Police firing on Kanhar anti dam protestors on Ambedkar Jayanti
|Kanhar Protests. Photo courtesy of vindhyabachao.org|
Police fired on anti land acquisition protesters at Kanhar dam early morning today when nation celebrates 124th birth anniversary of Bhimrao Ambedkar popularly known as popularly known as Babasaheb. The tribal leader Akku Kharwar from Sundari village and around 8 people have been grivieously injured in the firing and lathi charge by the police. Thousands of men and women assembled at the site to intensify the protest against illegal acquisition of land for Kanhar dam on Ambedkar jyanti. The protesters were carrying the photo of Baba Saheb to mark the day as " Save the Constitution Day". Akhilesh government fired arbitrarily on the protesters among whom women are in the forefront. Most of the women have injured. The firing is being done by the Inspector of Amwar police station Duddhi Tehsil, Sonbhdara, UP.
Condemning this act, the All India Union of Forest Working People calls for joining in this struggle of the people who are fighting against the illegal land acquisition and constructing illegal Dam on the river Kanhar.
Kanhar dam project which was originally conceived in 1976 to provide irrigational facilities to Dudhi and Robertsganj tehsils of Sonebhadra,has been hanging in balance. NGT had stayed construction of this dam in 2014 since it began without new Cost-benefit analysis (CBA), environment impact assessment (EIA) or Social Impact Assessment (SIA) . It has been argued that environment and forest clearance to this dam project first envisaged in 1976 was not valid after 38 years.
Why was the project conceived?
· The dam project was originally conceived in the year 1976 for providing irrigational facilities to Dudhi and Robertsganj tehsils of Sonebhadra.
· It was left abandoned for almost 30 years due to non-availability of funds (as per the official records).
Why is the project being opposed?
· It will cause destruction to around 2,500 hectares of dense forests.
· It would have an immense negative impact on river Son which is in ‘Critically Modified Stage F’ with just 5% of Mean Annual Runoff (as per CIFRI 2014).
· The project submergence area consists of tribal population who have not been informed about the environmental and social impacts of the projects.
Who took the project to Allahabad High Court and the National Green Tribunal?
· Gram Sabhas of all the affected villages are against the project and have also filed a petition in the High Court of Allahabad with respect to discrepancies in the land acquisition process.
· Petition has been filed by Debadiyo Sinha before the National Green Tribunal on 24th December 2014 claiming that the abandoned project cannot be revived based on clearances obtained in the 1980’s since the same requires to undergo a fresh assessment taking into account the significant environmental changes occurred in past 30 years since the project was originally conceived by Central Water Commission.
· Uttar Pradesh government ignored the NGT order and went ahead with the construction.
What is the status in 2015?
· Jan 2015- Petitioner approached the court in Jan 2015 with a contempt application against the state.
· Feb 4, 2015- NGT sought a reply from the state government but it failed to comply within the stipulated 10-day period.
· Feb 21, 2015 - The National Green Tribunal has sought a report from the union environment ministry within one week, failing which a Rs 25,000 fine would be slapped as it listed the final hearing for March 4, 2015