Bhimavaram: The National Alliance of People’s Movement (NAPM) launched a national campaign to revitalise and rejuvenate democratic values basing on constitutional aspirations, according to its team that is visiting the State.
The team comprises social activists Medha Patkar, Sandeep Pandey, Prafulla Samantara, P Chennaiah, BRK Raju, Uma Narendranath, S Jeevan Kumar, Dr K Babu Rao and Madhuresh Kumar.
The Andhra Pradesh Chapter focusing its attention on farmers’ suicides, destruction of livelihood of thousands of farmers due to the adverse effects of ONGC operations in K-G Basin and possible implications arising out of construction of Polavaram project.
In farmers’ suicides, Andhra Pradesh figures among three States, next only to Maharashtra, Karnataka, with 2,525 recorded cases, said Mr BRK Raju. It is distressing to note that 95 per cent of suicides occurred within a period of one month in just six districts of Mahbubnagar, Anantapur, Adilabad, Karimnagar, Medak and Khammam.
Destruction of livelihood patterns of farmers only to enrich large corporations like Reliance can be seen in extraction of oil and natural gas, he pointed out.
Coal-based thermal plants and open cast coal mines, which are considered ‘rogue’ in terms of environment safety, are depriving the poor and farmers of their land. The trend results in causing global warming and climate change and invites erratic monsoons, dry spells and flash floods leading to crop failures and losses to agriculture, he added.
The NAPM, expressing its doubts with regard to Polavaram dam, said that despite positive claims like stabilising the delta region and ensure irrigation waters for second crop, it may likely serve the private interests of bauxite mining companies that are coming up in the Eastern Ghats.
It may aim at serving to benefit the large-scale industrial projects coming up under the coastal corridor, he said.The team visited East and West Godavari districts on Monday and Tuesday to have a firsthand account of the issues.
It was decided to conduct a roundtable meeting in Hyderabad next month to discuss various issues relating to Polavaram project. To a query, Medha Patkar categorically stated, “We are not against dams as such, but against to the evil effects arisen out of projects and Polvaram is no exception.”
The campaign ‘Lokshakti Abhiyan’ is against corruption, injustice and inequality and towards peace, justice, equality and democracy, the team members explained. If the State failed to recognise its duty to act on the constitutional premises, it is for the active citizenry to voice their concern as the Constitution is often quoted but rarely followed, they pointed out.
The people who raised their voice against corruption need to express their concern against every kind of injustice too, they said.
Corruption is the reason for as well as a product of inequality, violence, loot and exploitation and politics and economics are the means of corruption and the two faces of same coin, they emphasised.
The NAPM opines that a just society can only be based on transparency in politics and governance, which brings about a corruption-free society and therefore the toiling and oppressed masses, manual labourers, peasants, workers, artisans, Adivasis and Dalits, sensitive and thoughtful citizens shpuld participate in this campaign, they appealed.
The demands of the campaign include electoral and political reforms to root out corruption, binding effect of election manifestos, right not to vote or right to reject, 80 per cent compulsory attendance to members of legislative bodies, limit on privileges enjoyed by elected representatives to encourage simple life styles, etc.
Developmental activities need to be endorsed and decided by the local bodies, control on transfer of agricultural land for non-agriculture purposes, protection of Khadi and handloom sector and stoppage of privileges to mechanised products, quality food, water and shelter to everyone equitably, including quality education and health services, they said. Violence, discrimination and injustice upon women, Dalits, Adivasis, minorities and marginalised people should be stopped and they should be given just treatment and respect, the NAPM members said.