CHENNAI, March 16, 2011
Social activist Medha Patkar at a demonstration organised by the residents of Thervoikandigai village in Gummidipoondi on Tuesday.
Government is pushing only elitist infrastructure projects, says Medha Patkar
Social activist Medha Patkar on Tuesday said political parties must list out the action plan with regard to the issue of slum eviction in the city in their manifesto.
“The elevated expressway project should not have been cleared. The government is pushing only one kind of infrastructure projects, elitist infrastructure projects. There is no sensitivity in favour of the urban poor,” she added.
Urging a group of slum residents who held a demonstration in the city to start a “Land occupation movement,” she said, “We must strike at the centres of power that are bulldozing us.”
Apart from slum dwellers, many people from residential localities with better infrastructure facilities around the Cooum River participated in the demonstration. “We have been issued notice. We are worried. I request the government to drop the elevated expressway project,” said Indira Ganeshkumar, a resident of Perumal Koil Street, Aminjikarai.
Earlier, at a demonstration organised by residents of Thervoikandigai village in Gummidipoondi taluk, Tiruvallur district, Ms. Patkar said that protests against ‘land grabbing’ in the name of developments being held in different parts of the country were slowly turning as a non-violent war against governments.
The residents of Thervoikandigai have been vehemently opposing setting up of special economic zones through the State Industries Promotion Corporation of Tamilnadu.
Ms. Patkar said millions of people in the country were experiencing the same problem faced by the Thervoikandigai residents.
“You are not fighting only for 1,200 acres of land or for four lakes of the forest. Yours’ is a struggle for life, nothing less than that. For Dalits, Adi Dravidars, farmers and fishermen their life depends on the nature,” she said.
Vast extent of land which provides livelihood for local people and thousands of cattle cannot be valued in terms of rupees or dollars as done in the case of spectrum scam. Local people have their right over the forest, which was protected and nurtured by them for years together, she claimed by pointing out that right to live and right to fight of life were enshrined in the Constitution. Mass movements such as the one that had cropped up at Thevoikandigai or elsewhere in the country were aimed at changing the relationship between people and those in power.
The national convener (Tamil Nadu), NAPM, D.Gabriele, president, Dalit Mannurimai Kootamaipu, Nicholas, and representatives from various political parties except the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam participated in the meeting.
Later, Ms. Patkar visited the SIPCOT industrial estate and viewed the preliminary infrastructure construction work taken up by a foreign tyre manufacturing company.