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Free Our Land And Water: Farmers Prepare Funeral Pyres For Self-Immolation

By National Alliance Of People's Movements

13 January, 2016

Bujbuja, Katni District, Madhya Pradesh: A team comprising of Medha Patkar, Dr. Sunilam, Adv. Aradhana Bhargava, Jasvinder Singh (CPI (M)), Kamla Yadav, Ramashray Yadav, Raghvendra Singh, Ravindra Singh, and others met villagers affected by forced land acquisition in Bujbuja, Khurd, Katni where land is being acquired by Welspun Company for thermal power plant.

Two villagers have already committed suicide to oppose the land grab in their area and also warned the govt. that if their land and water are not returned, they will burn themselves for which they have already prepared the funeral pyre. Women of Bujbuja are fighting tirelessly against the land grab.

Villagers of Bujbuja have claimed that Welspun Company has taken over the land forcibly and paid compensation to fake bank accounts against fake documents. The company is continuously stopping the villagers from cultivating the land acquired forcibly by digging large pits. Kushwaha families of the village used to grow vegetables and many others cultivated three crops every year as a source of their livelihood in these fertile lands. The availability of water resource near the village was a boon.

Around 450 families are going to be affected of which 60 families including tribals are displaced due to Bansagar Dam. The role of Gram Sabha have been ignored blatantly by the Govt. as there was no need for the go ahead when the Gram Sabha rejected the proposal at the first instance.

The Welspun Company has proposed to build a thermal power plant of 1980 MW capacity for which they proposed to acquire 2400 acres initially which got reduced to 1600 acres. A total of 582.25 acre of land has been acquired of which 314.6 acre of land is of villagers of Bujbuja and Dokariya village. The company is after the easily available water and strategic location of the site of the power plant for easier transportation of raw materials as claimed by the villagers. They have already got the water access approval from Bansagar Dam. They have still not gotten the assurance of coal supply and have made no plans for appropriate disposal of fly ash. There are many technical faults in EIA report submitted by Welspun claimed an activist working in the area. The project site is also only 10 Kms away from the buffer zone of Bandavgarh National Park, which can face ecological damage due to drainage of effluents coming out of power plant through Mahanadi River.

The writ petition against the project is pending in the Court and the case is being looked by Adv. Arun Shrivastav.

Following decisions were taken after meeting the villagers:

1. Gram Sabha shall pass a resolution for not giving away land by holding an emergency meeting

2. All documents along with right information shall reach to the concerned advocate

3. A workshop shall be organized on MGNREGA to help out villagers in getting employment under the aforesaid scheme

4. There shall be visit followed by creating a people’s movement in nearby villages for creating awareness on disasters that can happen due to natural resource exploitation.

In the leadership of Bindeshwari Patel, a struggle committee in Bujbuja village, District Katni is formed who will work on the above decided points.

For further details please contact Dr. Sunilam (+91 9425109770) or Bindeshwari Patel (+91 8085698257), Kisan Sangharsh Samiti

Dr. Sunilam, Adv. Aradhana Bhargava, Dr. A. K. Khan, Chetu Patel, Bindeshvari Patel, Kisan Sangharsh Samiti, Katni

Medha Patkar - Narmada Bachao Andolan and the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM); Prafulla Samantara - Lok Shakti Abhiyan & Lingraj Azad – Niyamgiri Suraksha Samiti, NAPM, Odisha; Dr. Sunilam, Aradhna Bhargava - Kisan Sangharsh Samiti & Meera – Narmada Bachao Andolan, NAPM, MP; Suniti SR, Suhas Kolhekar, Prasad Bagwe - NAPM, Maharashtra; Gabriele Dietrich, Geetha Ramakrishnan – Unorganised Sector Workers Federation, NAPM, TN; C R Neelkandan – NAPM Kerala; P Chennaiah & Ramakrishnan Raju – NAPM Andhra Pradesh, Arundhati Dhuru, Richa Singh - NAPM, UP; Sister Celia - Domestic Workers Union & Rukmini V P, Garment Labour Union, NAPM, Karnataka; Vimal Bhai - Matu Jan sangathan & Jabar Singh, NAPM, Uttarakhand; Anand Mazgaonkar, Krishnakant - Paryavaran Suraksh Samiti, NAPM Gujarat; Kamayani Swami, Ashish Ranjan – Jan Jagran Shakti Sangathan & Mahendra Yadav – Kosi Navnirman Manch, NAPM Bihar; Faisal Khan, Khudai Khidmatgar, & J S Walia, NAPM Haryana; Kailash Meena, NAPM Rajasthan; Amitava Mitra & Sujato Bhadra, NAPM West Bengal; B S Rawat – Jan Sangharsh Vahini & Rajendra Ravi, Madhuresh Kumar and Shabnam Shaikh – NAPM, Delhi.



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