Pesticides do not decipher caste, gender or nationality. They will kill anybody irrespective of his or her origins.
Read more >>

 

 

Is it possible for community video and radio to play this role?
Read more >>

 

 

50 Paisa and a Little Motivation!
A Postcard Campaign Against National Environment Policy (NEP) and draft EIA Notification

PRESS RELEASE                                                              5th April 2006

 

Over 2000 groups from Andhra Pradesh including panchayats, VSS groups, NGOs, Watershed User Associations and others have petitioned the Prime Minister of India asking him to scrap the draft National environment Policy and the draft Environmental Impact Assessment Notification of 2005. Led by the AP Coalition in Defence of Diversity and the Deccan Development Society, these groups have said that the Policy and Notification propose to relax social and environmental safeguards to make India more attractive for investments at a time when the ill-effects of past investments remain unaddressed.

Through the petition and through a subsequent letter the petitioners tell the PM “Even as you read this, project affected people from the Sardar Sarovar project in Narmada, survivors of the Bhopal disaster, and the erstwhile mill workers of Mumbai are all on peaceful protests through satyagrahas, dharnas and marches to demand what has legally been their due since the start of the struggle more than two decades ago. These fights will not just disappear. The NEP and Notification propagate the very flaws in development planning that have led to these long-standing conflicts. If adopted, it is inevitable that it will lead to a more impoverished, tumultuous and violent India”.

The AP groups have accounted for  nearly 70% of the 2600 postcards that have been sent to the Prime Minister in February-March 2006, from all over India. The writers include local government representatives, farmers, trade union members, students, political leaders, dalit and adivasi group representatives, social activists, youth club members, civil society and community based organizations as well as other concerned individuals. This demand comes because of the flawed process of drafting and adopting of both the NEP and draft EIA notification, 2005.

These postcards have been sent by people from Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, Uttaranchal, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Assam, Sikkim, Mizoram, Rajasthan and Delhi. Some of the mass based groups who have participated in this campaign include Kerala Shastra Sahitya Parishad, Kerala; Beej Bachao Andolan and Jan Chetana Andolan, Uttaranchal; Navrachna, Himachal Pradesh; Parkriti Manav Kendrit Jan Andolan, Punjab; Deccan Development Society and AP Coalition in Defence of Diversity, Andhra Pradesh; Aarthik Aazadi Andolan, Itawah, Uttar Pradesh; Keonjhar Surakhsha Parishad and Bharat Jan Andolan, Orissa; Jan Chetana and Dalit Mukti Morcha Chhattisgarh. Even NRI organizations from the US have lent their solidarity to this campaign.

This effort is part of an ongoing one and half year old campaign, which has repeatedly and consistently highlighted the substantive and procedural problems of the NEP and EIA notification. As part of this, several well researched open letters have been sent to the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) and the Prime Minister of India.

A network of voluntary organisations, mass movements, project-affected communities, NGOs, research organisations and individuals have come together over the past year to focus on various environmental and social justice challenges in India. This is the Campaign for Environment Justice-India (CEJ-I). CEJ-I has played a central role since November 2005 in highlighting the complete degeneration of the environment governance process in the country. This has been through protests at the MoEF, issuance of a Death Certificate of the MoEF, as well as taking the message to the constituency of the Minster of Environment and Forests, Thiru A.Raja.

In yet another effort to apprise the Government of India on the various concerns related to the environment clearance process and the NEP, a letter has been sent to the Prime Minister of India, Dr. Manmohan Singh on 3rd April 2006. The letter which is annexed with this note summarizes a range of efforts and issues raised so far. It demands the scrapping the current NEP and draft EIA notification, 2005. It also demands that these crucial environmental instruments be redrafted with widespread public consultation befitting the largest democracy in the world.

 

(Jayasri)
For Further Details Contact:
Jayasri, Joint Convenor, AP Coalition in Defence of Diversity, No 101, Kishan Residency, Road No.5, Begumpet, Hyderabad 500 016 [Ph: 040-2776 4722; 040-27764577

 

CAMPAIGN FOR ENVIRONMENT JUSTICE-INDIA

3rd April 2006

To: The Prime Minister of India

Dr. Manmohan Singh
Prime Minister of India
Room No. 152, South Block,
New Delhi - 110 001
INDIA
Tel: +91 11 23012312 / 23013149 / 23019545
Fax: +91 11 23016857, 23019545

Subject: Postcard campaign and other communication on the National Environment Policy (NEP) and the Draft EIA Notification

Sir:

Over the last one month, more than 2600 local government representatives, farmers, trade unions, students, political leaders, dalit groups, adivasi groups, social activists, youth clubs, civil society and community based organizations as well as concerned individuals have sent you postcards, demanding that the draft National Environment Policy and EIA Notification, 2005, be scrapped, because the process of drafting and adopting them has not been transparent and has not involved them.  In a country like India with relatively limited and where mostly only urban areas have  access to Internet, it is astounding that the policy and notification were publicised only through this medium.

You may have received letters from various parts of the country such as Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, Uttaranchal, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Assam, Sikkim, Mizoram, Rajasthan and Delhi. Some of the mass based groups who have participated in this campaign include Kerala Shastra Sahitya Parishad, Beej Bachao Andolan and Jan Chetana Andolan, Uttaranchal; Navrachna, Himachal Pradesh; Parkriti Manav Kendrit Jan Andolan, Punjab; Deccan Development Society and AP Coalition in Defence of Diversity, Andhra Pradesh; Aarthik Aazadi Andolan, Itawah, Uttar Pradesh; Keonjhar Surakhsha Parishad and Bharat Jan Andolan, Orissa; Jan Chetana and Dalit Mukti Morcha Chhattisgarh. Even NRI organizations from the US have lent their solidarity to this campaign.

Over the last one year, the issues regarding the NEP and EIA notification have been brought to your notice in the form of several Open Letters, peoples’ protests and media reports. We’re yet to receive a response from either the PMO or the Ministry of Environment and Forests. We are shocked and disappointed by your silence on a matter that will affect livelihoods and very survival of crores of people.

As an effort to get the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) to appreciate the extent to which the peoples of India and their representatives have been left out of the process of formulating the NEP and the proposed amendment to the EIA Notification, the Campaign for Environmental Justice - India organized on 13th  November  2005, a "MoEF Suno" Public Hearing with participation of over 300 representatives across the country deposing before an interdisciplinary panel of experts, jurists, and all-party elected representatives.  On 14th November, these representatives walked into the MoEF office to present their views and their dismay at not being consulted in the formulation of the policy and legislations that directly affect their lives, livelihoods and the ecological security of their habitats.  Unfortunately, neither the Minister nor the Secretary could spare the time to meet these people who had travelled from all over the country. Disturbed by this unresponsive attitude, those gathered felt that this Ministry is as good as dead and issued a symbolic "Death Certificate", a copy of which is attached, and which was also submitted to your office on 2nd December 2005.

We understand that the MoEF has finalized the NEP and is set to implement it in its current form. We are certain that the policy will fail because the Government has underestimated the opposition that people and communities will bring to bear if their legitimate concerns repeatedly expressed to you remain unaddressed.

The Policy and Notification propose to relax social and environmental safeguards to make India more attractive for investments at a time when the ill-effects of past investments remain unaddressed. Even as you read this, project affected people from the Sardar Sarovar project in Narmada, survivors of the Bhopal disaster, and the erstwhile mill workers of Mumbai are all on peaceful protests through satyagrahas, dharnas and marches to demand what has legally been their due since the start of the struggle more than two decades ago. These fights will not just disappear. The NEP and Notification propagate the very flaws in development planning that have led to these long-standing conflicts. If adopted, it is inevitable that it will lead to a more impoverished, tumultuous and violent India.

Since our demands have warranted absolutely no known action till date, we can only hope that the Government of India does the right thing by scrapping the policy and notification, and redraft these crucial environmental instruments with widespread public consultation befitting the largest democracy in the world.

Sincerely,

Kanchi Kohli
For Campaign for Environment Justice- India
[A network of voluntary organisations, movements, project affected communities, NGOs, research organisations and individuals who have come together over the past year in a concerted effort to attend to diverse environmental and social justice threats and challenges in India]