peoples march

from the people against injustice in the society

Archive for July 16th, 2010

Dutch manager PGGM drops India’s Vedanta over ethical concerns

Posted by ajadhind on July 16, 2010

NETHERLANDS – Asset manager PGGM has withdrawn its investments in Indian mining company Vedanta Resources for “persistently ignoring” the environment and human rights.

Despite a two-year dialogue concerning Vedanta’s mining activities in the state of Orissa, the company made no concrete improvements, PGGM said.

The asset manager said Vedanta’s lack of improvement and refusal to co-operate on environmental and human rights issues had increasingly put the company’s reputation at risk, which, PGGM felt, had translated into a financial risk.

PGGM, which manages the €91bn healthcare scheme PFZW, said it had exchanged letters and held numerous talks with the company over the last two years.

It also aimed to step up pressure on Vedanta by involving a number of international institutional investors in talks.

But PGGM said Vedanta declined to participate in a roundtable meeting with experts – initiated by the group of investors – to discuss possible solutions for problems in Orissa.

Consequently, PGGM has disinvested its €13m stake in the company, including Vedanta’s subsidiaries Sterlite Industries, Hindustan Zinc and Sesa Goa.

Author: Leen Preesman

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Orissa HC rejects government’s recommendation on Khandadhar mines to Posco

Posted by ajadhind on July 16, 2010

The Hindu

CUTTACK: In a setback to the Rs.51,000-crore Posco steel plant planned at Paradeep, the Orissa High Court on Wednesday set aside the State government’s recommendation for granting the South Korean steel major a licence for prospecting in the Khandadhar iron ore mines in Sundargarh district.

Allowing a writ petition filed by Geomin Minerals and Marketing (P) Ltd, a Bhubaneswar-based company, a Division Bench of Justices B.P. Das and B.P. Ray directed the State government to take a fresh decision on the licence giving preferential right of consideration to the petitioner. In January 2009, the government recommended that the Centre grant Posco a licence for prospecting on 2,500 hectares of the Khandadhar mines. The recommendation was based on Section 11(5) of the Mining and Minerals (Regulation and Development) Act.

Terming the decision “arbitrary” and “illogical,” Geomin Minerals challenged it in the High Court, claiming that it had made the first application for a mining lease in the area way back in August 1991.

The Bench said that the preferential right for consideration was available to the petitioner, and the recommendation made in favour of Posco was not valid.

Urging the court to restrain the government from considering applications for mineral concessions filed by the latter applicants until its application was disposed of, Geomin Minerals also sought an order to dispose of all its applications pending with govt.

Holding that the writ petition was not premature and was maintainable as there was no alternative remedy, the High Court directed the government to dispose of all pending applications of the petitioner in four months.

A dozen other petitions, including an intervention petition filed by Visa Steel Ltd, were tagged to the petition of Geomin Minerals. The Bench, however, rejected Visa Steel’s contention and asked it to file an independent writ petition if it had any cause of action.

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The Real Story of the POSCO Project

Posted by ajadhind on July 16, 2010


This is not just a “dispute over land acquisition for development.” The POSCO project is illegal and will not bring any benefits for the local population or the country’s economy. Rather, it is simply plunder of lives and resources:

  • The POSCO project is illegal as it violates the Forest Rights Act of 2006. Under that law, no forest land can be given to anyone until 1) all the rights of the people in the area are recognised and 2) their consent is given to the project. This is the requirement of the law, acknowledged further by an Environment Ministry order of August 3, 2009. This has never been done in the area despite the people demanding it. The Central and State governments have no legal right to hand over this land to POSCO. In law, not just in public view, this is daylight robbery.
  • The project is nothing less than a robbery of the country’s natural resources by a multinational. There is no conflict between people’s rights and “development” here. Despite grand talk of 51,000 crores of foreign investment, what is not mentioned is that POSCO is getting a huge amount of:
    • land: 4,000 acres for the plant, 2,000 acres for a “township”, 25 acres in Bhubaneshwar for their office, plus an unknown amount in the mining and port areas;
    • water: an estimated 12,000 crore liters from the river Mahanadi, threatening the water supply of Bhubaneshwar and Cuttack;
    • iron ore: 600 million tonnes in the form of captive mines, and a further 400 million tonnes will be “allocated’;
  • in exchange for which it will:
    • pay essentially nothing for the water and the land;
    • pay a pittance as royalty, allowing it to make tens of thousands of crores in profits just by the difference between market prices and extraction costs (one 2005 estimate put the net profits at 96,000 crores from extraction alone);
    • practically no income and other direct taxes, as it is seeking SEZ status;
    • provide 13,000 jobs – by their own estimates, which in the case of all industrial projects have proven to be gross overestimates – while displacing around 40,000 people in the plant and port sites alone (not including the mines). More than 20,000 people will lose employment in the plant site alone.

In sum, no tax revenue, net loss of employment, no royalties, loss of 15% of India’s proven ore reserves, environmental devastation and the forced displacement of 40,000 people. This is what our government considers “development.”

Today’s police action shows better than any other that the government is neither concerned about law nor resources nor development – it is interested in daylight robbery. We stand by the POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti, who are among the many unsung heroes of our country today, fighting not only for themselves and their homes but for the idea of true democracy in India.

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PUDR, PUCL, CPJ Statements on the killing of Azad, spokesperson of CPI(Maoist), in an alleged fake encounter

Posted by ajadhind on July 16, 2010

Statement by PUCL

The PUCL condemns the killing of CPI (Maoist) spokesperson Chemkuri Raj Kumar Azad and the Delhi based Uttarakhand Journalist, Hem Chandra Pandey, who were killed in the forest area of Adilabad on the 2nd of July, 2010 by the Andhra Pradesh Police.

Reports from various sources lend credence to the large perception amongst the public that the encounter story put forth by the AP State police is unacceptable and it is quite plausible that the incident is a case of fake encounter.

In the present case nobody from police side was injured. Nor are any reports of any injuries on the side of Maoists except two killed even though a large scale exchange of fire was reported between the two parties. According to press reports the villagers near the encounter site did not hear the sound of any continuous gunshot.

All these facts need to be independently verified.

If the Central Government is genuine in its peace efforts, the minimum bonafide it needs to show is the setting up of a judicial enquiry by a retired Supreme Court Judge.

In the event of its failure to do so, the Government’s bonafide, that it is keen to have peace talks and mutual ceasefire would obviously be suspect and unacceptable to the people of this county.

Prabhakar Sinha (President) Pushkar Raj
(General Secretary)

Delhi, 11th July 2010


Press Statement issued by Campaign for Peace and Justice

We, as concerned citizens, feel extremely disturbed by the recent events of violence in the region of Chhattisgarh and other parts of Eastern India. We condemn the spiral of violence and counter violence between the State Security Forces and the Maoists. Though the violence has been continuing unabated, yet following the Peace and Justice March by a group of concerned citizens from Raipur to Dantewada, a peace process had been initiated. Letters were being exchanged between the Home Minister Mr. P. Chidamabaram and the spokesperson of the CPI (Maoists) Mr. Azad.

However, the recent murder–it was not an encounter as reported widely– of the person who was leading the peace process on behalf of the Maoists Mr. Azad has shocked us all. It has derailed the peace process. We condemn this killing and expect the State to:

1. set up an independent enquiry into the killing of Mr. Azad and Mr. Hem Pandey and take appropriate action.
2. clarify its position on the peace process.
3. initiate steps to facilitae the peace process and take it ahead.

Signed by
Prof. Banwarilal Sharma, Medha Patkar, Radha Bhatt, Ajit Jha, Dr. V.N. Sharma, Rajeev Lochan Shah, Neeraj Jain



Press Statement by PUDR

July 04, 2010

Peoples’ Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR) strongly condemns the killing of Cherukuri Rajkumar alias Azad and a free lance journalist Hemchandra Pandey at Adilabad District in Andhra Pradesh on 2nd July 2010. It has been claimed by the Andhra Pradesh police that Azad and one Sahadeva were killed in an encounter near Sarkepalli village in Jogapur forests in Wankhidi mandal, Adilabad, while some other Maoist members escaped. However, the police version is contradicted by media reports which claim that both Azad and Hemchandra Pandey (Sahadev) were picked up by the Andhra Pradesh police from Nagpur at 11 am of 1st July 2010 and brought to Adilabad and killed there. It has also been reported in the press that villagers deny having heard of any gun shots between 10pm to 2am in the night of the alleged encounter. Also it is strange that no policemen was injured in a 4 hrs long encounter. Thus, the police version of the incident is full of contradictions. And the killing could be a part of the official policy to use encounters as a means to eliminate unwanted voices through extra judicial killings.

In its directive of 1996, NHRC had clearly stated that all cases of encounters are cognizable offence until the police version is verified by an independent investigating agency and that ‘whenever information is received of encounter and death is ascertained as a result of firing by the police during the encounter, prima facie the ingredients of culpable homicide under appropriate sections of the IPC are satisfied and a magisterial inquiry shall be instituted against the encounter’. An Andhra Pradesh High Court’s ruling on encounter killings states that ‘the state is responsible to register an FIR against the encounter killing and the plea of self defence be proven before the court of law by the involved security personnel’.

In the light of all of this, PUDR demands registration of an FIR and initiation of investigation into the incident of killing of Azad and Hemchandra Pandey, without any delay. We also demand an independent magisterial inquiry as per the NHRC guidelines.

Moushumi Basu
Asish Gupta
Secretaries, PUDR

4th July, 2010

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India Shining!!55% of India’s population poor: Report

Posted by ajadhind on July 16, 2010

source toi

NEW DELHI: India’s abysmal track record at ensuring basic levels of nutrition is the greatest contributor to its poverty as measured by the new international Multi-dimensional Poverty Index (MPI). About 645 million people or 55% of India’s population is poor as measured by this composite indicator made up of ten markers of education, health and standard of living achievement levels.

Developed by the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) for the United Nations Development Programmes (UNDP) forthcoming 2010 Human Development Report, the MPI attempts to capture more than just income poverty at the household level. It is composed of ten indicators: years of schooling and child enrollment (education); child mortality and nutrition (health); and electricity, flooring, drinking water, sanitation, cooking fuel and assets (standard of living). Each education and health indicator has a 1/6 weight, each standard of living indicator a 1/18 weight.

The new data also shows that even in states generally perceived as prosperous such as Haryana, Gujarat and Karnataka, more than 40% of the population is poor by the new composite measure, while Kerala is the only state in which the poor constitute less than 20%. The MPI measures both the incidence of poverty and its intensity. A person is defined as poor if he or she is deprived on at least 3 of the 10 indicators. By this definition, 55% of India was poor, close to double India’s much-criticised official poverty figure of 29%. Almost 20% of Indians are deprived on 6 of the 10 indicators.

Nutritional deprivation is overwhelmingly the largest factor in overall poverty, unsurprising given that half of all children in India are under-nourished according to the National Family Health Survey III (2005-06). Close to 40% of those who are defined as poor are also nutritionally deprived. In fact, the contribution of nutrition to the overall MPI is even greater in urban than rural India.

A comparison of the state of Madhya Pradesh and the sub-Saharan nation of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which have close to the same population and a similar MPI (0.389 and 0.393 respectively), shows that nutritional deprivation, arguably the most fundamental part of poverty, in MP far exceeds that in the DRC. Nutritional deprivation contributes to almost 20% of MP’s MPI and only 5% of the DRC’s MPI. MP’s drinking water, electricity and child mortality levels are better than that of the DRC.

Multi-dimensional poverty is highest (81.4% poor) among Scheduled Tribes within India’s Hindu population, followed by Scheduled Castes (65.8%), Other Backward Class (58.3%) and finally the general population (33.3%).

There is significant variation between the poverty incidence in various states as per the MPI and as per the Indian Planning Commission’s official figures. Based on the MPI, Bihar has by far the most poor of any state in the country, with 81.4% of its population defined as poor, which is close to 12% more than the next worst state of Uttar Pradesh.

As per the Planning Commission’s figures, 41.4% of Bihar and 32.8% of UP is poor. In a possible indication of inadequate access to health and education facilities which do not show up in income poverty, almost 60% of north-east India and close to 50% of Jammu & Kashmir are poor as per the MPI, while the Planning Commission figures are around 16% and 5% respectively.

The findings would provide further ballast to the argument of some economists that India’s official poverty estimation methods are too narrowly focused to capture the real extent of deprivation in the country.

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PEOPLE’S MARCH 2010 – 03

Posted by ajadhind on July 16, 2010


Posted in BOOK, MIB, NAXALISM, Press Releases | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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