Monday, 30 September 2013

60. Fast Indefinite

I hope you have read my earlier post on the same blog - Development?? 
Unfortunately the story continues. 

Four of them (two women and two men) enter into 8th day of their indefinite fast.
Kamal Mohite,  Balkrishna Patil,  Dilip Kadam, and Suniti S R are fasting along with number of villagers at the gate of Collector Office, Satara (Maharashtra).

 The Wang Marathwadi dam affected people are fighting peacefully for their rights for many years and have recently intensified their fight. What are their demands?

  They seem to be simple and rightful. They are:
  1. Rehabilitate in the same area (in the villages that are going to be benefited by the dam)
  2. Until the rehabilitation is complete, don’t store water in the dam (which submerges living villages for last 3 years)
  3. The loss of crops for last three years should be compensated.
  4. Complaints registered again peaceful protesters should be withdrawn. 

As a person who is not at all connected with these villages, I don’t understand what is wrong in these demands and why government has failed to implement its policies regarding rehabilitation.

Even after a week-long fast the energy levels of these four persons is very high; they are actively involved into proceedings. This shows their commitment to the cause.

Today everybody gathered at the fast site too will observe fast. Not only that; today the dam affected villages have decided to observe “Chulha Band” – nobody will cook and nobody will eat except for the patients and young children.

Hope the meeting with the Chief Minister of Maharashtra today is fruitful. I hope that government understands the reality and the rightful demands are met at the earliest.  

Sunday, 22 September 2013

59. Crab Catching

First I saw their colony.

At glance I could count at least 50.
As the day progressed; they too progressed towards the human residence.
However, only us – the outsiders – were either amused or scared or interested.

First it was Neelesh – a 12th class student – who caught the crab and threw it.

Second time when another crab appeared (or was it the same?), Yogesh – 10th class student was around.

Have a closer look.

No, it is not only the expertise of boys. They remember one of their taai (sister, actually one of the elder girls) , who used to catch many crabs and cook for the entire group. Lately she has not been around.
“Ah! That is the reason their number is increasing,” I commented.
“Oh! No! They are not enough to make our one meal,” a spontaneous reply from another 10 year boy.

“Hmm… since these boys are educated by people like us; by next generation this art and skill will completely wither   ….” I was sharing with my colleague.

  “Don’t worry. Will teach our children how to catch crabs”, Yogesh assured me.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

58. Development??

Another day.
Another village; another area.
Another scale. 
But the story is the same. 
We never learn. 
We never want to.

People against big dams have valid reasons. 
Small dams are not a problem, we thought. 
But when I visit village Umar Kanchan in Patan block in Satara district (Maharashtra); it is the same story again. 

A small dam, of 2.73 TMC (proposed) with  0.60 TMC present capactiy.

4 villages are completely affected by it; 5 partially; in total 1862 families are affected and need to be rehabilitated. 

The project started in 2000; and 60% of the families are yet to be rehabilitated. Since 2011, villages - LIVING villages - are getting submerged into water.  The crops are destroyed every year and villages get cut off. Protesters are jailed and later have to appear in  court regularly. How can rightful and especially peaceful protest can be a crime? 

Yesterday, National Alliance of People's Movement (NAPM) organized a meeting, in which along with many villages and Andolan volunteers, Medha Patkar addressed the meeting. 

After having experience like Sardar Sarovar Project (popularly known as Narmada Dam), I thought Government has learnt right lessons.
Unfortunately, we have not.
We keep on ruining people's lives in the name of Development!

Is it Development?