Focus on environmental, livelihood issues as second phase of Samvidhan Samman Yatra begins in Mumbai

The second phase of the Sanvidhan Samman Yatra, organised by well-known civil rights network National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), began on October 20, with a public meeting held at Chaityabhumi, Dadar, Mumbai, highlighting increasing attacks on marginalised sections. Begun with protest songs performed by the Swadeshi Hip-Hop collectives, environmentalist Stalin Dayanand of the Save Arey movement insisted on the need to preserve Aarey forests in order to save Mumbai.
Another environmentalist Prakash Bhoir, also belonging to Save Arey movement, said 145 acres from the land of Adivasis has been given to the Veterinary College, where adivasis are treated worse than animals. “We had to fight even for the basic facilities like toilet. Our land has been given for construction of the Mumbai Metro and now they are throwing us out of the our land”, he said.
Rekha Ghatge, activist, Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan (GBGBA), said, she was a victim of the failed rehabilitation at Mahul, which is the the centre of various industries and oil refineries, leading to high level of pollution. A 2015 National Green Tribunal interim judgment, she recalled, had called Mahul as “unfit for human habitation”.
On August 8, she added, the Bombay High Court ordered a bar on any further resettlement in Mahul, and to decide on a rent compensation or temporary accommodation for the remaining Tansa pipeline-affected people. “The government has created a pyre for us in Mahul”, she insisted.
Well-known social activist Teesta Setalwad regretted that the middle classes are completely silent on all the issues affecting the country, while Nikhil Wagle, senior journalist, pointed towards how “Maharashtra police has been applying section 144 all over Maharashtra” in order to “restrict” protests.

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