[Hindi Appeal and Draft Letter for Signature Campaign is Attached]
APPEAL FOR NATION-WIDE MASS ACTION
to NAPM associated members and supporters
DraftLandAcquisition and Resettlement and Rehabilitation Bill, 2011
New Delhi, August 10, 2011
‘LAND ACQUISITION’is the key issue on the political agenda, today along with ‘corruption’. For the common people and the communities living on the natural resources and human power, it certainly is the most important reason for their battle for survival. ‘Land and everything attached to the land’ was declared as the state’s property under the principle of eminent domain (1894 Act) and hence available for forcible acquisition, for government projects in the name of public purpose. Since 1984, the sovereign governments of India used it for acquiring land for private companies too and thereby launched and legitimized an unjustifiable war against the agrarian communities, habitats in the urban and rural habitat areas and also began an unprecedented transfer of minerals and aquatic wealth from the public to the profiteers. All this has led to intense struggles by the adivasis, dalits, farmers, fish workers, toiling masses and all who are deprived, displaced and victimsed in the name of development.
From August 3rd to 5th, NAPM along with nearly 50 mass people’s organisations from more than 10 states participated in the national action organized under the banner of SANGHARSH[see http://sangharshblog.wordpress.com/ for details].We met in the backdrop of new DraftLandAcquisition, Resettlement and Rehabilitation, 2011 brought out by the Ministry of Rural Development, which is seeking feedback from citizens, till 31st August. This draft claims to be a result of martyrdom and committed battles of the communities which has held on to their land and prevented the capitalist forces marching over them. However, the Bill fails to address the core concerns of the communities and their reasons for resisting the current development paradigm, even though it does have some progressive provisions providing relief to the project affected people.
We The People,are demanding a Development Planning Law NOT an acquisition law, which means ‘to acquire; to take control’ and experience shows it has always been forced, without complete prior information, consent and knowledge of impacts of the communities who own it or are dependent on it for their livelihood. The complete paradigm has to change and since the Bill tries to address the development needs of the country, let people plan and decide the kind of development country needs.
We conveyed to Honourable Minister Jairam Ramesh our larger concern on these issues but also stressed that government / public projects have been the biggest defaulters and Gram Sabha and Basti Sabha consent is must for public projects too and, similarly the new Bill have to address unfulfilled resettlement and rehabilitation entitlements of already displaced people due to various projects when the Sangharsh delegation met with the new Minister, Shri Jairam, Ramesh on August 4th and subsequently on August 7th.We welcome his recent statement that the new Bill would be applicable with retrospective effect and also the consent would be sought from the project affected people for government projects as well. However, we would like to reiterate that our struggle is to protect land and livelihood rights of the millions of the natural resource based communities and not to facilitate acquisition for mindless 8-10% growth obsessed development paradigm.
We have struggled along with many movements in the country for establishing the community control over jal (water) jangal (forests), jameen (land), khanij (minerals) and of course, mehnat (hard work) of millions that recasts all of this into ‘development’. As we continue to do so, we also feel that the laws which facilitate transfer and acquisition of these resources in the hands of private and public corporations for profitable exploitation need to be resisted and every struggle geared towards changing them and making them a tool for our struggle.
WE ASSERT THAT THE NEW ACT SHOULD ADDRESS CONCERNS AT RURAL AND URBAN AREAS BOTH AND :
- FOCUS on development planningmeans planning which is based on the principles of equity, minimum need and distributive justice and the plans must evolve from lowest unit plan, keeping in view the role of gram sabha / Basti Sabha as provided under the Constitution in the article 243 or under the 73rd and 74th EXPLOREoptions with no displacement or least displacing alternatives to projects for truly public
- ADMITcommunity rights to resources and their involvement in planning as well as their first share in the benefits accruing out of the projects for public
- PROTECT land and livelihood rights in rural and urban areas both and stop all diversion of agricultural land and no acquisition for profiteering and private interest of anyone in the garb of public
- NOT IMPOSE new projects or planson a community or their land, water, forest and minerals acquired unless their free, prior and informed consent is
- NOT CAUSE further displacement without prior and complete resettlement and rehabilitation of the project affected people with housing, civic amenities and alternative
- NOT LEAD to irreversible environmental degradationand any inevitable environmental impacts must be fully assessed beforehand and plans for mitigation of the same be formulated, approved and executed in a timely manner.
The draft Bill is open for comments till 31st August. It is in this context that all the participating organizations at the Sangharsh dharna, New Delhi have decided to take up the following programme with utmost urgency, fullest possible mobilization in spirit and strength. We urge our members and supporters to join this call and collectively bring our efforts together.
- HOLD DETAILED CONSULTATIONS,at the state-level and regional level, drawing on the experience of our collective struggles, on the provisions of the Bill and prepare our detailed response to the proposals of the Ministry. As of now following consultations are being planned by NAPM members : Nagpur – August 12 (Bilas Bhongade 9890336873), Mumbai – August 17th (Suniti S. R 9423571784), Hyderabad – August 19th (B Ramakrishna Raju 9866887299), Bangalore (Sister Celia 9945716052), Bihar (Ashish Ranjan 9973363664), Dhinkia, Orissa – August 26th (Prafulla Samantara 9437259005), Narmada Valley (Shrikanth 9179148973). Some of our fraternal organisations are also organizing consultations in different parts of the country, we shall circulate the information as we get it. Do Join them or try to organize them on your own. Do let us know if you need assistance in doing so. All the related documents on the issue are available at http://napm-india.org/node/326
- INITIATE IMMEDIATE DIALOGUEon the theme of new bill and our visions inviting people’s organizations, concerned citizen’s groups, researchers, activists and other intellectuals in your state.
- SPREAD OUR VIEWS through magazines, news papers or any other media.
- JOIN IN THE PROGRAMMES being conducted on the theme by other organisations and explain our position on this.
- ORGANISE MASS SIGNATURE CAMPAIGNin all rural and urban states and regions clearly stating our concerns and assertions with respect to the new bill and send it to the Shri Jairam Ramesh, Ministry of Rural Development, Krishi Bhawan, New Delhi 110001; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- As decided in Delhi, we also call upon all our associated organisations to organize BHUMI HAQ SATYAGRAHAon August 25th and assert our claim to land, water, forest, minerals and aquatic wealth which is lying vacant and not allotted to the needy and demand a total change in the development paradigm towards ‘PEOPLE’S RIGHTS TO PEOPLE’S RESOURCES’ thereby acknowledging people’s development plans with those resources.
Meanwhile, a small team comprising of many of the constituents of Sangharsh collective are working on developing more detailed critique of the Bill, which will also take in account the concerns we are constantly receiving from different movements and individuals.
We are standing at an important juncture of our struggles, resisting displacement and claiming land and livelihood rights and we all need to put together our collective strength towards a comprehensive development planning bill.
Every input of yours will pool into the national voice & vision for people’s centered real development.
Medha Patkar, Yogini Khanolkar, Shrikanth– Narmada Bachao Andolan & National Alliance of People’s Movements
Prafulla Samantara– Loksakti Abhiyan & NAPM Odisha
P Chennaiah, Ajay Kumar, Ramakrishna Raju, Sarasvathy Kavula– NAPM Andhra Pradesh
Sandeep Pandey, Arundhati Dhuru, J P Singh, Manesh Gupta– NAPM, UP
Dr. Sunilam, Adv. Aradhna Bhargava– Kisan Sangharsh Samiti, MP
Akhil Gogoi– Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti, Assam, NAPM-NE
Bhupendera Singh Rawat, Rajendra Ravi, Madhuresh Kumar – NAPM, Delhi
Sister Celia– Domestic Workers Union, NAPM – Karnataka
Suniti S R, Prasad Bhagwe– NAPM – Maharashtra
Vimalbhai– Matu Jan Sangathan & NAPM-Uttarakhand
Anand Mazgaonkar, Krishnakant, Swati Desai– Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti – NAPM Gujarat
For Details: Write to us NAPM, C/O 6/6, Jangpura B, New Delhi 110014.
Phone : Madhuresh 9818905316 | 011 26241167
Relevant documents in Hindi and English available at http://napm-india.org/node/326