Anarcho-environmentalism allegorised

The name Anaarkali in the present context has many meanings - Anaar symbolises the anarchism of the Bhils and kali which means flower bud in Hindi stands for their traditional environmentalism. Anaar in Hindi can also mean the fruit pomegranate which is said to be a panacea for many ills as in the Hindi idiom - "Ek anar sou bimar - One pomegranate for a hundred ill people"! - which describes a situation in which there is only one remedy available for giving to a hundred ill people and so the problem is who to give it to. Thus this name indicates that anarcho-environmentalism is the only cure for the many diseases of modern development! Similarly kali can also imply a budding anarcho-environmentalist movement. Finally according to a legend that is considered to be apocryphal by historians Anarkali was the lover of Prince Salim who was later to become the Mughal emperor Jehangir. Emperor Akbar did not approve of this romance of his son and ordered Anarkali to be bricked in alive into a wall in Lahore in Pakistan but she escaped. Allegorically this means that anarcho-environmentalists can succeed in bringing about the escape of humankind from the self-destructive love of modern development that it is enamoured of at the moment and they will do this by simultaneously supporting women's struggles for their rights.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Who is the Biggest Cheat in India?

One of the biggest tests of the implementation of the rule of law for ensuring justice to Adivasis in the post independence Indian liberal democratic framework has been the ongoing struggle against big dam construction in the Narmada valley. Even though the dams could not be totally scrapped the mass struggle combined with legal action has ensured that their further construction is stymied on the grounds that the Environmental and Rehabilitation and Resettlement (R&R) conditions imposed by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) and the Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal have not been met. The Narmada Bachao Andolan has repeatedly approached the High and Supreme Courts and got orders passed against further construction. However, the Indian State, controlled as it is by crony capitalists, is the biggest cheat by far in this country and is always attempting to get round this obstacle to dam building in the Narmada valley by various underhand means. Here is a report from the National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM) on the latest such underhand attempt -

The decision to permit raising of the height of the Sardar Sarovar Dam from the present height of 122 mts to the final height of 138.68 mts, as per the news published in the Times of India, has been taken by the Resettlement and Rehabilitation Sub Group of the Narmada Control Authority (NCA) on 26th June. This is supposed to have been done on the basis of the reports by the 4 states, including Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra, confirming, that ‘rehabilitation is complete’. All this is absolutely unbelievable and unacceptable since there are more than 40,000 families in the 245 villages in the submergence area spread across three states, but the maximum (193) are in Madhya Pradesh alone.
There are at least 4,000 families in M.P. and about 1,000 in Maharashtra who are yet to receive alternative agricultural land as per the eligibility. Thousands of landless including agricultural labourers, fish workers, potters and other artisans are yet to get an alternative source of livelihood as per the state policy and Action Plan, endorsed by the Supreme Court. Those at the resettlement site in Gujarat or Maharashtra or at a very small percentage in M.P. are certainly not rehabilitated, till date, as there are hundreds of families without full land, as per entitlement or amenities, yet to be attained.  
When huge corruption through a massive scandal of about Rupees 500 to 1000 crores, misappropriated by officials and agents in rehabilitation is under inquiry by the Justice Jha Commission appointed by the High Court for the past five years, there is no way that the M.P. Government can approve of the fake rehabilitation taking place there. M.P. has allotted land to only 21 families till date, that too in the past two months, while more than 4,000 are still to get their due, many of whom are cheated through fake land registries. These include Adivasis living in the hilly Satpuda and Vindhya ranges, who are to be taken special care of as per the policy and judgements. Maharashtra too is still searching and locating land to establish R&R sites and Gujarat’s oustees are also awaiting declaration, allotment of land and / or amenities in the original villages as well as resettlement sites.
The Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal Award and all the Supreme Court judgements, (1991, 2000, 2002, 2005) and the last interim order that has clearly directed full and fair implementation of the NWDTA, will be violated once again, if there is any increase in the dam height  at this stage. Flooding the villages, where life is on with pucca houses, shops, markets, schools, temples and mosques and lakhs of trees will be a gross injustice, a violation of the rule of law and contempt of court. The Prime Minister himself had given a written commitment to the Apex Court on 17th April, 2006 i.e. on the 21st day of the fast by Medha Patkar and others in New Delhi, that all the families whose land was being submerged upto the dam height of 122 mts had not been rehabilitated and yet that height was sanctioned and that rehabilitation would be completed within 3 months i.e. by June, 2006 before further construction was allowed. The same has not yet happened and hence there could be no permission granted for further work at the dam.
Moreover, not one, but many committees of MoEF and the latest chaired by Shri Devendra Pandey have clearly concluded based on documents and data that almost all the conditions imposed at the time of giving environmental clearance have not been not fulfilled. Be it Gujarat on the non-compliance of Command Area Development Plans, or Maharashtra and M.P. with targets and plans on protective / preventive measures, compensatory afforestation or health measures for all the three states.  
It is, therefore, obvious that any clearance granted is only a result of political expediency. Mr. Narendra Modi since the last few months has been raising the issue of the stopped construction of the Sardar Sarovar Project publicly and blaming it on the UPA Govt at the Centre, which is succumbing to these pressures unnecessarily and unjustifiably. When Gujarat doesn’t have its canal network ready and has not developed more than 25-30% of the command area over the last 30 years, what is the need to raise the height and fill more water to drown the valley? Why can’t the Ministry of Environment and Forests and the Narmada Control Authority under the Ministry of Water Resources compel Gujarat to complete execution of all environmental measures and build the canal network phase-wise and thereby utilise the already ponded waters?
The issue is being politicised with the nearing of the 2014 elections, no doubt, but people’s lives and livelihoods being at stake, we can’t allow such a heinous crime to be committed by flooding houses, communities, fields and forests any more, not till all legal pre-conditions are fulfilled. We warn the NCA not to clear the raising of the dam height and also warn R&R Sub – Group to withdraw its decision. The people of the valley will compel these authorities to comply with the law and are prepared to fight tooth and nail.  

National Alliance of People’s Movements
National Office : 6/6, Jangpura B, Mathura Road, New Delhi 110014
Phone : 011 26241167 / 24354737 Mobile : 09818905316
Web :
Twitter : @napmindia

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