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Dialogue on dams in Indore to review impact of big projects across India

The Narmada Bachao Andolan, in association with the Matu Jan Sangathan and the Bargi Bandh Visthapit Evam Prabhavit Sangh, will be holding a dialogue on dams on September 30 at the Hindi Sahitya Samiti, Indore, in order to highlight that with the disaster in Uttarakhand and Kerala, and threats faced and felt in the Narmada valley, it is now more important than ever before to come up with a "sustainable a just way to harness resources and monitor their utilisation and distribution of benefits, drinking water, irrigation and power generation."
In a joint statement, the three civil rights organizations have said, "Dams are in the public domain again! Not all, check dams to small dams, but large dams especially, have become an issue to be debated for their costs, impacts, benefits and resultant equity to injustice. These dams, as symbols of development paradigm, need to be reviewed."
Pointing towards the need for a dialogue on dams, it adds, "Dams have an insepara…

Thousands of displaced gather in Madhya Pradesh along Narmada to protest Modi declaring dam completed a year ago

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Thousands of displaced persons – tribals, farmers, labourers, fishermen and other people living in Narmada Valley of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat – gathered in Chhota Barda, Badwani, on September 17 to protest against Prime Prime Minister Narendra Modi announcing the completion of the construction of the Sardar Sarovar dam exactly a year ago.
Organized by Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), the gathering highlighted how around 35,000 affected families of Sardar Sarovar are still living in the submergence area. NBA said in a statement, “By changing the backwater level, 16,000 families have been left out from getting any benefit which other displaced persons are to get. They don’t have complete right to farming or livelihood, or housing.”
“In 65 villages of Badwani district alone, a total of 4,500 families are left out”, NBA said, adding, “Despite the Supreme Court order, few thousand applications are pending for special grant of Rs 60 lakh. There is a complete lack of facilities…

Take action against those who killed Himachal RTI activist: Letter to chief minister

In a letter to Jai Ram Thakur, chief minister, Himachal Pradesh, insisting upon the need for “immediate action” on those accused of killing social worker Kedar Singh Jindan, a social activist, the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) has said, in all, 72 RTI activists in the country till now, and it is highly condemnable and shameful that the state government “has increased another figure to this.”
The work that Jindan did was exemplary, NAPM said. “Through his RTI pleas, he ensured the work that many government agencies should be normally doing. He helped people below the poverty line this way. This could not be digested by people of the ruling establishment in his area.”
Demanding strict action against the culprits and “suitable compensation” to his family, NAPM said, Jindan was lawyer by profession was a Dalit, who “constantly struggling for the upliftment of the society. His endeavour was always to get the right to education”, adding, “The killers of Kedar Singh Jindan …

Left Front should allow dissent: NAPM tells Kerala govt on anti-pharma MNC activist's arrest

In an “explanatory” note on its recent statement (click HERE) on the promoter of alternative medicine Jacob Vadakkanchery’s arrest, the top civil rights network has said that it “does not seek to hold any brief for the merits or demerits of Jacob as a medical practitioner”, since it is “not competent to do so” and it is “the subject matter of experts in the domain of medical and public health.”
However, it insists, as for Jacob’s arrest, “We wish to state that we expect more maturity on behalf of a government in such a situation, particularly a left-ruled government in Kerala, to deal with dissenting opinions, in ways other than arrest.”
Pointing out that the arrest of the anti-pharmaceutical MNC activist has “obfuscated the deeper questions”, it adds, “We are of the considered opinion that independent of the opinions he holds, Jacob is entitled to all civil liberties, like any other citizen”, hence such “arbitrary action, including arrest”, should be taken against him.”
At the same …

Holding simultaneous polls is against federal structure of Indian constitution: Jagdeep Chhokar

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Speaking at the Western Regional Consultation on Electoral and Political Reforms, organized by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and the Gujarat Election Watch (GEW) in Ahmedabad, top academic Prof Jagdeep Chhokar, founder-trustee, ADR, said that the federal structure is “basic to the Indian Constitution and holding simultaneous elections is against the federal nature of the constitution and it will amount to changing the constitution itself.” He added, one main reason given by the government to hold simultaneous elections is to bring down the cost of elections, though “nobody knows the exact amount of election expenditure during elections.”
Speaking on electoral malpractices, former Gujarat chief minister Suresh Mehta said the main reason for for this is “lack of manpower with the Election Commission of India (ECI)”, adding, “During elections ECI is dependent on state administration and therefore it is unable to curb electoral malpractices effectively as they are under pr…

Gujarat Bhim Sena demands setting up of community hall, library, sports complex for Dalits in western Ahmedabad

Gujarat's Bhim Sena chief Manishbhai Sondharva, in a letter to Bijalben Patel, mayor, Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC), has demanded that, in the vacant plot in the Jivraj Park, behind the TV9 Office and next to the D-Mart shopping complex, special facilities be set up for the Dalit population living in the western part of the city.
"The facilities should include a community hall, a study centre, a library and a sports complex in the name of Dr BR Ambedkar", the letter insists, adding, "Currently, there is no place for social occasions for about 100 Dalit localities situated in the western part of the city, including in such areas as Vejalpur, Ambavadi, Rajiv Nagar, Vasna, Malav Talav, Someshwar Nagar, Gupta Nagar, Sorai Nagar, Azam Society, Baldev Nagar, Sant Krupa Society, Ugam Society, Chamunda Society, Shri Krishna Tenement, Bhaleshwar and Sajwas."
Pointing out that the current facilities in the area are very costly, unaffordable and often unavailable, …

Indian Railways "bulldoze" makeshift shanties in Ahmedabad as Modi decides to visit to city on Gandhi Jayanti

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The Indian railway authorities on Saturday “bulldozed” about 50 make-shift shanties near the Sabarmati Railway Overbidge. Vipul Pandya, a civil rights activist, says that this was done “because on October 2, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is to visit Ahmedabad for the Gandhi Jayant.”
Pointing out that these make-shift shanties belong to adivasi workers, who migrate to Ahmedabad in search of jobs in construction sites from the eastern tribal belt, Pandya said, earlier, a warning was issued by Railway authorities, Ahmedabad, which had warned these workers to vacate the site by September 15.
The letter, forwarded to CounterView, said, the area “belongs to the Indian Railways and the shanties put up there are unauthorized, hence these should be vacated, otherwise these removed to clear the land.”
Meanwhile, commenting on the development, Gujarat's well-known child rights activist Sukhdev Patel says, "There has been a criticism over the way a girl  was abused at the Rajpath Club…

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