Microsoft word - july 98.doc

Issue No: 2
Date: 6 July 1998
You have all been involved in keeping a close watchman the situation in Singrauli vis-à-vis The process of settling outstanding claims of PAPs and pending compensations for encroached forest issues. Your support to the cause of the people land (popularly referred as section four land) are affected by past and on going World Bank the subject of peoples court (Lok Adalat) being investments has been critically important and organised when IMP took up this matter at the valuable. The struggle of people affected byon appropriate levels. The District Judge (Sonbhadra) going expansions of ash dikes in Rihand with your presided over two sittings of Lok Adalat (April 13 timely support compelled the Bank to admit that and 25).At these sittings two issues were raised by rehabilitation and environmental mitigation in the NTPC power project (1993) have been problematic and consequently an Independent Monitoring Panel a) The compensation rate for Bijpur, Adhaura, Dodhar and Sirsoti villages whose land was taken possession of in 1982 itself should be enhanced Action Alert from Dana Clark CIEL in April gives keeping in view the cost of replacement of land in you all an update on the status of the Singrauli 1998. These villagers had received part payment claim to the Inspection Panel including the according to Rs 10,000=00 per acre as the activities of the IMP. Here's an update on the provisional rate several years ago, balance payment was withheld pending final disposal of their claims in the court of District Judge. The rate being Mr.R.Venkatramani, Chairperson, MP visited the negotiated should therefore fairly compensate them project area between 11-12 April and between 20- for the loss suffered due to the fact that their land 23 May. During the May visit he was accompanied was taken in 1982 but the official date of handing by Mr. Abhay Jha ( who joined the IMP to establish over was 1988. The injustice of the situation is that a local office. His role primarily is to collect they are being asked to forgo the payment of petitions from PAPs, tabulate these as well as the compensation, interest for the years 1987-88. response from NTPC, meet and interact with PAPs and NTPC and authorities; randomly cross check b) The other important concern was rectification of the data presented by XIDAS and record of PAPs land records in Jhilo and Khamariya villages where made available to the IMP and liaise between IMP NTPC had acquired land in 1986 for permanent ash dike and pipeline. The part payment of compensation was made and in many cases, on the The main purpose of the May visit was to introduce basis of forged land records, where a large number Mr.Jha and to report back on the work of IMP till of outsiders in a desire to usurp R&R benefits got March and the proposed action plan for next three themselves included in the list of PAPs in months (April - June ). During the meeting various connivance with authorities. Some PAPs from Jhilo demanded that compensation disbursement in Jhilo should be withheld pending an onsite from the site 2 months ago after the IMP confirmed verification of land records and rectification of list allegations of harassment by contractors at the of PAPs. A representation to IMP was made before instance of NTPC. The Bank was urged to be 25 April, IMP Chairperson has assured that Jhilo- cautions in not succumbing to suggestion from Khamariya disbursement would necessarily await NTPC on redeployment of machinery with a view to complete the remaining earth work which will block the last rain water outlet. The IMP was The next sitting of Lok Adalat will be after requested by the PAPs to look into this aspect Chairperson IMP holds discussions with NTPC thoroughly in their May visit. IMP inspected the particular points on the site and the low laying fields which face threat of submergence. The PAPs During the May visit, IMP Chairman also proposed and representatives of NTPC project and corporate to take up with NTPC the issue of responsibility for office were also present. The PAPs refused to bearing registration cost on land which PAPs may believe the assurances by NTPC that no harm want to eventually want to buy from the balance would be caused to their fields if the earthwork is payments. Besides, PAPs raised individual cases continued. They also showed a map to convince such as non-availability of work for stage I PAPs the IMP. The PAPs have categorically urged the particularly, non- payment of wages for work done IMP to intervene such that no further construction is carried on pending the settlement of the dispute over their rehabilitation . In the meanwhile, two IMP informed that petitions submitted by PAPs to days before IMP visit, dumper trucks started to the Panel had been passed on to NTPC for the dump earth on the unfinished patch to join the two latter's comments. In case of Bijpur petitions embankments before dumping becomes impossible NTPC's response has been received, is being because of coming monsoon due to rise in level of tabulated, will then be made available to the Rihand reservoirs. This dumping of earth was concerned PAPs via the IMP local office. All being done at peak hot hours and at night when records and reports will be in local language. most PAPs are indoors and asleep. The poclain machinery has not yet been redeployed and is • The 19 PAFs of Mitihini who are refusing to working at an alternative ash dike site- i.e. the central ash dike to raise its height for further rehabilitation as per their choice expressed fear accommodation of ash slurry. The PAPs logic is that their low lying fields would be submerged that since IMP hopes that the issue of R&R package acceptable to Mitihini PAPs who remain continuous ash dumping since August 97 and will be resolved shortly, it makes sense to keep the because the last remaining rain water outlet is construction suspended till the time package is being blocked as a result of further earth works. finalized and implemented. The NTPC could speed up raising the height at central ash dike which could hold ash slurry for next few months visited the site,( They were accompanied by villagers were not inclined to take NTPC civil staff among other NTPC officials. As assurances seriously because of the past and recent reported by the WB staff on returning from the experiences of betrayal . For example, NTPC had visit, they did not meet the villagers who fear used a map to mislead NHRC to deny that no crops submergence despite being urged to do so. The had been damaged on 15-16 January. IMP later established the truth in the allegations vide its They reported that NTPC project authorities rule out any prospects of submergence and that NTPC • Pass books indicating details of land and wanted the WB to consider permitting them to property acquired for every individual PAP as redeploy heavy machinery. This machinery, it may well as rehabilitation measures provided have be emphasized, had been pulled out completely been circulated to Mitihini PAPs. these pass books suffer from several shortcomings which there is a rule in NTPC whereby 60 percent of must be straightened out before similar pass labour supplied through contractors should be books are made for PAPs of other villages. No PAPs. This rule is not being complied with and two statements provide the same information malpractices flourish such as adjusting non- e.g. information in individual pass books is at PAPs against the identity cards of PAPs.- presentation made for the benefit of IMP in knowledge of skilled work are asked to take up unskilled, hazardous jobs like jobs in the coal handling Plant etc. Whereas they can easily be Vindhyachal
adjusted in jobs in accordance with their • May 22 IMP visit to Atraila and Shahpur villages to assess the condition of some PAPs • School buildings constructed out of R&R funds affected by V, ash Dike who have still not been are in the control of private parties who charge able to move out because their resettlement has exorbitant fees unaffordable by most PAPs who not been arranged for last several years. These villagers are living dangerously close to the ash slurry. Some of them have ash slurry flooding • Harassment in availing project hospital service their houses:- It is also learnt that M.P State as well as even the most limited exemptions pollution Control Board has recently issued a provided in heath insurance scheme were made show cause notice to vindhyachal (NTPC) for both at Vindhyachal and Rihand. A review of allowing the flow of ash slurry into the Rihand serious limitation of medical insurance for PAPs was urged during all the visits of IMP. • The issue of the responsibility of maintenance IMP is closely monitoring the condition of of resettlement colonies has long been debated, PAPs of Atraila and Shahpur. IMP informed that for last several years. Based on the failure of NTPC has promised to construct a wall which SADA (Special Area Development Authority in apparently would keep the ash slurry from flowing M.P. which is now converted into Metropolitan towards the fields and houses of PAPs. In the council) to deliver the goods, the maintenance mean time their resettlement is being negotiated. of resettlement colonies had been taken over directly by NTPC. The GHK study reports also May 23 IMP Meeting with Vindhyachal Stage I reflected similar concerns about dissatisfaction with SADA. Yet, it is understood that the maintenance of resettlement colonies has been already handed over to the Metropolitan council • Women PAPs complained that Waidhan Metro in Waidhan. On the one hand matter concerning politan council extracts a tax from vegetable maintenance is under review by IMP, why then decisions in opposition to popular sentiments and feelings are being taken in such hurry and vending and pleaded that such tax is unfair as without consultation with PAPs/ NGOs. This neither they nor their men had been provided was raised as a concern before the chairperson with permanent and sustainable livelihood by IMP. The Metropolitan Council is a new name for the same corruption ridden SADA. It is also a matter of concern that project management sponsored NGOs consisting mainly of NTPC • PAPs complained arbitrary dismissal from cooperative societies who are provided petty employees are also being similarly handed over contracts; non-availability of work in jobs maintenance jobs in Rihand. Diamond club, which are entrusted to contractors- most jobs of Chetna, Malviya Mission are manned by NTPC perennial nature are such that PAPs can be absorbed without creating an additional mechanism of cooperative societies. In fact • PAPs from Stage I Protested that preference in continues unabated. Intelligence wing of CISF Jobs/ allocation of shops etc. being given to have deputed two men at Shivaji Complex to keep a watch on visitors, as well as on Mr Ajay • WB, we learn, is contemplating financing a Pathak, one time activist, now an active massive loan, for a Regional Development plan supporter of struggles for fair rehabilitation and for Singrauli. Such a plan was subject of sustainable development. This was also raised discussion at a two day meeting organised by as a concern before IMP during May visit. • As regards the location of local office of IMP the PAPs in Vindhyachal were strongly in favor area, Peoples Science Institute Dehradun were of its location in resettlement colonies in the only two NGOs invited apart from NTPC premises. This was particularly so because authorities and agencies. The non-transparency accessibility of PAPs to IMP office will best be of the entire process, inadequate consultation ensured. PAPs would feel more confident about with all concerned and the haste in pushing a IMP if its secretariat is within the community, regional plan was protested. A signature campaign was organised where memoranda was • PAPs arrested in December 1997 had earlier submitted to Sidhi and Sonbhadra collectors appealed to the Panel for with drawal of cases. objecting to approval of any plan without One of them, a school student from Navjeevan proper consultation. April 11-12, Banwasi Vihar, again mentioned his case that he was not part of the demonstration but was arrested as a representatives of people of Singrauli, NGOs, result he missed his exam. Mr. Venkataramani experts and activists. The two day meeting urged Mr. Kolhe of NTPC Delhi to pursue the resolved that unless effects of environmental withdrawal of such prosecution as he thought • Lastly, the Human Rights watch report resettlement is properly addressed, people of the region will not accept any one- sided plan to beyond one year. We need your support in expand industries and install new ones. The lending strength to this demand. Decades of meeting also resolved that the mitigation of betrayal, have eroded the faith of PAPs in the social and environmental damages should be authorities, relationships are sour. IMP is arranged not by financing another WB loan but reviewing various policy issues and suggesting from the royalty which the various agencies responsible for causing damage in the region Slowly the PAPs are responding by petitioning are asked to pay as penalty, (Report of 11-12 before IMP. One of the PAPs remarked "this Feb. meeting -contact Ellen Schachgold, Head, is the first time we feel satisfied that at least we are being patiently listened to. There should • People have been raising the issue of not therefore be a wide support for extending the according PAP status to people whose lands were acquired for transmission lines. In some cases acquisition have been substantive and development and look forward to your continued rendered the PAPs resource less. A large number of compensation cases pertaining to transmission lines remain unsettled for last several years. IMP had earlier assured it would Bijpur dharna was called off subsequent to written take up the matter with Power Grid Corporation assurance from IMP that pending resolution of which now deals with transmission net work. rehabilitation controversy no fresh work will be • Inspite of a lot of fact finding by NGOs, human undertaken on the ash dike. As of now the rights groups, NHRC, violation of personal commitment from NTPC as recorded in IMP record freedom of PAPs and activists surveillance of proceedings (19-6-1998) is being complied with. • Efforts are on to explore possibilities of Government land for PAPs still in ash dike areas. • IMP team extended for 6 months beginning • IMP meeting with chairman NTPC to discuss key issues is taking place today (6-7-1998) in Delhi • Vimal of NAPM and Madhu Kohli meet Ellen Schaingold on 4-7-1998, a summary of meeting is being sent via a separate message. • Efforts are on to speed up disbursement of compensations at Rihand. A list is being prepared to identity all such cases of non-disbursement. • Work on identifying jobs even as contract labour for PAPs at Rihand has begun in pursuance of IMP proceedings of 19-6-98 (available with Delhi Forum).
Ajay Kumar

Madhu Kohli



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