Open letter to Akhilesh Yadav on Kanhar dam, Uttar Pradesh
To: Shri Akhilesh Yadav
Chief Minister, Uttar Pradesh.
From: Ajay Shekhar
Socialist Party (India)
Sub: Work on Kanhar dam should stop until court decisions are pronounced.
Dear Akhilesh ji,
We want to ask you why your government is trying to forcibly acquire land for Kanhar Dam in Dist. Sonebhadra violating the law of the land whereas your party is opposing the amendments proposed by the Narendra Modi government in the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013. In light of the recent incidents of use of force by the District administration on 14th and 18th April, 2015, we wish to say the following.
(1) The SC judgement in the case of Niyamgiri hills, empowering the tribals to take a final decision on whether to allow multinational company to undertake bauxite mining there, should be now a precedent in all projects proposed in tribals areas. In addition the 73rd amendment to Constitution empowering Gram Sabhas to take decisions on economic planning for development should be honoured. Case no. 67043/2011 is pending in Allahabad HC relating to this right of GS and we expect that the district administration of Sonebhadra and Government of UP will wait for a decision on this.
(2) The project is 37 years old and was abandoned in 1984. The forest clearance dates back to 14/4/1980. It is a joke if the administration claims that it has the necessary environment and forest clearances on the basis of a clearance obtained 35 years back. Why is the Sonebhadra administration and UP government not prepared to wait for the National Green Tribunal judgement on this matter?
(3) It is another joke that the district administration wants to proceed on the process of acquisition done around 35 years back whereas the people have not given up their possession till date. The District Magistrate of Sonebhadra claims that he’ll rehabilitate the people displaced due to dam construction in the most ideal manner. But all he has are plans for their housing. What about their livelihood? We believe that land for land is the only proper compensation for a person whose livelihood depends on agriculture.
(4) Force should not be used against people who agitate peacefully. Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia severed relationship with his own government in Kerala because there was police firing over people in an incident in 1954. It is people’s democratic right to protest peacefully and government’s must find peaceful resolution to problems.
We commit to stand by the people in this struggle against the government which is for namesake socialist but is actually serving the interests of capitalists. We condemn all the repressive actions of the government and attempts by the district administration to terrorize people into submission so that they accept the displacement and rehabilitation package.
We hope that the Government of UP would act in a democratic spirit and respect the rights of people. It should immediately halt the construction work at Kanhar dam site and withdraw all the cases foisted on people so that people in jail may be released.
Vice President, U.P, Socialist Party (India)
National Vice President, Socialist Party (India)
after a visit to the dam site, Sundari and Bhisur villages on 20 April, 2015.