Greeting I am Vivek Goyal and welcome to Radio Sangharsh. There is a good news to the listners, one of the oldest sal forest of Aisa has been in controversy and discussion because of strong opposition from local community against coal mining. According to the Government document acquired by Greenpeace’s RTI the Mahan coal block may not be put on auction as it falls in ‘inviolate forests’. Despite getting the Stage II Forest Clarence mining has not begun in Mahan. This is the third time when the Environment Ministry has told the Coal Ministry to deny permission to mine Mahan.
The decision represents a huge victory for the people of Mahan and Greenpeace. If Mahan is inviolate, it also has implications for other blocks in the region like Chhatrasal and Dongrital. This is people’s victory!!
I am Anita Kushwaha from Village Budher, Post Jamghadi, Tehsil Sarai, District Singraul, Madhya Pradesh.
I am an active member of Mahan Sangharsh Samiti in Singrauli and fighting for saving our forest and livelihood. I have applied for my passport as I have got this opportunity to address my concern of how these foreign companies are violating human rights and establishing and operating power plants. It came as a rude shock when I read how Priya was stopped at the airport. She was traveling to London to raise and address about our woes. This is an effort to muffle our voice and I am determined that I am going to oppose this injustice by using communication tools to raise my voice. This is my request to the listeners of Radio Sangharsh that the time has come to mull over that how can we unite and fight to restore our fundamental rights.
Jagnarayan Shah (Village Amelia, Post Karsualal, Tehsil Mada, Dist Singrauli, Madhya Pradesh) I am an active member of MSS and dependent on Mahan forest for livelihood. MSS is grateful for everyone who has stood up for our cause! And also wish a very Happy New Year 2015 to all the people who have supported our fight for saving Mahan forest and livelihood. People who live far away from the Mahan forest but have shown constant solidarity in several ways. Our livelihood has been saved because of your efforts and honourable Supreme Court’s ultimate decision to deallocate illegal coal blocks. But we are hearing that the government is planning to auction of 76 coal blocks in 2015 .This means our livelihood and the Mahan forest again will be in danger! I appeal to people who have supported us previously, to help us fight for our right again. It’s only because of people power that we have managed to reach this far in our struggle.
To everyone listening to Radio Sangharsh, I humbly appeal to please spread awareness on the issues related to our land, our forest and our home.
Kripanath yadav (Village Amelia, Dist- Singaruli, Madhya Pradesh)
I’m a member of Mahan Sangharsh samiti (MSS). MSS is fighting for saving livelihood and human rights, standing against injustice. Not only in Singrauli, but MSS is also working across the country, connected with other people’s movements and organizations. Our struggles have reached international levels now, getting stronger day by day.
Recently MSS participated in NAPM national meet for people’s movement in Pune, Saneji Guru Memorial, from 31 Oct to 2nd Nov 2014. From MSS – Kripanath, jagnarayan Shah and Akshay Gupta participated in it. We had great interactions, had learned and shared experiences with other Activists from different parts/movements/organizations of India present there. I am requesting to Radio Sangharsh’s Listeners to join us and be a member of MSS to strengthen us further and help solve problems. Our fight with continue!”
Call Kripanath for more details 8435770225 to know more about MSS’s experience at NAPM.
Rambahor yadav (Village Amelia, Post karsualal, Tehsil mada, Dist- Singrauli):
Mahan Coal ltd was about to come in my village. Company was inspecting the mahan forest area to get hold of the forest.
But friends, truth always wins! We formed a people’s group called Mahan Sangharsh Samiti to save the forest. We have fought together and won as of now. The company was trying to acquire our mahan but we were firm in our stand that we would not give our forest and we haven’t! Now the environment is saved and everybody is breathing in fresh air. We don’t want to give this forest to company.
Call Rambhor to know about the prolonged fight by MSS to save Mahan – 9669889510
I am Virendra Kumar Singh, from Amelia village, Singrauli district, Madhya Pradesh. Today in our Amelia village, 2000 of the members of Mahan Sangharsh Samiti are celebrating the Supreme Court order cancelling the coal block allocations. Thank you!
“There are many problems in our district like power cut, electric transformer doesn’t change on time etc. but here I’ll talk about the need of Forest Right Implementation in our district. Administration stated that villagers who have been living here since 1984, will get the land registration; but I would also like to suggest that we should start Forest Right Awareness drive among poor and displaced people of singrauli. There are rights for everyone. We have to understand our rights.
I am appealing to the new district magistrate that villagers should be benefited. Forest is about to finish in next 10 years. Before that, those villagers should get their rights in place and only after that, the GramSabha should be organized!”
KAMLAJI SINGH (Amelia village, Karsua post, Singrauli district, Madhya Pradesh)
“We are residents of this village for generations. Our jungles and lands are forcefully being taken away from us. Our various sources of livelihoods are being snatched by the company.
Friends of the revolution, I request you to help us receive the community forest rights that we can claim under the declaration of the Forest Rights Act of 2006. Please help us get our rights. Thank you!
Ram Vichare Jaiswal (from Amelia village, Singrauli district, Madhya Pradesh)
“Coal mines have come to our Amelia village. The officials of these coal mining companies trouble us coming to our house and repeatedly harassing us by telling we must ensure that they win the Gram Sabha. They knock on our doors at in times like 11pm and 1 am at night. Friends! Please help us. Thank you!”
Call Ram Vichare to know more details on the company harassing villagers – 9752527157
Vijay Shankar Singh (from Amelia village, Karsualal post, Thana Tehsil Mahda, Singrauli district, MP)
“I want to give this message through Radio Sangharsh that the Gram Sabha that was held on March 6, 2013 in a wrong and forged manner, be declared invalid. A new Gram Sabha should be held again in the presence of district judge or such higher administrators, so that we villagers can independently and peacefully put forth our matters. It needs to be ensured that there is no pressure on the villagers during this.
I appeal to all my friends of Radio Sangharsh that the forged Gram Sabha be declared invalid and those who carried out the forgeries be handed out strict punishments. Thank you. Zindabad!”
Call Vijay to know more about the last gram saha and the situation now, 8435637872
BRIJESH KUMAR PANIKA (Amelia village, post Karsua, Singrauli district, Madhya Pradesh)
“People from the company come to us in groups of 3-4, and they tell us to participate in the gram sabha. They tell us that they will give us money, clothes and later, when the coal mines open, they will give us jobs.
I do not want to go to their side! There is no benefit for me by taking their side. I do not want to give them my jungle and land to them. I do not want to give them the source of my daily bread. I do not want to work with them. I want to subsist on my jungle and land. I appeal to Radio Sangharsh listeners to help solve my problem.”
Young activist Rambhor Yadav (from Amelia village), interviewed by Vivek Goyal (Radio Sangharsh team)-
Vivek (V): Hello friends! I’m Vivek, standing in Amelia village right now. As you all know, the administration has set a date for the new Gram Sabha to be held here. Right now Rambhor Yadav is with me, a young activist with Mahan Sangharsh Samiti who is constantly working to save the forests so that his livelihood can be saved. Let’s speak to Rambhor and find out what his thoughts are about the Gram Sabha.
Rambhor (R): Friends! I wish that the Gram Sabha is held in a peaceful and legal manner. In this Gram Sabha to be held between 16-23 Aug, my forest rights should be given to me. In this Gram Sabha, we must get our community forest rights.
V : Rambhor ji, tell us about the irregularities and wrongdoings in the previous Gram Sabha and the reasons that made it invalid.
R : In that Gram Sabha, 184 people were present. After the Gram Sabha was over, at midnight, people went about from house to house getting signatures forged. The Police Inspector at that time went about and got signatures forged. The 1125 signatures that was eventually listed they are all forged. I oppose this.
V : Thank you Ram Bhavar. As you just heard the previous Gram Sabha that took place, there were many forgeries in it. There were only about 184 people present in it and later it was made 1125. This is completely wrong and I too oppose it and I hope that the new Gram Sabha that is going to take place gives the villagers here their rights.
HIRAMANI SINGH GOND (village Amelia, Post Karsua, Thana Mahda, District Singrauli, Madhya Pradesh)-
“The company people told in the village yesterday that that they would distribute saris (worth Rs. 1000 each) to the women and in return they want us to vote for them in the Gram Sabha. They asked us to use the company for our benefit. I appeal to Radio Sangharsh listeners to listen to my Gram Sabha related problem. To win the Gram Sabha they are giving away saris and cash. Today also, they told a widow to collect her widow’s pension and she refused to accept it. Friends- Zindabad! “
Call Hiramani to know more details on this at 9753148162
“Before the gramsabha, the Company is harassing us poor villagers. They are distributing liquor and showing money to the people for getting them on company’s side in the upcoming Gramsabha. But, I won’t go to their side! I appeal to the listeners of Radio Sangharsh, help us during these troubled times.”
Call Nandau at +919753939429 to know more about such glorious efforts by the ‘company’.
“The villagers of Suhira have organized a meeting about Community Forest Right . Around 70 villagers have joined the meeting.
Here, I met 80 year old Babai Shah. Even at 80, Babai’s name is not in the Vridhha Pension list. He requested the village sarpanch and his secretary many times before to enlist him, but as usual, didn’t get any help from them. I appealing to Radio Sangharsh listeners to act on it so that Babai Shah can get his pension.”
Call Virendra for more details – 08120487266
Call the village Sarpanch Baldev Singh Gond -9165379426 and Secretary Sureshpati Kushwaha-9754224438 and ask them to enlist Babai Shah’s name immediately -
Call HelpAge India now to get Babai his pension – Ms. Sanskriti Khare – 0755-4296568,4078567, 1800-233-1253
Call Joint Director, Rewa- 240592, 242783
“I am Priya Pillai, a Mahan Sangharsh Samiti worker speaking from Singrauli district’s Mahan area. You might be surprised to know that fictitious letters are being circulated in my name among people and the media. I am not connected in any way with these letters. These false letters are notifying the people and the administration that if the Rakhi festival celebration is not successful, then violence should be employed. This is while Greenpeace and Mahan Sangharsh Samiti don’t believe in violence of any kind. It’s evident from these kinds of incidents that the company is running scared and have stopped down to dirty tactics which is deplorable. We have filed a case in the police station against this and demand that the people involved in this be punished in the strictest manner possible. Zindabad!”
“Hello friends! My name is Vivek and I am speaking from Waidhan, Singrauli district. Today in our own country it has become a crime to fight for one’s rights. For the past 3 years Mahan Sangharsh Samiti and Greenpeace has been fighting for their forest rights in the forest region of Mahan.
At midnight on July 30, 2014 police again raided the Greenpeace guesthouse and arrested two activists- Rahul Gupta and Akshay Gupta. They also searched all the rooms in the guesthouse. When I spoke to them they said that these kinds of activities must be halted immediately because it is against the government. I felt as if I had gone back in time – two months back. Everything was happening just as it had happened before. The only thing that had changed was the date. I question, why all this is happening. Is it a crime today to save forests? Is it a crime to save our homes?
We met our colleagues after about 10 hours. Till then the police had not told us the charges for which they were arrested. In the evening around 3:30 we found out that they had registered cases under IPC Sections 353, 186, 294, 507 and 34 against them. These incidents call democracy into question and cause harm to our fundamental rights. I oppose this strongly and demand that our colleagues be released quickly.
Right now, all our colleagues are in jail and are awaiting justice in what’s referred to as a temple of democracy!”
“Hi! This is Sushmita Chatterjee from Greenpeace Pune. I have been working for this past one year as a fundraiser and I have been sent to Mahan for the past one week. I am here as a volunteer and since the very first day that I am here I have been seeing that a lot of issues are coming up regarding the upcoming Gram Sabha. Every day whenever Greenpeace is trying to go and talk to the people-the villagers, some or the other situation comes up by the people, by the company people or the police and they are trying their best to isolate us from the villagers. Yesterday the police came to the village and tried seizing the mobile boosters and solar panels saying that there were threats and it is military frequencies that we were activating there. So after such false allegations and harassing us for the entire day we finally come back to the guest house and by midnight the police comes to our guest house very quietly. A bunch of some 11 policemen were there including two lady police. They come and they search the entire house without a search warrant. As we all know this has happened before with Akshay. Akshay, Rahul Gupta- he is a volunteer and Vivek Goyal another colleague of mine, the three of them were taken downstairs and a lot of interrogation goes on. A lot of abuses were heard as well by the policemen to our colleagues and we kept a watch through the window from our room. Finally Akshey and Rahul were arrested by 1-1:30 am. It was not legal of them to come without a search warrant or an arrest warrant that too at midnight. Last time when Akshay got arrested it was around 12 again that he got arrested and the report says that he was arrested morning 7 am which is false. I am very scared what all false allegations they are going to put up this time. I am very scared very worried for them. We don’t know, we still don’t know what charges they are going to fake. We’re trying our best here. And each and every day I am just losing more and more trust on this system, on these people and how they are isolating us from the entire villages.”
“Yesterday, Shivprasad Yadav threatened to kill me. Today another one, Bhola Singh stopped me in front of Dasrath Yadav’s house (Lalchand Sahu was present there) and told, ‘Your life is in danger, why didn’t you give your signature to Ramakant Tiwari?’ I told him that’s because I want to save my land and the forest. Yet again, I got death threat from him. I request the listeners of Radio Sangharsh to take this issue to administration and help save the lives of people like me under threat.”
* fyi-1. Ramakant Tiwari – CEO of Mahan Coal Ltd. (MCL)
* fyi-2. Bhola Singh and Shivprasad Yadav are known in the villages as brokers of the ‘company’
Now, call/mail to report this to the District Magistrate M Salvendran and demand an action against people giving threats to the villagers for not giving their lands to MCL. Phone : 09425821181, 07805234541, 07805244110. email : email@example.com
“Ï am a local of the Mahan forest region, volunteering with Mahan Sangharsh Samiti. Mahan forest is our life force. Everyone – the women, men, children and the elderly people of the region are dependent on it for their survival and livelihood.
The women have equal right to the forest and associated resources. Forest is a gift of nature and indestructible, through the means of which, us locals enjoy a peaceful and content life.
With the prime ministerial elections, I thought that we too would get to see some “acche din”(Good days, Slogan made popular by the BJP). But that didn’t happen for us!
Like earlier, even today we have to deal with “burre din”(Bad days) So I request the government to pay attention to our problems so we can also experience good days.
In our area, women are being heavily exploited. Their rights are being denied to them. They are abused and receive life threats from the governmental officials here! And, no one in the Govt bothers stop this atrocities inflicted on us.
The villagers, in keeping with the 2006 Forests Rights Act, are peacefully protesting to get their community forest rights implemented save Mahan forest. As a result of this we are facing a lot of harassment related problems.
Hence through the means of Radio Sangharsh I want to bring to the attention of the Women’s and Child’s Rights Commission of India – the problems faced by the women in our village and push for a legal probe against the defaulters, which would help all of us live peacefully.”
Know more details on the situation there from Jagnarayan at 07566904239
Inform the National Women’s Commission Complaints cell: 011-23219750, 011-23213419, 011-23236153
Call the Women Protection Cell at 9425841437 and mail – firstname.lastname@example.org and demand action on the Government employees assaulting women.
Report this to District Magistrate – M. Salvendran, phone – 07805234541, 07805244110, mail – email@example.com
ANITA KUSHWAHA – vil. Budher, post Jamghadi, Singrauli, Madhya Pradesh:
“On July 1st, we villagers went to protest against the company’s surreptitious works in the forest. A company broker and Forest Beat Guard- Dinesh Ratnakar tried throwing stones at us; but the labors working there took the stones from their hands. Dinesh Ratnakar threatened us saying, ‘this is my forest and I allow company to work here. Anyone coming to stop the work here would be a criminal, and I can kill that person!’He also tried to take the men and women to Bandhaura police station.
We told Dinesh that protecting our forest is our right and we won’t let any company take it!
The women with me, whom the Beat Guard tried to physically assault were Basanti, Ramkali, Shivkumari, Samdhariya-ji. I request all of you listeners and friends of Radio Sangharsh, help stop atrocities on women in Mahan. ”
Call the Forest Beat Guard – Dinest Ratnakar @ 7509318977. Give him a piece of mind on how to treat women and what the law can do to the violators!
National Women’s Commission Complaints Cell:011-23219750,011-23213419,011-23236153
Call the Women Protection Cell at 9425841437 and mail – firstname.lastname@example.org Demand an action on this Government employee assaulting women.
Report this to District Magistrate – M. Salvendran, phone – 07805 (234541), 07805(244110), email@example.com
Talk to Anita and know more about the incident – 8718939145
JAGNARAYAN (Mahan Sangharsh Samiti member) from AMELIA, SINGRAULI, MADHYA PRADESH -
“We heard about the IB report from media. I reject the report’s allegation that Greenpeace is a hindrance to our economic growth, as false! Development means progress that is for all!
Right now in India, the word ‘development’ only helps businessmen and city dwellers to ‘grow’ more. But it is us, the village dwellers, who have to deal with the ugly side to it. We get displaced and have no where to go, our livelihoods are snatched away from us, we are expected to make life changing sacrifices! After losing everything, we have to live with dust, unbearable pollution, a destroyed environment resulting in adverse health effects on our fellow villagers.
Our rights and needs are ruthlessly trampled over. In this environment of despair, Greenpeace has been supporting and working to enforce community forest rights on Mahan forest for the villagers. This is as per 2006-2007 Forest Rights Act.
There is necessity for organisations like Greenpeace in our co- to spread awareness, safeguard the rights and livelihood of us poor, to protect the environment from destruction. Greenpeace is not one to function for money or political motives. They are doing a great job”
Anita kushwaha form Budher village (P.S.- Sarai, District- Singrauli) is reporting the atrocities of Vyasjee Jaiswal, a middle man of Mahan Coal Ltd. The company is constructing pillars in the forest for which it needed laborers from the villagers, but the people denied to work for MCL saying that “our livelihood is wholly dependent on this forest, how can we help someone from snatching it from us?”
MCL had no alternative for labors hence, Vyashjee, drags the minors forcefully from the village to the construction site and coerce them to work. If any woman is found to be alone in house, Vyashjee Jaiswal along with Sitaram Gond, enters the house and they beat & threaten the woman. To know more about the issue, Call Anita : 8718939145
Help the people of Budher by reporting this to :
D Kalyan Chakravarti[Supdt. of Police - Singrauli] Office- 07805 (234601)
Child Labour cell: firstname.lastname@example.org
Women’s security cell & helpline: 09425841437
National Women’s Commission Complaints Cell:011-23219750
Shri M.Selvendran (IAS),Collector & DM, Phone-07805 (234541), 07805(244110) Mail Idemail@example.com
Bechanlal Shah, the Van Satyagrahi in jail, got bail order (from Jabalpur High Court) yesterday after 3 weeks of his arrest. Bechanlal’s bail was not granted before. Yesterday, as the news of his bail broke, there were happiness, cheer and slogans in the local villages. MSS member Jagnarayan Shah said, “Bechanlal’s sacrifice brings new energy to our fight to save Mahan. This is how good wins over evil after all. This Van Satyagraha would continue till the 2nd stage clearance to Mahan is revoked!”
On 8th May, 4 Mahan Sangharsh Samiti (MSS) members were arrested in the midnight for peaceful protests for saving Mahan forest. 3 activists were released after 40 hrs, but Bechanlal’s bail was pending till yesterday.
Hiramani Singh Gond recently got an information that a Gram-Sabha on Forest Rights Act would be constituted in 3-4 days. Hiramani says that people should be informed of such meetings at least 15 days in advance, as per the rules of M.P. State Panchayat Act. It should take place under the surveillance of video camera and in presence of the highest possible authority. Hiramani already gave an application to the SDM of Singrauli to apply all these rules and make the meeting as transparent as possible.
If the fair regulations are not applied this time, Heeramani fears that again in this meeting, some unfair means will be used like the last time (on 6th March gramsabha when fake signatures of even dead people were produced!)
Hiramani Singh is from Amelia vill. Singrauli district of Madhya Pradesh – interview by Avinash Chanchal.
Call the SDM, Singrauli – Ashish Pathak @ 07805233225 and ask for a fair Gramsabha!
Avinash Chanchal form Mahan Sangharsh Samiti is reporting the dismay of local people. The Tendu season has arrived and people are busy now collecting the tendu leaves. Every evening, these people, after collecting the tendu leaves, go to “Van Samities” and get their leaves counted. This season the people going to collect tendu, are sad and troubled as the Government has given their forest for coal mining. Mahan forest, which is the source of fresh air, water, firewood, medicines, Tendu, Chiraunji and Mahua, will be destroyed if the mining starts. It will also destroy the livelihood of the thousands of the people dependent on the forest.
Mr. Avinash is requesting the Government of India and the Madhya Pradesh administration to stop this from happening and save the lives.
More more details, call Avinash at 08359826363
Mahan is one of the oldest and most important forests in Asia. Mahan forest is the source of livelihood of thousands from about 54 villages in and around. But Mahan has been in trouble because of already established power corporations and more who are trying to establish themselves wiping out the forest for coal mining. These companies’ existence and agenda made the local people’s lives difficult in every aspect. From last three years, organisations like Greenpeace and Mahan Sangharsh Samiti have been working to save this forest from these companies. Yesterday the campaign achieved a milestone for now – as M.P. Government ordered not to cut any tree in Mahan till October in The National Green Tribunal Court . A member of Mahan Sangharsh Samiti told that though its a temporary good news, but this respite brings new hopes for a continued and stronger struggle to save Mahan forest. – Report by Vivek Goyal, Waidhan-Singrauli. To know more Call Vivek – 7838034539
Raghunath Singh (Vil. Godwani, M.P) is reporting about the destruction of people’s livelihood in his village. The Mahua, Sarai and Tendu trees, the produces of which people earn from and survive on, are being cut by the company. The administration and the government, altogether, are breaking the backbones of the poor people as- when people raise their voice, they warn that the villagers would not get either of the plot or the compensation and also might be jailed. The people have no clue on how to deal with it. People have been living here since ages, they earn from this forest and don’t want to leave it. Apart from trashing the forest, the companies have erected towers on either sides of Raghunath’s house which, 24*7 , produces such loud and irritating noise that people can’t take the fingers off their ears.
“But”, Raghunath says, “we are still living here and we will continue living here and here only.” He requests the Radio Sangharsh listeners to spread his message to every nook and corner of India. Raghunath is from Mithaura tola of Godwani village, P.O. Karsualal, P.S.- Sarai, Tehsil and district- Singrauli of Madhya Pradesh.
Call the DFO @ 9425793525 and ask an explanation to this threats given to villagers Fax-268617
To know more, Call Raghunath Singh-7771026955
Ajay Gujjar says the above with a humor. He elucidates that the people in Mahan are self sufficient for generations, earning enough to run their families and most importantly, they are happy. Looking at the compensations that displaced people received in some cases, people know by now that if they agree to give away their forest, they will have nothing but stripped to bankruptcy of everything that they have. Ajay says that the companies can be wherever they are from, they should not enter Mahan. People in Mahan don’t want their money, benefits, nothing! He requests the audience of Radio Sagharsh to spread his message. – Ajay Gujjar is from Bandha Village of Singrauli district in M.P.
Call Ajay to know more about what’s happening – 8224847472
Radio Sangharsh is Greenpeace India’s decentralized project that helps the larger world discover stories from the dense forests. By digitizing the voices from grassroots, we hope to facilitate sharing of grassroots people’s life with the environment to the rest of the world. Combining technology with powerful social expressions, Radio Sangharsh aims to create a platform that will provoke and enlarge the debate around the right of indigenous people on forests. Read more...