehabilitating those that are left so that they are not endangered by the rising waters in June and July.
The Narmada Tribunal Award required that rehabilitation should be completed 6 months before submergence and this any way has not been done. There was a reason why they said 6 months. They appreciated that it takes time for farmers and adivasis to move to new sites and prepare their new lands for the monsoon crop. Your government has shown little understanding of the time needed by the adivasis and farmers.
The union government cannot be blamed for stopping the Sardar Sarovar construction if rehabilitation has not been done by Madhya Pradesh and other state governments. With a clear conscience we request you to re-examine the rationale for choosing August as the deadline, and if it is really to ensure that rehabilitation is completed before onset of monsoons as stated by the union government, then you must halt construction keeping in view that the onset of monsoons is in June and not August.
Like a statesman, you need to be truthful and not change the monsoon arrival dates to hoodwink the Supreme Court and the nation. These are ploys that any run-of-the-mill politician employs, not a statesman.
____________________________
[3] On 20.4.06 12:16 pm, “Nityanand Jayaraman”
wrote:
Tech panel to examine Carbide waste report
Correspondent : Staff Reporter
Bhopal, April 18 At a meeting of the task force committee, constituted following a Madhya Pradesh High Court ruling regarding disposal of chemical waste present in the Union Carbide India Ltd factory premises in the state capital, on Tuesday, decided to dispatch various laboratories’ reports to a technical subcommittee for examination.
The gathering, chaired by Union Secretary (Chemicals and Fertiliser) Satwant Reddy, discussed the document. The subcommittee, which included representatives of the Madhya Pradesh Pollution Control Board, Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and Hyderabad-based National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), would submit its report soon.
Among those present were Principal Secretary (Gas Tragedy Relief and Rehabilitation) MM Upadhyaya, PS (Environment and Housing) PD Meena, Joint Secretary (Chemicals and Fertiliser) KC Mishra, Deputy Secretary Yudhveer Singh, NEERI Director Tapan Chakraborty and CPCB Assistant Director NK Verma. SOURCE : Central Chronicle, Wednesday, April 19, 2006
_________________
[4] On 20.4.06 12:26 pm, “Nityanand Jayaraman” wrote:
BHOPAL GAS VICTIMS : BHOPAL CAMPAIGNERS CALL OFF HUNGER STRIKE
NEW DELHI: The victims of the Bhopal gas disaster on Monday called off their indefinite hunger strike after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met a 10-member delegation and agreed to some of their demands. Six persons, including three survivors of the disaster, were on an indefinite fast for the last six days. The Prime Minister’s Office said they agreed to a time-bound plan for the delivery of safe drinking water to communities affected by contamination of water, scientific assessment of the depth and spread of toxic contamination in and around the Union Carbide factory in Bhopal, and funds to address all health issues related to contamination. Dr. Singh assured the delegation that the Centre was fully committed to providing relief to the victims of the disaster and ensuring their welfare. He said he would explore possible legal options to hold Dow Chemicals accountable. The Bhopal survivors had demanded that the Government make Dow Chemicals pay for the clean-up of toxic contamination, as well as pay compensation for the health and environmental damage caused by reckless dumping of chemical wastes. They had also demanded that the Government stop buying Dow products and halt the company’s expansion in India until it accepted pending liabilities of the disaster. “We are ashamed and outraged that the Prime Minister of the world’s largest democracy has openly admitted to his inability to pressure an American multinational,” said Sathyanath Sarangi, one of the six persons who were on hunger strike. (The Hindu 18/4/06)
ONE CAUSE, 2 DECADES: FROM BHOPAL TO DELHI ON FOOT, IT’S TIME TO TAKE THE TRAIN HOME
NEW DELHI, APRIL 18: Satinath Sarangi, 52, is taking the train to Bhopal tonight. A fortnight ago, he, with a small group survivors, had walked 800 km from Bhopal to stir New Delhi to the issues of the survivors of the gas tragedy that exist even 22 years later. Though their hunger strike was over-shadowed by the Narmada agitation across the street at Jantar Mantar, for Sarangi, this was yet another successful chapter of the campaign. They managed to get an audience with the Prime Minister and Rs 17 crore sanctioned by Madhya Pradesh for clean drinking water, something which the Supreme Court had ordered four years ago. Sarangi was 30 and in his third year of PhD in metallurgical engineering in BHU when the tragedy happened. He was visiting a village 75 km from Bhopal when he heard the bare details of the disaster on radio. Sarangi rushed to Bhopal to do some relief work. And since that day, he has not left the city nor the issues related to the tragedy. He belongs to the fast-fading generation of activists — sporting his worn-out kurta and a turban. Beyond relief and research, his legal activism straddles the worlds of the Supreme Court, MP High Court and the New York district court. To get the guilty of Union Carbide behind bars has become one of the most protracted, legal battles ever — in the process, his group Bhopal Group for Information and Advocacy has the collection of best documents on the tragedy. Even today, when the rest of the country has moved on, they keep a hawk-like eye on Dow Chemicals, now the wholly-owned subsidiary of Union Carbide of India. Last year, they scuttled the plans of IOC to strike a deal with Dow Chemicals. After the immediate relief work was over, in 1996, Sarangi started a clinic called Sambhavana, a few metres from the factory. It treats the 200 survivors every day with the help of allopathic medicine, ayurveda and yoga. There are six doctors and 30 volunteers who work there. (Indian Exp 19/4/06)
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________________
[5] From: Lillian D’Costa
Date: Apr 7, 2006 11:19 AM
Subject: Now, dharnas to be held at Azad Maidan
only the other day I was reading an article about the increasing ‘Privatisation’ of urban spaces, although this has happened more glaringly in the metro cities of Mumbai and now Delhi, this phenomena is fast catching up in Goa. Where spaces that once promoted a free and community exchange in the cities are being ‘cleaned’ and sanitized with ‘beautifications’ like parks and gardens. Spaces for ‘gatherings’ especially those that symbolize descent are being pushed into less ‘disruptive’ corners. This move by the CCP is not a healthy sign at all and I think opposition must be voiced. regards lillian
Now, dharnas to be held [only] at Azad Maidan
BY HERALD REPORTER
PANJIM, APRIL 6 – Azad Maidan will be the new venue
for dharnas (sit-ins).
Following a complaint by the Corporation of the City of Panjim, the District Administration North Goa has banned the staging of dharnas at the Custom’s House, Panjim. The new venue will now be Azad Maidan for which prior permission will have to be sought for from the SDM and Deputy Collector, Tiswadi. The selection of the new venue for staging of dharnas was arrived at in a joint meeting between the North Goa District Collector, Commissioner of the Panjim City Corporation and the Traffic Cell.
It is learnt that the CCP had complained that dharnas staged near the Custom’s House, Panjim was destroying the corporate sponsored medians. Similarly, the Traffic Cell also pointed out to hardships caused to vehicular movements on the vital exit point of the city. It has now been decided that permissions for staging dharnas will require an application to be submitted to the SDM and will require an NOC from the District police, town police and the Panjim City Corporation.
This action has come after the long drawn agitation held near Custom’s House by the computer teachers, pre-employment personnel and the PWD.
________________________________________________
CACIM – India Institute for Critical Action : Centre
in Movement
A-3 Defence Colony, New Delhi 110 024, India
Ph 91-11-5155 1521, 2433 2451
Eml cacim@cacim.net
Web www.cacim.net

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