Is Convergence Taking Shape ?
CONVERGENCE ! * PROTEST MEETING AGAINST THE RECENT TREND OF THE SUPREME COURT (India Centre for Human Rights and Law, CEHAT, Forum Against Oppression of Women, Awaz E Niswan, Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights (CPDR), and others, May 11) * Letter from the NBA : 26 May as a DAY OF NATIONAL ACTION (NBA Baroda, May 15) * On URJA (United Residents' Joint Action) (CACIM, off URJA blogspace, May 9/16) NARMADA ! * Maheshwar dam affected farmers and fisherpeople demonstrate at Power Finance Corporation (NBA Khargone, May 12) MUMBAI ! * Another Brutal Truth: Immediate response needed (Mukta, nd, circulated May 14) BHOPAL ! * Bhopal gas victims demand balanced committee (IndiaTimes, May 13) * Dow Shareholder Meeting Protest, May 11, 2006 (Students for Bhopal, May 13)
From Delhi, Tuesday, May 16, 2006 PLEASE SEND ON
"There Is A Fury Building Up Across India" (Arundhati Roy, April 29 – see CDDB 29)
From the messages we have got back it seems that the CDDB we sent out a while back today has badly bounced. It seems to have been read by spam filtering software – including on our own server / provider - as spam, because (it seems) the message contains several ‘suspicious” words, like "millions", "shares", "$", "dollars", etc. (This is apparently the well-known ‘Nigerian fraud’ spam and its variants.) (Does this mean we can never use such words again ?! Can we also get rid of the things themselves ?)
It apparently might also have happened because of the occurrence of words like "breakthrough", "dear friend", etc, in the text…. And, worst of all, sin of sins, the subject line was in caps…
All this is news to us – it has never happened before, in the 35 CDDBs we have sent out so far !
Well, we cannot re-write the text, but we can make the subject in upper-lower; so we are re-trying now.
Since we do not know how widely it has bounced, we are doing a blanket send again. So please excuse any duplications or cross posting.
The pressure in India – so far perhaps, in certain parts of India - has become unbearable, and some shape to more coordinated resistance to what has been and is happening (massive displacement in rural areas, massive evictions and demolitions in urban areas) seems to be emerging. But there are also sharply different manifestations of what is happening.
At least three very important developments are taking shape : First, a crucial first meeting in Mumbai tomorrow (Wednesday, May 17), in formal terms to examine and critique the recent extremely regressive trends in the judgements of the Supreme Court of India, but behind this, almost certainly, to also explore the possibilities of a wider and more coordinated engagement not only with judicial trends but also executive and political trends with respect to the rights and freedoms of labouring and working people in the country. (Item 1.)
The range in the coalition of organisations who have called this meeting (for those who cannot ‘read’ this, people concerned with democratic rights, women’s rights, workers’ rights, dwelling rights, and the rights of people being displaced in both urban and rural areas) is also extremely significant. They include the NBA (Narmada Bachao Andolan), the organisation that held the month long strike in Delhi during march-April that was reported in detail here in CDDB (see below for link to all earlier issues)
Mumbai has been a crucible for the emergence of new politics and directions for decades now, even over a century. This is a space we should all watch.
Second, a call for a National Day of Action in India just ten days later, on May 26, by the NBA (Narmada Bachao Andolan). (Item 2.) Meetings have already started all over the country towards giving this shape.
We will try and keep reporting on all this. WE ALSO REQUEST ALL READERS TO PLEASE SEND US news and information on what is happening, so that we can broaden our coverage. ALSO, IN CASE YOU ARE READING A FORWARDED COPY AND WOULD LIKE TO BE PUT ON OUR MAILING LIST SO THAT CDDB REACHES YOU EARLIER, please write back and let us know.
The third development is also very interesting and important : The emergence over this past several months (or year) of a very active listserve and, as far as we know, also real-world and -time coalition, of what in Delhi are called ‘residents’ welfare organisations’ (RWAs) – local neighbourhood associations in middle-class areas; named URJA - United Residents' Joint Action. The choice of the name is very significant : ‘Urja’ in Hindi means ‘power’, energy. Starting off looking at distortions in power / energy bills, and protesting this (the latest protest in this area is members of specific RWAs collectively submitting only 50% of bills received, on the argument that consumers will not accept responsibility for electricity theft losses, which the power companies are trying to pass on to them in bills), they have moved to looking at a wide gamut of urban issues – including evictions and demolitions. (See item 3.) But their take on what the Supreme Court is doing through its recent and current orders is radically different from how the Mumbai group is seeing things; they see the Court as the last bulwark against the chaos they see overtaking cities in India, not only through so-called ‘unauthorised settlements’ of the labouring poor but also, for instance, the huge amount of unauthorised construction by commercial interests in the city; and through corruption. So they support the Court’s current moves to put a stop to ALL of this – and in the course of which it is ordering the evictions of hundreds and thousands of households, in Delhi and all over the country.
But the reason for including them here in CDDB is that this is also happening parallel to the emergence of ‘we’ might see as more ‘progressive’ coalition against such actions - this emergence of a very vibrant urban coalition in the capital of India, with amazingly rich exchange on its listserve. URJA apparently has some 100 paid-up RWAs as members, and claim to be in touch with (and representing the interests of) lakhs (hundreds of thousands) of households. Significantly, they are widely using blogs and e-groups for communicating. See links and contact details given in item 3 for more details.
Completely on another hand, the Bhopal struggle – which made such good ground last month and won such an apparently amazing victory through its dharna in Delhi (see CDDB 22) - has taken a sharp downturn. (Item 5.) Maybe the honeymoon is over ?
But their supporters continue to be creatively active : Item 6.
Jai Sen, for CACIM
Note : The CDDB (CACIM Delhi Demos Bulletin) is a digest of material on the struggles that have been going on for twenty and more years, and have recently intensified, in Bhopal, the Narmada valley, and Delhi, for a place to live in security and dignity – and everything that goes with that. The CDDB series started during late March and April 2006, when all three movements were holding protests in Delhi, and with the Bhopal and Narmada movements on ‘dharna’ (sit-down strike) simultaneously at a place called ‘Jantar Mantar’ in the city. See CDDB 1 and 2 for more details on Jantar Mantar and the demos. All back issues of this Bulletin (the CACIM Delhi Demos Bulletin), number 0 onwards, are available @ : http://www.cacim.net/twiki/tiki-view_articles.php?type=article&topic=1 http://www.cacim.net/twiki/tiki-view_articles.php?type=article&topic=1
On 16.5.06 11:55am, "Pervin Jehangir" wrote:
Date 17th May, 2006 at 6.00 p.m.
Venue: YMCA, Colaba
On 10th May, 2006 a news item appeared on the front page of Times of India reporting a Supreme Court judgment concerning the rights of slum dwellers. The Supreme Court categorically ordered that slum dwellers have no rights and they cannot be tolerated. The Court further ordered that poverty cannot be a ground for encroachment. By one stroke of the pen the Supreme Court effectively dishoused millions of poor people across the country.
Those who have witnessed the way the Supreme Court has dealt with the marginalized in the recent years will not be surprised by this order. Just a few weeks back the displaced of Narmada were shown the door by the Supreme Court and a few months prior to that the Bombay Mill lands judgment was delivered which was seen by most as a decision heavily in favour of builders and the haves.
The last few years have also witnessed the Supreme Court reversing its trends on criminal and labour jurisprudence. The rights of accused have been whittled down and laws such as POTA and Armed Forces Special Powers Act have been upheld. Test identification parades have been rendered meaningless and the power of the police to use force against demonstrators has been enlarged.
In Labour matters the Supreme Court has categorically held that in the era of globalization and liberalization, the labour jurisprudence has to be revised and workers rights have to be whittled down. The Court is rapidly moving towards the regime of hire and fire.
Similarly in matters pertaining to anti poor economic policies the Supreme Court has refused to interfere, whether it be privatization of profit making public sector units or large projects which cause wide spread devastation. Also, the decisions of the Supreme Court in T.M.A. Pai Foundation and other cases have permitted virtually unregulated privatization of education, making especially education from secondary schools level inaccessible to the poor.
In short, while on the one hand the rights of displaced have suffered a set back while on the other hand when they come to the cities out of penury they have no right to stay in the cities.
It is in these circumstances that it is important for citizens to come together and protest against the recent trend of the Supreme Court. We need to raise our voice against the Supreme Court which is moving rapidly against the direction which was set in the seventies and eighties by Judges such as Krishna Iyer, Bhagwati, Chinappa Reddy and D.A. Desai.
Though we are taking the initiative in holding this meeting we will be happy if as many organizations join as co organisers for this meeting and also join in the mobilization.
Justice Kolse Patil, a retired judge of the Bombay High Court has agreed to lead the discussion. Dr. Vivek Monteiro will speak on trends in labour law and Vijay Hiremath will give a brief presentation of recent trend of the Supreme Court in criminal matters.
We need to spend some time in the meeting in discussing the strategies in campaigning against these trends.
India Centre for Human Rights and Law
Forum Against Oppression of Women
Awaz E Niswan
Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights (CPDR)
Nirbhay Bano Andolan
Trade Union Solidarity Committee
Trade Union Centre of India (TUCI)
Women's Research and Action Group (WRAG)
Zopadi Bachao Parishad
Narmada Bachao Andolan
National Alliance for People's Movement
Committee for Right to Housing
Lokshahi Hakk Sangathana
On 15.5.06 12:55 pm, "firstname.lastname@example.org" wrote:
15 May 2006
You have been with us during this critical stage of our struggle to save the Narmada Valley from devastation. We greatly appreciate your concern for and solidarity with the Sardar Sarovar dam affected adivasis and farmers during their dharna and indefinite fast in Delhi. Your support – ideological, strategic and political – has been invaluable for us. During the last 20 years of our struggle, your participation at various points, including in the last year has greatly strengthened the movement. What has been especially significant is how you have worked together with us to make this your movement as well.
This is indeed a time for us to form one movement against the forces that promote centralisation and globalisation, that work against democracy, that favour unjust and inhuman development paradigms while displacing people from their homes, lands, and livelihoods, and that spell destruction. These forces have set forth a great challenge before us. In this struggle, it is critical for us to stay together and combine our energies to fight against every form of injustice.
The Narmada struggle is a prime example of this, and your participation in the movement has been very significant. From diverse programmes and events in Delhi to local events around the country, such as relay fasts, protests, artistic expressions, writings, and films, every action has been important. From adivasis, dalits, slum dwellers, and farmers, to eminent persons, students, teachers, and politicians, people from across the country have raised their voices against this dominant paradigm of unjust development and begun a historic mission to fight for the truth.
Despite a tough month-long struggle and despite enough substantial field evidence (including from the “pol khol yatra”) in support of our claims, we still cannot rest nor can we celebrate. The construction of the Sardar Sarovar dam still continues unabated. The killer dam, which will destroy and drown thousands of families, hundreds of villages, especially adivasi villages, is not just illegal but inhuman. Several agencies, including state and central government bodies have visited the Valley, and the group of three ministers, including the Prime Minister, know that the construction of the dam is against the orders of the Supreme Court, yet neither the Prime Minister (PM) nor the Central government has intervened or taken a firm stand against it.
The new committee constituted by the PM with Mr. V.K. Shunglu and two other government bureaucrats has been asked to conduct a survey through the NSSO from 19 May to 19 June. The committee has been assigned the task of surveying the number of displaced people, the land available, and the area to be submerged through a sample survey, and has been asked to aim to complete rehabilitation within 3 months. Can the rehabilitation of 35,000 families be completed in 3 months? When the law and policies clearly call for allocation of land and house plots one year before submergence and for rehabilitation to be completed 6 months before submergence, why is a central government committee that violates these legal provisions being set up?
You must understand the political games involved in this, where the BJP government has joined hands with the Congress in Gujarat, and the Central government continues to evade all responsibility.
The Supreme Court, after asking for affidavits from all affected parties was to make a decision on the dam in February, which it delayed. Even after the 8 March decision of the Narmada Control Authority to raise the dam height to 121.92 metres, 2 months have lapsed without any order to halt the illegal construction of the dam. At the 1st May hearing, the Court postponed its judgement to 8th May, when again despite glaring evidence of failed rehabilitation, it refused to halt construction on the dam and decided to hear the matter on 7th July after the report of the Shunglu Committee is submitted to the Prime Minister on June 30. This decision reflects a complete denial of justice by the country’s highest judicial institution. Despite evidence that the Court is violating its own orders, the construction on the dam continues incessantly. This will result in the evident submergence of adivasi villages, houses and fields, especially with the monsoons approaching soon. Given the circumstances, the report of the Shunglu Committee seems to have little purpose other than to conduct a post-mortem on the matter.
Across the country, the tide is against the rural and urban poor, farmers, and labourers. With large-scale infrastructure, development and city beautification projects displacing more and more people, the challenge before us is enormous. The struggle against the Sardar Sarovar dam is one example of this. Neither you nor us can therefore sit quiet nor bear silent witness to this injustice.
Please write to, speak with, lobby, the PM, Sonia Gandhi, the Congress Party, your local political representatives and others about the urgent need to immediately stop this murderous and violent development paradigm that is prevalent across the country. Please put pressure wherever you can to ensure that construction of the Sardar Sarovar dam stops immediately.
We have decided to declare 26 May as a DAY OF NATIONAL ACTION against violence, injustice, displacement and forced evictions in the name of development. Wherever you are, please mobilise, strategise, and organise a local action – either outside the court, the Mantralaya, local government offices – wherever you feel that pressure is needed. Suggested actions include signature campaigns (against the Supreme Court decision) outside local courts, demonstrations outside Congress party offices, rallies calling for immediate halt of construction of the dam and an end to displacement, slum demolitions, and forced evictions around the country. We have to speak up against the persistent injustice and question the responsible authorities for inflicting destruction on the people.
Let us unite and rally together to raise a strong voice on May 26! NO MORE VIOLENCE AGAINST THE POOR! NO MORE DISPLACEMENT! NO MORE FORCED EVICTIONS! NO MORE STATE-SPONSORED MURDER!
We would also like to take this opportunity to invite you to the Convention of the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) that will be held in Bangalore from 30 May to 1 June, 2006. Please attend this meeting to discuss the critical issues facing us all across the country, to build greater solidarity across movements, and to develop more focused and long-term strategies. The need of the hour is for us to unite and take our movement to a stronger yet different level. For more details on the NAPM Convention, please write to: or call (0) 98694 00508 / (0) 98206 36335.
We look forward to working together and uniting our struggles.
In gratitude, and in solidarity,
Medha Patkar, Dipti Bhatnagar, Kamala Yadav, Pinjaribai, Om Prakash, Jankibai, Clifton Rozario, Ashish Mandloi, Yogini Khanolkar, Kailash Awasya, Noorjibhai, Banabhai, Chetan, Mohanbhai
URJA (United Residents' Joint Action) brings together RWA's all over Delhi - also in NCR - facing common problems of Bijli [electricity], Pani [water], Sarak [streets], Traffic, and MCD [Municipal Corporation of Delhi].
[Translations added – CACIM]
Takes up common problems, value adds to people's understanding and provides a road map for solutions.
Initiates, monitors and participates in direct action towards resolution of issues.
Lends a hand to government too in examining and having empathy to people's needs.
Coordination Office: B-130 [SFS], Sheikh Sarai-I, New Delhi 110 017.
Tel: 91-11-4145 5551 Fax: 91-11-4145 9244
All is not well with water utility. http://urjadelhi.blogspot.com/2006/05/all-is-not-well-with-water-utility.html
No power to probe powerless state, says HC order. http://urjadelhi.blogspot.com/2006/05/no-power-to-probe-powerless-state-says.html
Lease of houses sans garages can be cancelled: HC. http://urjadelhi.blogspot.com/2006/05/lease-of-houses-sans-garages-can-be.html
Civil disobedience movement starts : Mayur Vihar Phase II RWA starts deposition after deducting 50% of power bills - Phase II. http://urjadelhi.blogspot.com/2006/05/civil-disobedience-movement-starts_08.html
Bijli Samasya now in 2nd Gear. http://urjadelhi.blogspot.com/2006/05/bijli-samasya-now-in-2nd-gear.html
Civil disobedience movement starts : Mayur Vihar Phase II RWA starts. http://urjadelhi.blogspot.com/2006/05/civil-disobedience-movement-starts.html
Landmark day in addressing runaway corruption, we are all fed up with. http://urjadelhi.blogspot.com/2006/05/landmark-day-in-addressing-runaway.html
Somebody else in Delhi has been stealing power, but You must pay for it. http://urjadelhi.blogspot.com/2006/05/somebody-else-in-delhi-has-been.html
People’s Action & URJA Power Tariff Campaign. http://urjadelhi.blogspot.com/2006/05/peoples-action-urja-power-tariff_02.html
A presentation of the strategy for managing water sustainably in the 21st century.
Convenor : Promod Chawla
On 13.5.06 10:28 pm, "Pradyumna S. Singh" wrote:
Narmada Bachao Andolan Jail Road, Mandleshwar, District Khargone, M.P. Tel : 07283-233162 , 09425394606 E-mail : email@example.com
Press Release : 12th May, 2006 --
"We will not let this dam be built, even if we have to give up our lives.
Hundreds of people affected by the Maheshwar Project being built on the river Narmada in Madhya Pradesh demonstrated today for several hours at the Office of the Power Finance Corporation at Janpath, New Delhi. The affected people challenged the Power Finance Corporation to demonstrate that the power project is in national interest, has a viable tariff, and will produce cheap and affordable power to the people of Madhya Pradesh.
The oustees asked the PFC senior management for a meeting with some representatives at a later date but were refused. The oustees and the NBA activists filed a request for file inspection under the Right to Information Act. The women from Maheshwar said that they had not come to Delhi to ask for a better rehabilitation or compensation package. In fact, they were determined not to let the destructive Maheshwar Project be built at any cost, even if it meant that they would have to sacrifice their lives in the process.
The oustees had demonstrated on 11th May at the Offices of the Ministry of Environment and Forests and at the Rural Electrification Corporation in Delhi. They questioned the MOEF about the fudged land availability figures on which the Environmental clearance is based, and urged the MOEF to immediately revoke the clearance. They also questioned the MOEF as to why it excluded Dalits, Kewats and Kahars and other landless families who earn by sand quarrying, cultivating river-bed draw down, and fishing in the rich river economy in the Maheshwar area by arbitrarily changing the definition of Project displaced families. When the MOEF was asked to show the files to clarify the above questions, the ministry gave a written reply that none of the Maheshwar dam main files could be located.
The oustees and NBA activists also met the senior officers of Rural Electrification Corporation and HUDCO who have been asked by the PFC to put in Rs. 250 crores each into the Project, and apprised them of the issues related to the Project regarding financial, social and technical issues. The officials assured the oustees and the NBA activists that they would look at and respond to all the concerned issues. The senior officials of REC, IFCI and HUDCO also asked the NBA to contact the Power Finance Corporation since it is the lead institution among the lenders to the Maheshwar Project.
However the PFC has refused any meeting with the Maheshwar dam oustees and the NBA.
Speaking at the protest, Alok Agarwal, senior activist of the NBA said that the secretive behavior of the Power Finance Corporation made it clear that there was more to it than meets the eye. He said that it was incomprehensible that the Power Finance Corporation that has already been censured once by the CAG of India for disbursing Rs. 100 crores to the Maheshwar Project in violation of the necessary conditions, was preparing to put another Rs. 800 crores into the Maheshwar Project along with a guarantee to the Project. The PFC and the Ministry of Power had also asked the other FI's to put their money into the Project. HUDCO had been asked to put Rs. 250 crores into the Project and REC had also been asked to lend Rs. 250 crores to the Project.
The Maheshwar dam is one of the 30 large dams being built in the Narmada valley. It will affect nearly 20,000 families or one lakh people. Although the installed capacity of this Project is 400 MW, it will produce firm power of only 49 MW. Most of the power will be produced in the monsoon months when there is surplus power in the state. The power is also likely to be very expensive and the Maheshwar dam threatens to be worthless when built because of its high cost like the Enron Project. The Project promoters S.Kumars have criminal proceedings against them on grounds of criminal conspiracy, cheating, fraud, etc. The Project is encumbered by the liability to return the loans of two other S.Kumars companies and the equity of the Project has been re-pledged to a Govt. financial institution in Madhya Pradesh for the deferred pay-back of those loans. By RBI rules, no public money may be given to such a company.
Sushila bai, Sarpanch, Village Mardana, said it is clear that the Financial institutions must stop putting any further money into this disastrous Project and the MOEF must immediately revoke the environmental clearance given to the Project.
Chittaroopa Palit Kalabai Radheshyam Patidar
On 14.5.06 12:42 pm, "pranjan" wrote:
Below is the horror committed by the government in Mandala Basti, Mumbai, where we have been struggling for last two years.
Life of marginalised slum dweller in Mandala has been brutalized in the recent worst ever demolition drive in Mandala on the 9th without any proper notice. This was not a scene of a democratic country but worst than a dictatorship. 5,000 families have been victimized... Please go through some details and write to CM, Veranda sic; Brinda Karat, P.M. etc. against such brutal act.
The demolition scene has been worst of its kind. It is a blot on democracy. On 10th May 2006 (the next day after the demolition) , we entered the area and in fact when I saw about a 1000 armed Police with vans, fire brigade etc. in the area which has been so peaceful , reminded me of a dictatorship country. Things have been so brutal and beyond comprehension. Most of the women who were strong and were in the forefront of agitation on the 9th may when the demolition squad entered the area. They were peacefully sitting on the dharna blocking the entry area, and when police entered the area they were targeted and implicated for nothing. Many of them have been charged with attempt to murder under Section 307.
It has been shocking for me to see how police implicated people on false charges. One of the case which happened before my eyes was of Iyashabi- a- 50 year old women activist , who has been struggling along with Medha Patkar and NAPM.
When we (Maju, Krishna, Priyanka, Divya, and many more) reached the site on the 10th , the police were not allowing us to enter the area. Some how we managed to survey the area which was converted into a barren land with fire at different places. In the middle of the land were about thousands of armed police. No person from the Basti was seen.
Then I went to one of nearby houses which were not under demolition. There I met many of the Basti women and they said Zindabad. Police were far away but looking at us. I went inside one of the huts to talk to people .
Meanwhile, first Iysha bi and later Nishrin entered this home they are local leaders struggling for justice with Medha Patkar. Nishrin started weeping badly while Iysha bi was explaining how the things were put o fire by the Police and BMC people and they on the contrary blamed the community people.
They described all atrocities by police where about 5-6 police at once were beating the women when they entered the area to save their belongings from fire. They were pushed, pulled by the hair, abused and had to runaway to save themselves. Initially they did fight collectively but when the area caught fire they had no option but to disburse.
A lady who was 4 month pregnant was brutally kicked at her stomach and lost the baby then, and she was profusely bleeding and was rushed to the hospital. she is struggling for her life.
Another mother and her daughter jumped in the sea creak when police kept beating them and making them run towards the creak.
A women lost her barely a 20 day daughter, Kajal, as she fell down when police was chasing every one.
Nishrin Bano another women who had collected through loan etc. 20,000 rupees for her sisters weding showed us all the burnt notes of rs 500, 1000 etc. and all her tickets forgoing for the weding, clothes and gift is lost. she does not een has chappal in her feet and no mony to feed her child. I have just given some support.
Kutubunnisa's husband came from work at 6 Pm on the 10th May from Vashi and was arrested by Police in a very humiliating manner. His Eyes were closed with black ribbon and the face hidden by cloth and he was hand cuffed and was jailed for attempt to murder. He us a 56 year old man and well respected in the community. POOR WIFE SOLD ALL HER jewelry which she was wearing only to be cheated by a middleman.
As if this much of brutality and false cases were as not enough …
While Iysha bi was talking to me three lady police and one male police entered the hut forcefully and picked up Ayahs bi thinking she as Nishrin , I hid Nishrin away and asked the Police why they are taking away Iyasha Bi, meanwhile Krishna from Initiative and Priyanka from ICHRL who were outside they also questioned the police but they only said that they wanted to talk to her. Krishna asked the Police to talk to her there itself but they did not listen and told us in a very rude manner not to obstruct their work. They were targeting every activist and also hunting for Simpreet. They took away Iyasha bi to the Shivaji Police station. They told us go away and if we are from the press should get permission from ACP.
In the evening when activist lawyer shakil went to findout about all the people who were arrested I came to know that Iasha bi has been charged with sttempt to murder and section 307 has been imposed on her. Her crime was she ws talking to us the truth.
Like her many women were jailed and 307 has been imposed on them. About 50 men has been taken away. Police is on the look out for Simpreet and other such activists.
Yesterday, Medha tai was here we had dharana in the area and meeting with the SP, Collector and others. Police totally denied any lathi charge. people re going to go back and stay there again . they have no choice.
This has been blatant human right violation. they have lost all their belongings except the cloth which they are wearing. Its VERY depressing and at the same time angry atmosphere. Hope you were here. But people have neither lost faith nor the fighting spirit...
Please write to Brinda Karat, Sonia Gandhi, PM, CM etc. condemning such brutality.
We will need to arrange for some immediate relief to people at they are left with Nothing.
Regards and Love
To register your protest :
Mr. R.R. Patil, Home Minister of Maharashtra Telephone: +91-22-2202 2401, 2202 5014 Fax: +91-22-2202 4873 Email: DeputyChiefMinister@maharashtra.gov.in ?
[Saturday, May 13, 2006 04:56:49 pm IANS] http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/1528373.cms
BHOPAL: The victims of the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy, on Saturday, condemned the composition of a coordination committee on Bhopal, which they say is dominated by government officials and a former medical advisor to the Union Carbide Corporation.
The committee had been constituted by the Central government after several organisations of the tragedy's survivors set off on a 900 km march in early April from the now-defunct Union Carbide pesticide plant here to Delhi, demanding the prime minister's intervention in ensuring "justice and a life of dignity for themselves and their ilk".
The prime minister conceded to their demands, including the formation of the committee, on April 17 after he met the representatives of these organisations.
The committee is to plan and implement schemes for medical, economic and social rehabilitation of the people poisoned by the toxic gas that spewed out of the plant on the morning of December 3, 1984, killing 3,000 people instantly and maiming several thousands for life.
A total of 15,000 people have died so far.
Leaders of the organisations, including Rachna Dhingra and Satinath Shadangi, condemned the failure of the government to include their representatives in the committee.
"It is a travesty that none of their representatives have yet been incorporated into the coordination committee," Rachna said at a press conference.
She added that they have written to the prime minister requesting his personal intervention to ensure a more balanced committee that includes their representatives.
They also protested against the inclusion of N.P. Mishra, former medical advisor to Union Carbide, in the committee.
"Dr. Mishra is responsible for thousands of preventable deaths because of his opposition to the administration of sodium thiosulphate to the survivors in the aftermath of the disaster," Rachna stated.
According to Shadangi, many lives could have been saved if gas-affected people had received this injection in time. Administration of sodium thiosulphate is considered helpful in detoxifying the body.
He also pointed out that contrary to Union Carbide's position that the toxic gases damaged only lungs and eyes, the poison had actually entered the blood stream and caused damage to almost every organ in the body.
"One of the nine members of the committee, Madhumita Dutta from New Delhi, has already tendered her resignation to protest against the imbalance in the committee, the inclusion of Dr. Mishra and the exclusion of survivors' representatives," he said.
On 13.5.06 6:54 pm, "pranjan" wrote:
[Photo removed] http://www.studentsforbhopal.org/Assets/Images/AGM2006.2-1.jpg See http://www.studentsforbhopal.org/MSU.htm for pictures!
Today, May 11, 2006, we pissed all over Dow on their special, special day: the Dow Shareholder’s Meeting. About 20 protestors from Michigan State University and the University of Michigan made the journey to Midland, representing chapters of Amnesty International, the Association for India’s Development, Physicians for Human Rights, and Students for Bhopal. We were met there with a cold, driving rain: lashing us, drenching our skin, and making our signs bleed. Despite the nasty weather we put up a strong presence, screaming out our chants with a single voice:
Our chants reverberated against the building and across the broad parking lot, where well-dressed Dow Shareholders – mostly former or current Dow employees – cast furtive glances at us as they slinked into the meeting. However some of them were bold enough to approach the grassy knoll (where we encamped) and pass along the line of signs, reading them carefully before entering the meeting. The media was there too, and both Neil Sardana (a former Michigan State student and Corporate Action Network coordinator for Amnesty in Michigan) and I spoke with a reporter from the Midland Daily News and a television crew from WJRT Channel 12 (ABC affiliate). Their questions (at least of me) were strangely synchronic: “You’ve been coming here for several years,” they said. “Do you really feel like you’re making any progress? Why do you continue to come?” “It’s very simple,” I answered: “because people continue to die.” And I courteously went on to explain that tens of thousands are still wallowing in toxic filth – still today – and drinking poisoned water because Dow refuses to accept their legal and moral responsibilities.
Inside the meeting, out of the rain and away from our chants, Neil Sardana formally presented the Bhopal resolution before the CEO Andrew Liveris and the assembled body of Dow Board members. The resolution, which calls on Dow to write a report for the benefit of their shareholders, explaining their initiatives to address the concerns of Bhopal survivors (given the reputational damage the ongoing campaign presents to the company, and shareholder value) was sponsored this year by New York City Fire Department (NYCFD) Pension Fund, the New York State Common Retirement Fund (NYSCRF) and Amnesty International USA along with Boston Common Asset Management and Sisters of Mercy Regional Community of Detroit Charitable Trust. Shareholder proponents hold over 4.5 million shares worth over $190 million.
This was the second year the resolution was voted on by shareholders, and it garnered 6.3% of the vote. That may not sound like much at first, but it’s worth keeping two things in mind:
While it obviously would have been nicer if the vote tally was still higher, the vote we received is still an embarrassing slap in the face of the company. Major institutional shareholders backed us, and that’s a humiliating rebuke. Our task is to ensure the humiliation grows next year by pushing the vote tally above the 10% threshold set by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Both prior to Neil’s introduction of the resolution, and in direct response to it, Dow CEO Liveris reiterated the same tired trash they trot out every year: ‘We don’t feel this is our responsibility, which properly belongs to the Indian Government;’ ‘Dow is not liable;’ ‘This is not an issue of concern for Dow Shareholders;’ ‘Any cleanup is the responsibility of the Indian Government;’ etc. Listen: we’ve heard it all before, and sheer repetition cannot turn dirty lies into gleaming truth.
But Dow’s very insistence upon these long-overused public relations lines – their feverish, sweaty, desperate insistence upon them – is one of the reasons why they find these protests and visits of ours so nettlesome. During the question and answer session, Neil offered Dow CEO Liveris a sample of poisoned drinking water. ‘This is offered to you from the citizens of Bhopal, who are forced to drink and live with this water everyday,’ he said. Liveris brusquely refused to accept it: ‘I reject your sample of water,’ Neil quoted him as saying. Clearly, the gesture had him rankled.
All in all, we did what we came to do. In the face of nasty weather and soulless people, we told the truth, told it loudly, and told it to those who wanted to hear it least: Dow’s CEO and Board of Directors. The fact is, as much as it may confuse the local media reporters, we won’t give up and we won’t give in. We will continue to insist, louder and stronger, that Dow do what it must in Bhopal. Why? It’s very simple: because people continue to die. Dow may not care, but those of us with souls do.
DOW ANNUAL MEETING A CELEBRATION OF SUCCESS Kathie Marchlewski mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org , Midland Daily News 05/12/2006 http://www.ourmidland.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=16628986&BRD=2289&PAG=461&dept_id=472542&rfi=6
Andrew N. Liveris' vision is to make Dow the biggest and best — the largest, the most profitable and the most respected chemical company in the world. At Thursday's 109th annual meeting, he told shareholders that the company is getting there.
"We are already close to being the largest, if not there already," he said. "And we are working hard to drive profitability higher."
Coming off a record year of sales
more than $46 billion and earnings that skyrocketed 61 percent over the year before, Liveris laid out plans for future growth and future profitability, including strategic expansion in areas such as China, Russia and India, and partnerships in the Middle East that allow access to low-cost feedstocks.
Liveris said the company's global reach, the low-cost advantages of integration and a balanced mix of business specialties are strong points that are unmatched by competitors.
Along with continued financial success, Liveris talked about good corporate citizenship. "Being the most respected means being the best investment, the best at innovation, the best place to work and the best corporate citizen," he said. He said the company plans to broaden its scope of corporate citizenship on a global basis.
Liveris also introduced a new set of 10-year sustainability goals. The 2015 program is "nothing less than improving quality of life for people the world over, even as we improve our company's bottom line," he said.
The goals include cutting energy use by 25 percent in the next decade, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2.5 percent per year, and using science and technology to reduce, as Liveris said, "the unsustainable global appetite for fossil fuels." Additionally, the company has set a goal of developing at least three product or technology breakthroughs that will significantly improve quality of life.
The bar is set higher than the previous 10-year goals, which ended in 2005, and will not be easy, Liveris said. "I know that, based on past performance, Dow people can and will rise to this challenge, just as they always have," he added.
Shareholders who attended the meeting
attendance was down about 100 with the time changed to 10 a.m. from the traditional afternoon schedule were greeted by a group of protesters demanding Dow take responsibility for cleaning up the Bhopal, India, site of the 1980s chemical disaster that killed thousands. The site at that time was under partial ownership of Union Carbide, which Dow acquired in 2001.
"Clean up your mess," chanted representatives from Students for Bhopal, many of them students from Michigan State University.
"We keep coming because people keep dying," said Ryan Bodanyi, group coordinator, who made his fourth trip to Midland Thursday for the annual meeting. "If it was your family, wouldn't you keep coming?"
They brought water samples from Bhopal, one of which was offered to Liveris, who rejected it.
Liveris also rejected protesters' suggestion that Dow inherited legal and financial liabilities for the disaster when it acquired Union Carbide.
Union Carbide paid $470 million to the Indian government and the people of Bhopal in a settlement reached more than a decade ago.
Also at the meeting, shareholders voted against four proposals, one on the topic of Bhopal:
* The New York State Common Retirement Fund (NYSCRF) and the New York City Fire Department (NYCFD) Pension Fund co-filed resolutions in November in partnership with Amnesty International USA, Boston Common Asset Management and Sisters of Mercy Regional Community of Detroit Charitable Trust, asking Dow to report new initiatives to address health, environmental and social concerns in Bhopal.
Dow's board of directors recommended shareholders vote against the proposal; the company long has held the position that it inherited no responsibility for the tragedy when it acquired Union Carbide.
* Trillium Asset Management requested that Dow compile a report on products that might cause asthma and phase out those products.
Dow's board of directors replied there is no scientific consensus supporting Trillium's claims, and added dust mites, molds and cockroaches are known links to asthma, but pesticides are not a trigger.
* The Adrian Dominican Sisters requested that the company disclose information about genetically engineered seed.
As a producer of transgenic corn, soybean alfalfa and cotton seed products, Dow believes its extensively regulated biotech products are providing positive benefits to society and the environment.
* Green Century Capital Management Inc. asked that shareholders require Dow officials to report on the security of the company's chemical sites.
Dow's board of directors replied in the proxy that while the company agrees it is important to share detailed information about security and operations with local law enforcement and emergency responder teams, the information is sensitive. For the public's safety, it is allowed by law to keep safety assessments private. ©Midland Daily News 2006
Friday, May 12, 2006
THE SAGINAW NEWS
MIDLAND — Inside: Dow dignitaries and happy shareholders.
Outside: Protesters and malcontents.
So went the lineup during Dow Chemical Co.'s annual meeting Thursday at the Midland Center for the Arts, as about 600 people gathered to cheer and boo the industry giant.
Coming off a record-setting year for sales and profits, company executives exuded the kind of confidence that is rare in these parts as the Delphi Corp. bankruptcy looms large.
President and Chief Executive Officer Andrew Liveris beamed over Dow's $46 billion annual sales mark — a 15 percent increase from 2004. "We a-chieved these results despite the economic turmoil caused by the natural disasters and despite an increase in hydrocarbon and energy costs of a staggering $4 billion," he said.
Even so, last month Dow posted a 10 percent drop in first-quarter earnings as the rising cost of raw materials offset a modest uptick in sales.
Net income fell to $1.21 billion, or $1.24 per share, from $1.35 billion, or $1.39 per share, in the previous-year period.
Dow officials blamed the showing on an $800 million increase in chemical ingredients and energy costs.
The company still managed to declare a 37.5 cents per share dividend for shareholders in the first quarter of 2006, which Liveris proudly said is the business' 379th consecutive cash dividend.
Development of technology that uses soybeans to create polyurethane is at least one investment Dow executives hope will continue the company's growth.
During the meeting, shareholders also considered resolutions related to Dow studying the 1984 toxic gas leak in Bhopal, India, and the potential for adverse impacts from its products.
Stockholders overwhelmingly voted against the measures.
Lauren Compere, director of shareholder advocacy for Boston Common Asset Management, said it is a "good business decision" for Dow to undertake new initiatives to address the needs of Bhopal survivors.
"Boston Common Asset Management has been pushing Dow Chemical for more than three years to address the cleanup and medical concerns of the Bhopal survivors, and Dow has still not stepped up to the plate while the risks to the company's reputation and to its ability to do business in India may be increasing," she said before the meeting.
Alan G. Hevesi, sole trustee of the New York State Common Retirement Fund, said the same.
"As a fiduciary, I am concerned that if Dow does not put this problem to rest, it could hurt the company's current and future business relationships in India's huge and rapidly expanding market and around the world."
Liveris disagreed and said Dow, like the rest of the world, is saddened that thousands lost their lives in the Bhopal incident. But he said Dow is in no way responsible because it didn't own the plant at the time.
The gas leak that killed at least 10,000 people happened under Union Carbide Corp.'s watch. Liveris also noted that Union Carbide reached a $470 million settlement with the Indian government to resolve its liability.
His denial, however, didn't stop one critic from offering Liveris a literal glass of water from Bhopal.
"We reject the water," as well as repeated attempts to link Dow with the tragedy, Liveris said.
Paul Wyche covers business for The Saginaw News. You may reach him at 1-776-9674.
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