Patna, January 27 : ‘Development’ and ‘Governance’ was the poll plank for Nitish Kumar which brought him to power for Second term in Bihar. But what is the reality on ground ? Lokshakti Abhiyan on its fifth day in Bihar reached Patna after travelling through five districts of North Bihar. In Patna the Abhiyan attended a big public meeting at the Kargil Chowk next to historic Gandhi Maidan. The meeting on issues of urban poor organised in the wake of new slum policy in Patna was organised jointly by twelve organisations of Bihar under the banner of National Alliance of People’s Movements including Jhuggi Jhopdi Sangharsh Morcha, Jhuggi Jhopadi Morcha Samiti, Ashray Adhikar Abhiyan, Ekta Parishad, Nidan, Seva Kendra, Vanchit Samaj and others.
Later they marched to the CM’s residence breaking the Sec 144 since Nitish Kumar’s government refused to meet the delegation due to scheduled appointments with the officers of all the districts. However, later he sent a message saying that he is unwell and sent his Secretary to meet. A delegation of ten people met and gave him the Memorandum on different issues. The delegation included, Sister Dorothy, Arun Kumar, Syurendra Mandal, Kishori Das, Mahendra Yadav, Kamayani Swami and others.
Medha Patkar addressing the gathering said, “It is extremely unfortunate that Nitish Kumar coming from Socialist traditions has forgotten the tradition of dialogue. Dialogue with the people’s movements, who disagree with his agenda of development and governance. His agenda of privatization of basic services like health, education, water, shelter, transport and employment in every sector. What kind of development is this that State is withdrawing from every sector of basic services and handing its role to contractors big small and leading to complete informalisation of labour. What is this kind of development where on small pretext police opens fires leading to death of four people including children and women, implicates innocent villagers in false cases, put them behind bars and there is no one from the Government with whom there is a possibility of dialogue. The ugly face of development is beginning to show and people’s movements will have to intervene to put a halt to this.”
Sister Dorothy from Ashray Adhikar Abhiyan said, “in the new development paradigm there is no space for poor people be it in villages or slums in city. The new slum policy will lead to large scale evictions in the cities of Bihar. In the name of beautification and widening of streets lakhs of people will be evicted and displaced. They are already on margins where will they go? It is for this reason that we have to come together and fight. In coming months we will launch strong agitations against the displacement unleashed on the communities.”
Speaker after speaker narrated the same tale about this new face of development. Lokshakti Abhiyan members also witnessed the same be it the situation after floods in Kosi region; struggle against Asbestos factory in Madwan, Muzzafarpur; worker’s movements in Kanti Thermal Power Factory; Killing of four people protesting against Starch Factory; corruption in MNERGA and farmers protests against land acquisition for Highways.
After the tour of five days and interacting with movements of the state the memorandum submitted by the delegation demanded the following :
1.Immediate relief to the families of 4 people killed in Farbesganj, Araria police firing. Withdrawing false cases against villagers of Bhajanpur. Immediate completion of enquiry by the commission of Enquiry and implementation of the recommendations of the Minorities Commission.
2. Withdrawl of false cases against the people of Kanti and implementation of the agreement between the administration and villagers which required providing electricity to those living within 8 kms of the Kanti Thermal Power Station.
3.Providing compensation to the farmers whose land has been destroyed in the Kosi floods and take immediate action to restore the land to fertility after removing the sand.
4.Investigate in to the MNREGA corruption.
5. Amend Slum Policy and provide insitu development to the slum-dwellers after consulting them.
Lokshakti Abhiyan will travel to Jharkhand tomorrow and hold a public meeting in kankenagari where land of Adivasis is being acquired for setting up Indian Insitutute of Management Campus and then hold a public meeting at Jagannathpur Chowk in Ranchi.
Medha Patkar, Vijay Kumar, J P Singh, Rajendra Ravi, Rakesh Rafiq, Roshanlal Agarwal, Kamayani Swami, Ashish Ranjan, Mahendra Yadav, Nagesh Tripathi, Ashu Chauhan, Amar Misra, Ashok Purusharthi, Thakur Devendra, Madhuresh Kumar.
For details call : Ashish Ranjan 9973363664 Madhuresh Kumar 9818905316