The white paper on status of agriculture in Andhra Pradesh
The white paper on status of agriculture in Andhra Pradesh
After 50 hours volunteers climb down the billboards
August 13th, 2014, Mumbai: In an encouraging turn of events, two of the leading tea companies have come forward in support of Non-Pesticide Management (NPM) in tea. Earlier this week, Greenpeace India released its report “Trouble Brewing”1 highlighting pesticide residue in tea samples. Since then, companies have been coming forward to engage with us. In response, Unilever2 and now Girnar Tea3 have both committed to support the NPM approach, which could lead to phasing out pesticides in tea cultivation. Pilot studies will be the first concrete step in this direction.
“It is very encouraging that the tea companies are taking steps to provide their consumers pesticide-free tea. Unilever and now Girnar Tea have taken the first step in this direction. Greenpeace will continue to urge the tea industry to move towards a holistic, ecosystem-based approach that will gradually phase out pesticides and clean our chai,” said Neha Saigal, Senior Campaigner, Greenpeace India.
To highlight the urgency of the issue, volunteers had climbed up seven billboards at the Bandra Reclamation Road urging the tea companies to “Clean Chai Now”. After spending 50 hours on these billboards, the volunteers today climbed down acknowledging the progress shown by tea companies.
“We are happy that our efforts are paying off and companies are coming forward to engage with us in a positive way. We look forward to a day when all our tea is free from pesticides,” said Bindu Vaz, one of the volunteers.
Notes to the editor:
For more information: http://grnpc.org/cleanchai
Follow us on twitter: @GreenpeaceIndia
The eligible amount for debt waiver would be limited to the amount of loan (together with applicable interest), which is disbursed and outstanding as of 31st of March, 2014 or Rs.1,00,000 per farmer family whichever is lower. The farmer family is defined as head of the family, spouse and dependent children.
The following loans/accounts shall not be eligible under the Crop Loan Waiver Scheme.
a) Advances against pledge or hypothecation of agriculture produce other than standing crop
b) Tied loans
c) Closed crop loan accounts
Short term production loan means a loan given in connection with the raising of crops which is to be repaid within 18 months. It will include working capital loan, for traditional and non-traditional plantation and horticulture.
Implementation Guidelines of the Scheme
a) Preparation of list of farmers with outstanding crop loan dues and arriving at the amount of claim
i) Each lending institution – bank branch – which has disbursed short term crop loans to farmers shall prepare village-wise list of farmers with outstanding crop loan dues as on March 31, 2014 in the prescribed format (Annexure-A).
ii) Each lending institution, shall also prepare a village-wise list of farmers who have outstanding dues as on March 31, 2014 in respect of crop loans taken against gold in the prescribed format (Annexure-B).
iii) The list of farmers in Annexure-A and Annexure-B should be compared by the Bank Branch Manager and a final list of farmers who have outstanding crop loan and limited to a maximum extent of Rs.1.00 lakh should be prepared by the Bank Branch Manager in the format designed in Annexure-C. One copy of Annexure-A, B, C should be sent by the Bank Branch Manager each to LDM and District Collector.
iv) Some of the farmers might have taken crop loan/agriculture gold loan for crops from more than one bank branch of same bank or another bank. Hence, for eliminating the duplication/multiple financing and restricting the benefit of loan waiver of Rs.1.00 lakh per farmer family, a Bankers meeting at Mandal level will be convened by the JMLBC (Joint Mandal Level Bankers Committee) Convener. At the JMLBC meeting all the Banks will come with the lists of eligible farmers prepared in the proforma as in Annexure-A, B & C prescribed by the Government, and compare the list of farmers in Annexure- C with Annexure- C list of other bank branches in the mandal belonging to all the other banks (commercial, rural, cooperative). The mandal Tahsildar will also check all names in Annexure- C of all banks in the mandal and will verify if there are any fake pattadar pass books and also if all loanees have farm land. After this verification any false claims will be deleted. Then the farmer family who have availed loans from more than one bank branch will be identified by the JLMBC members. Their details will be recorded by the JLMBC in Annexure- D. The Co-op. Dept. auditors under the supervision of District Co-op. Audit Officer shall cross verify the A, B, C with D list pertaining to PACs and DCCBs. The DCAO shall allot the auditors to Mandals under his jurisdiction under intimation to the District Collector. A senior officer not below the rank of Deputy Collector and nominated by the District Collector will be the observer for this meeting. The Annexure-D thus prepared in JLMBC will be shared by all bank branches at the mandal level.
v) After comparing and deleting farmer family who have taken loan in more than one bank branch (Comparing Annexure C and D) each bank will prepare Annexure-E. It is to be noted that if a farmer family has multiple accounts but overall outstanding for crop loan is less than Rs.1.00 lakh, then their name will not be deleted. In case outstanding crop loan is more than Rs.1.00 lakh, then the name will be retained in the bank where the farmer family first availed the crop loan or where the outstanding amount is higher, the latter being the first priority. Annexure-E will be the final list of farmers bank branch wise who will be eligible for loan waiver.
vi) Annexure-E will be exhibited village wise and social audit conducted by a team consisting of MPDO, Tahsildar, AR (SDLCO)/Sl.& Branch Manager or his representative. After conduct of social audit and finalization of all objections received the final list of farmers bank branch wise will be prepared in Annexure-E (final). After the social audit and after taking into account the objections of villages, if any, a final village-wise list of eligible farmers along with the amount eligible for waiver shall be prepared Annexure ‘E’ and displayed at all bank branches after due authentication. The final list shall be sent to the LDM and the District Collector in Annexure-E.
vii) A District Level Bankers’ meeting will be convened (DCC) by the LDM and district details of loan waiver bank wise, farmer wise will be recorded and sent to SLBC in Annexure-E. SLBC will intimate Bank wise, Branch wise farmers eligible amounts to be released to the Government in Annexure-E.
b) Claim reimbursement by the Government to the lending institutions
i) The final list shall be consolidated village-wise and district- wise by convening a meeting of the District Level Bankers’ Committee. After consolidating all such lists from the districts, the banks would need to raise a claim with the Government, which would be reimbursed to the banks.
ii) After adjustment of loan waiver amount by the State Government, each branch shall certify the amount of outstanding crop loans waived after duly crediting the amounts in the crop loan accounts of farmers. Before crediting the amount, an undertaking should be taken from the farmer in that he shall repay the amount of waiver if it is found subsequently that he/she has fraudulently obtained the crop loan or is found not eligible for crop loan waiver under the Scheme. A certificate of loan waiver in Annexure ‘F’ shall also be issued by the bank branch to each farmer, whose outstanding loan has been waived. The amount of loan waiver shall be consolidated bank-wise for the entire State.
iii) A meeting of the JMLBC shall be convened within one month of the completion of procedures laid down in i) and ii) above.
After the completion of procedures in i) and ii) above, the auditors of the Cooperation Department shall take up the audit of Primary Agricultural Cooperative Societies to ensure accuracy of the waiver amounts and shall submit the audit report to the Chief Auditor. The books of accounts of every lending institution that has granted crop loan waiver shall be subject to an audit in accordance with the usual procedure prescribed by RBI / NABARD. The audit may be conducted by concurrent auditors, statutory auditors or special auditors.
Obligations of lending institutions
Every lending institution shall be responsible for the correctness and integrity of the list of farmers eligible under the scheme and the particulars of crop loan waiver in respect of each farmer. Every document maintained, every list prepared and ever certificate issued by a lending institution for the purpose of the scheme shall bear the signature of an authorised officer of the lending institution.
Monitoring and Grievance Redressal
There will also be a suitable monitoring and grievance redressal mechanism established at Mandal, District and State levels and every representation has to be disposed off within 30 days. Detailed orders in this regard would be issued separately.
Fresh Lending and agriculture campaign
Since the eligibility for loan waiver is decided based on the outstanding crop loan as on March 31, 2014, along with the interest on it computed up to the date of implementation to be notified by the State Government, and the liability will be taken over by the State Government. All the bankers should commence fresh lending of crop loans immediately. For clarity, it is reiterated that the eligible loan amount as computed by following the prescribed procedure shall be reimbursed irrespective of its renewal subsequent to 31-03-2014.
(BY ORDER AND IN THE NAME OF THE GOVERNOR OF TELANGANA)
APC & PRINCIPAL SECRETARY TO GOVERNMENT.
The Commissioner & Director of Agriculture,
Government of Telangana, Hyderabad.
The Principal Secretary to Chief Minister.
The P.S. to Hon’ble Minister (Agri & A.H.)
The P.S. to Chief Secretary.
The Finance (EAC) Department.
The Accountant General, Telangana, Hyderabad.
The Pay and Accounts Officer, Telangana, Hyderabad.
Notes and Presentation on Telangana Agriculture for the workshop on ‘Telangana Agriculture-Problems and Way forward’ on 11th August at Osmania Univertisty Centre for International Programs (OUCIP) from 9.30 am to 5.30 pm
Addressing Agriculture Issues in Telangana
Venue : OUCIP (Former ASRC) Osmania University
Date: 11th August 2014.
Time: 10.30am to 5 pm
Sessions would be facilitated by Prof. Kodandram
This meeting is jointly organized by Rythu Swarajya Vedika and Telangana Vidyavanthula Vedika in continuation to the Round Table meeting held on 25th March in Osmania University. This meeting is being held in the context of severe crisis in all the Telangana districts the meeting would be in three sessions:
Session I – 09.30 am – 1pm
Discussion on Issues and coming out with concrete proposals for addressing them
Session II – 2 -4 pm
Prioritization of Issues at district level and state level to be taken up for long term Action
Session III – 4 – 5 pm
Action Plan for advocacy, campaign and studies to be taken up jointly at various levels
Farmer Suicides in Telangana State since 2nd June, 2014 #AgrarianCrisis
|18||Padige Devaiah||12.06.14||58||M||Chinna Bohela||Sirisilla||Karimnagar|
|26||KRISHNA||18/6/14||28||M||GATLA GANAPUR||PEDDA MANDADI||Mahboobnagar|
|27||GODA RAMA SWAMY||19/6/14||46||M||JEELUGUPALLI||LINGALA||Mahboobnagar|
|33||Doddi Pushpa||05.07.14||30||F||Chetla Narsampalli||Doulathabad||Medak|
|39||Gaddam Vamseedhar Reddy||14.06.14||26||M||Chandupur||Chinnakodur||Medak|
|41||Gadige Vittalgoud||22.06.14||55||M||Bageeradha pally||ChinnasankaramPeta||Medak|
|44||R. Ashok Reddy||02.06.14||42||M||EllaReddy Peta||Thogutta||Medak|
|53||Boppanapally Rajaiah||09.06.14||45||M||Velmaneni gudem||Gurrampadu||Nallagonda|
|68||RACHAKONDA SHANKAR||26-07-2014||25||M||chervu annaram||kattangur||Nallagonda|
|70||KESANI.ADI REDDY||26-07-2014||45||M||gopavari gudem||NIDAMANURU||Nallagonda|
|76||Yetham Ilaiah||07.06.14||30||M||Kondapur||Station Ghanapur||Warangal|
|84||Samala Ramaswamy||26.06.14||60||M||Jawahar Nagar||Venkatapur||Warangal|
PULLMAN, Wash. – The largest study of its kind has found that organic foods and crops have a suite of advantages over their conventional counterparts, including more antioxidants and fewer, less frequent pesticide residues.
The study looked at an unprecedented 343 peer-reviewed publications comparing the nutritional quality and safety of organic and conventional plant-based foods, including fruits, vegetables and grains. The study team applied sophisticated meta-analysis techniques to quantify differences between organic and non-organic foods.
“Science marches on,” said Charles Benbrook, a Washington State University researcher and the lone American co-author of the paper published in the British Journal of Nutrition. “Our team learned valuable lessons from earlier reviews on this topic, and we benefited from the team’s remarkable breadth of scientific skills and experience.”
Most of the publications covered in the study looked at crops grown in the same area on similar soils. This approach reduces other possible sources of variation in nutritional and safety parameters.
The research team found the quality and reliability of comparison studies has greatly improved in recent years, leading to the discovery of significant nutritional and food safety differences not detected in earlier studies. For example, the new study incorporates the results of a research project led by WSU’s John Reganold that compared the nutritional and sensory quality of organic and conventional strawberries grown in California.
Responding to the new paper’s results, Reganold said, “This is an impressive study, and its major nutritional findings are similar to those reported in our 2010 strawberry paper.”
The British Journal of Nutrition study was led by scientists at Newcastle University in the United Kingdom, with Benbrook helping design the study, write the paper and review the scientific literature, particularly on studies in North and South America.
In general, the team found that organic crops have several nutritional benefits that stem from the way the crops are produced. A plant on a conventionally managed field will typically have access to high levels of synthetic nitrogen and will marshal the extra resources into producing sugars and starches. As a result, the harvested portion of the plant will often contain lower concentrations of other nutrients, including health-promoting antioxidants.
Without the synthetic chemical pesticides applied on conventional crops, organic plants tend to produce more phenols and polyphenols to defend against pest attacks and related injuries. In people, phenols and polyphenols can help prevent diseases triggered or promoted by oxidative damage, like coronary heart disease, stroke and certain cancers.
Overall, organic crops had 18 to 69 percent higher concentrations of antioxidant compounds. The team concludes that consumers who switch to organic fruit, vegetables and cereals would get 20 to 40 percent more antioxidants. That’s the equivalent of about two extra portions of fruit and vegetables a day, with no increase in caloric intake.
The researchers also found pesticide residues were three to four times more likely in conventional foods than organic ones, as organic farmers are not allowed to apply toxic, synthetic pesticides. While crops harvested from organically managed fields sometimes contain pesticide residues, the levels are usually 10-fold to 100-fold lower in organic food, compared to the corresponding, conventionally grown food.
“This study is telling a powerful story of how organic plant-based foods are nutritionally superior and deliver bona fide health benefits,” said Benbrook.
In a surprising finding, the team concluded that conventional crops had roughly twice as much cadmium, a toxic heavy metal contaminant, as organic crops. The leading explanation is that certain fertilizers approved for use only on conventional farms somehow make cadmium more available to plant roots. A doubling of cadmium from food could push some individuals over safe daily intake levels.
More than half the studies in the Newcastle analysis were not available to the research team that carried out a 2009 study commissioned by the UK Food Standards Agency. Another review published by a Stanford University team in 2011 failed to identify any significant clinical health benefits from consumption of organic food, but incorporated fewer than half the number of comparisons for most health-promoting nutrients.
“We benefited from a much larger and higher quality set of studies than our colleagues who carried out earlier reviews,” said Carlo Leifert, a Newcastle University professor and the project leader.
The Newcastle study cost about $429,000 and was funded by the European Framework Programme 6, which is a research program of the European Union, and the Sheepdrove Trust, a private charity that supports research on sustainability, diversity and organic farming.
Contact: Chuck Benbrook, research professor, Washington State University, 541-828-7918, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rytu Swarajya Vedhika has a submitted a memorandum with the following demands.
IB’S REPORT ON “IMPACT OF NGOs ON DEVELOPMENT” (dated June 3rd 2014) and THE GMO-FREE MOVEMENT IN INDIA: Statement from ASHA
An Intelligence Bureau report dated June 3rd 2014 that is seen by many to have been deliberately leaked to select media houses, is creating a public sentiment in India at this point of time on civil society movements coming in the way of India’s economic development. The said report summarily concludes that the negative impact on GDP growth [from “concerted efforts by select foreign funded NGOs to ‘take down’ Indian development projects” which is the subject of the 21-page report] is assessed to be 2-3% p.a.
This is a note from ASHA (Alliance for Sustainable & Holistic Agriculture) on this IB report, as the said IB report makes a mention of Kavitha Kuruganti (one of the Convenors of ASHA) as an individual activist and about ASHA and IFSF (India For Safe Food, a campaign for pesticide-free/GMO-free farming and food systems) as two of the NGOs listed under its anti-GMF section (Section 3 – Anti Genetically Modified Organisms activism).
ASHA is an alliance/coalition of hundreds of organizations and individuals, including numerous farmers groups, from more than 20 states of India and works on promoting sustainable agriculture and sustainable farm livelihoods. It refers to its work as that of protecting our Food, Farmers and Freedom (seed and food sovereignty (please visit www.kisanswaraj.in for more information).
From the dialogues that emerged during the Kisan Swaraj Yatra undertaken by more than 220 individuals and nearly 400 organisations in 2010 when ASHA was created and subsequent work, ASHA articulates a 4-pillared Kisan Swaraj Neeti and calls on governments to adopt the same. This policy articulation provides a framework for a forward-looking agricultural policy approach for India. The four pillars of Kisan Swaraj are (1) income security for farm households; (2) ecological sustainability of agriculture; (3) people’s control over agricultural resources like land, water and seed; and (4) access to safe, healthy, nutritious and sufficient food for all.
The work of ASHA is centred around (1) setting up ecological farming alternatives, (2) ensuring seed diversity revival and secure seed self reliance, (3) highlighting any negative unsustainable approaches in farming – for eg., the UPA government’s BGREI (Bringing Green Revolution to Eastern India) programme based on corporatisation of seed resources, chemicalisation of eastern Indian agriculture, water use intensification etc., (4) seeking minimum living incomes for farm households to enable them to continue a dignified life in agriculture, (5) understanding and advocating a different dispensation to adivasi agriculture and food security, and (6) campaigning against hazardous agri-chemicals including pesticides and fertilizers through the India For Safe Food platform (7) creating an informed debate on risky technologies in agriculture like GM crops, especially centered around the issues of biosafety and seed sovereignty.
ASHA’s stance on GMOs in our environment, and its work on creating an informed public debate on the matter comes out of its understanding that transgenics are unsustainable and incompatible with agro-ecological, organic farming, apart from being potentially detrimental to consumer health and conservation of biodiversity as one of the bedrocks of economic and ecological sustainability. Experiences across the world and in India have shown that GM crops also facilitate the control of our seeds into the monopolistic hands of a few multinational seed corporations, which is not just a threat to livelihoods of our farmers but our nation’s sovereignty itself. It is an established fact that one US company Monsanto now controls more than 95% of the cotton seed market in our country through its proprietary Bt cotton. In fact, even the Planning Commission in the 12th Five Year Plan document points this out as a worrisome scenario.
ASHA is a coalition and associated organizations and individuals raise their own respective resources, foreign or Indian, for the cause of sustainable farm livelihoods and safe food. Some organizations indeed receive foreign funds for setting up ecological farming alternatives, for agro-diversity conservation, for creating awareness on GMOs, for taking up relevant research etc. These organizations and individuals comply with prevalent laws. Greenpeace India, Navdanya, Centre for Sustainable Agriculture, INSAF and Gene Campaign are only a few of the hundreds of organizations and lakhs of Indians who subscribe to healthy GM-free food and farming. This is neither an anti-national or anti-development agenda except perhaps in the eyes of corporations and those who are unaware that GM in agriculture is a technology rejected by most countries around the world.
ASHA’s contribution or the contribution of organizations and individuals associated with ASHA towards building sustainable rural livelihoods and to reduce agrarian distress is a constructive and transparent agenda on record, on its website and in the public domain.
The (non-) accusations of the IB report:
On Page 9 of this secret IB report called “Impact of NGOs on Development”, the accusations against the GM Free India activists are that they received “free-funding” (this is a new coinage by India’s Intelligence officials). It accuses ASHA and its IFSF campaign to be headquartered in one address in Katwaria Sarai in New Delhi, along with 4 other NGOs. Yes, Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture is headquartered there from where INSAF operates, and yes we run a campaign against pesticides called India For Safe Food. It is not clear however what is illegal or objectionable to this, to have several outfits share a space within their meager resources.
The IB report also makes a mention of INSAF’s FCRA registration being frozen in 2013 but does not reveal that the Delhi High Court, after hearing INSAF’s petition against this action, has subsequently ordered a de-freezing of the account on procedural grounds, allowing INSAF to function with its resources, foreign or otherwise.
Page 10 continues its accusations against ASHA thus: “the above NGOs were active facilitators of news articles, liaison with other activists and social media activism, which contributed to the three-year-old moratorium on Bt brinjal and the ban/moratorium regimes recommended by the Parliamentary Standing Committee (August 9 2012) and the Technical Expert Committee (TEC) appointed by the Supreme Court (October 7, 2012).
Indeed, ASHA does bring information and news with regard to GMOs into the public domain, so that an informed debate is created on the subject. And yes, liaisoning with other activists and using social media are part of what we do. This is part of spreading awareness on a technology which ASHA has sound evidence to believe is not in the interest of farmers, consumers, environment, national seed or food sovereignty – it is unclear once again what is illegal or objectionable about this.
It appears that the IB has nothing to note or object to, about foreign MNCs like American seed giant Monsanto spending their vast resources to take up their aggressive PR work, including advertisements that have been found to be baseless and the corporation pulled up for the same, inserting “paid news” in leading national dailies and taking journalists on junket trips including to the USA. These are incidentally corporations that have been convicted of various crimes and offences.
The informed public debate contributing to the Government of India putting a moratorium by ‘being responsive to society and responsible to science’ is something to be welcomed. However, to believe that the Government of India which placed a moratorium on Bt brinjal, and various institutions and panels like the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture (which included UPA members as well as NDA members in its unanimous report) or the SC’s TEC can be influenced only by our ‘facilitation of news articles, liaisoning with other activists and social media activism’ is a serious insult to these credible and democratic bodies. Is the IB employed by the Government of India accusing its Ministers and elected Parliamentarians of being incapable in their work?
Like stated earlier, foreign corporations, foreign funded industry bodies, foreign funded public sector bodies are also ‘facilitating news articles, liaisoning with each other other and active on social media’. When the PSC and the TEC have given their independent analysis and recommendations on the subject, it would be an insult to credible individuals, experts and people’s representatives to claim that they have been swayed by activism alone and not by the substantive scientific and socio-economic evidence on the negative impact of GMOs across the world. Such evidence was provided by leading biotech and agricultural experts, amongst others, who debunked the claims made by biotechnology corporations and fully foreign-funded NGOs and industry associations that promote GM in Indian agriculture.
On Page 11, the IB report accuses INSAF of transferring FCRA NGO funds to non-FCRA NGOs, and that there are individual recipients of such funds too. But as mentioned earlier, it is this accusation with which MHA froze INSAF’s FCRA account. However, the Delhi High Court ordered the de-freezing of INSAF’s account subsequently. And if individuals have received some funding, there is nothing illegal about it.
Para 11 further accuses that “pro-GM researchers, biotech companies and other field enquiries have not been able to verify any such deaths, raising questions on the credibility and integrity of reports generated by these activists”, citing the case of sheep and cattle dying after ingesting Bt cotton leaves in Warangal district.
It is laughable that the IB expects pro-GM researchers and biotech companies to verify such deaths and bring to light the facts. There have indeed been field enquiries including by government departments in AP which have supported the NGO reportage. Further, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture points out to a scientific study which reinforces the NGO findings. NGOs do a national service when they flag such problems for investigation in the interest of sustainable development, and it is not for the IB to decide what is appropriate ‘development’.
In fact, what the IB overlooked is the tremendous contribution that civil society organizations/NGOs working in the field of sustainable agriculture have made in helping our farm communities come out of the input-intensive corporate-controlled paradigm of agriculture which catapulted them into the current agrarian distress, into one that is an ecologically-sustainable, economically-viable and socially-just paradigm. One of the many examples of that is the Non Pesticide Management (NPM) Programme in Andhra Pradesh which has spread to more than 30 lakh acres in the state over the last 9 years and which is now being promoted by other states like Maharashtra, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh etc. This has not only helped farmers get out of the debt and suicide cycles but also is ensuring poison food for our citizens.
All of this brings us to a question on how intelligent is this IB report, actually.
How intelligent is the IB report?
This is important to debate since the government is expected to take cognizance of such reports.
The IB report appears to be shoddy with no actual content to project.
This is a report that has unnecessarily stamped itself “Secret” for no good reason, since the organizations and activists named in the report (and ones not named) have not garnered and mobilized so much support by disguising their intent: they have expressly shown their commitment to social and environmental justice, and citizens of the country have responded. In fact, it is citizens’ own causes that have been picked up by many activists to ensure that marginalised voices are heard in a democracy. Similarly, the plans of these organizations are in the open, and the IB report just picks some bits and pieces here and there, and makes it look sinister.
Its plagiarized portions or unconnected, illogical arguments or even absence of any sound accusations are apparent. In the anti-GMO section too, it shows itself for very poor research and analysis. The IB’s lack of knowledge and information of current scientific research across the world that has led to many bans and restrictions, including recently by China in the case of its army rations, is visible in this report.
The IB cannot be expected to understand the scientific issues here. Just as it cannot be expected to arrive in any rigorous fashion at its conclusions related to how much GDP growth got affected by the NGOs it named. As media articles indicate, even the most liberal pro-market analysts are scoffing at the IB’s ability to assess such impacts and are asserting that NGOs can do very little economic damage. The Intelligence Bureau of India has no business coming up with such a report when the best of econometric analysis cannot make such definitive cause and effect correlations related to GDP growth rate. More importantly, the IB cannot be expected to arrive at conclusions about what is good development.
The report also has factual errors. There is no Karuna Raina who is an anti-GM campaigner, for instance. Kavitha Kuruganti did not join this campaign from 2010 onwards, as another example. Activists named have not received increasing support and resources from Greenpeace International in the last four years as stated in the report, as yet another instance.
When the IB prepares such reports, what is also of importance is to check the magnitude of such funds and be able to assess whether a few lakh rupees of foreign funds, countered by crores of foreign corporations’ PR funds, would have indeed created the impact of the kind that the IB makes a bogey of as the impact on India’s development and whether it believes that all legitimate concerns should be muzzled in a democracy. Some analysts have already done so in popular media articles from the time the debate has been created on the subject a few days ago, and the IB analysis has indeed become a laughing stock there.
Just one glance at the report is enough to note the extremely shoddy way in which certain pre-decided narrative was laid out, without any basis or logic. It is shocking that India’s government is expected to act on such poor quality “intelligence”.
The foreign hand bogey is not new. It is well known that this was used by the Indira Gandhi regime and that the Manmohan Singh government used it too, as an intimidation tactic and as a tactic to dilute public support on particular issues. It is apparent that this IB report was prepared for the UPA government and was for some mysterious reasons shoddily put together now and presented to the current government.
However, this argument around foreign funding ignores the fact that it is not just NGOs, foreign funded or otherwise, which are creating public debates on particular issues. Governments themselves are foreign-funded. Government policies are being directed or influenced heavily by foreign agencies including by large charitable foundations that promote the larger agendas of their governments and corporations in their countries.
What about the fact that political parties have been found to have violated FCRA rules by receiving funds from foreign corporations (High Court of Delhi WP ©131/2013, with judgement delivered on March 28th 2014?)? How is it that the IB does not find any relevance to this fact in its analysis?
In the GMO debate in India, more foreign funds are being spent by foreign MNCs than any NGO. It is reported that just one American biotech major has recruited the services of at least eight PR agencies in Delhi alone for its pro-GM work. If this is about foreign forces influencing domestic decisions in India, why is it that the IB does not think that it is objectionable that biotech industry led by these foreign MNCs is into heavy lobbying, PR and influencing? Incidentally the whole project through which Bt Brinjal was created under a project called Agri-Biotechnology Support Programme (ABSP II) is initiated by foreign agencies like USAID and Cornell University with active funding from Multinational corporations like Monsanto.
It appears that the mandate given to the IB, probably by the UPA government, does not include any investigation into these aspects.
As ASHA, our loyalty is towards Indians, both farmers and consumers. Our commitment is to India’s interests and India’s sustainable development. However, can this be said of various foreign agencies that seem to wield a lot of clout in this country, with their accountability to their shareholders and their allegiance to their (super) profits alone? Their loyalty is not to India and its people – it is to their own ‘development’ agenda supported by the agendas of the developed world they are based in.
We also want to point out that in India’s independence struggle also, the Father of the Nation Gandhi ji, has received foreign funding. In nation-building, foreign funding has played a part and will continue to do so and this cannot be used as a bogey to silence genuine debates on matters of national interest by Indian citizens. The question that needs to be asked and answered is whether such initiatives lead to keeping our country the sovereign, socialist, secular republic that our Constitution envisages.
Muzzling of Debate and Dissent:
What is objectionable is that the IB report is not just about foreign-funded NGOs. It is about quelling of dissent and opposition, including of groups which are not NGOs, or funded or foreign-funded; this is apparent from some of the details included in the Report of some non-funded outfits.
This IB report pre-supposes that we as a nation have decided on a particular development paradigm and GDP growth as the sole agenda, even to the extent of riding roughshod over issues of social, economic and environmental justice, democracy, plurality and sustainability. It is by debate that a nation arrives at its own collective wisdom on such issues and stifling such peaceful and democratic debate is short sighted at best.
It is not clear if the IB is saying that evidence and experience that the activism brings to the fore (including of violations of Indian laws, and denial of constitutional rights) should be ignored or worse, stamped out? Is the IB saying that studies cannot be commissioned to research on particular potential impacts, and that public awareness cannot be created?
It should be remembered that most innovations that the nation benefited from in the field of development, came from dissenting NGOs which sought alternatives in various sectors, going against status quo. This is in the field of post-modern agriculture, natural resource conservation management, renewable energy, sanitation, food security etc., in addition to the social themes like human rights, decentralized, accountable and transparent governance etc.
There are a number of movements created and led by local people to protect their lives and livelihoods. As a nation, we need to respect their views, voices and resistance, and their struggle to uphold their own dignity and way of life.
Social, economic and environmental justice are at the core of the debates that the IB so facetiously chose to do some sensationalism around. It cannot be a crime to raise issues of environmental and social justice, no matter where the funds come from. If India is not for economic, environmental and social justice, then it is indeed a matter of concern. As a nation, we must encourage debate and allow dissent, to preserve our democracy.
The Movement to keep our farms, food and environment free from GMOs will continue, since the technology does have potential adverse impacts, is based on unproven claims of benefits, and because it is unneeded:
For the Intelligence Bureau’s information, we would like to state once again that transgenic technology in our food and farming systems and in our environment does have adverse impacts, which have been scientifically documented. This has been presented to the Indian government and public by groups like ASHA time and again in the national interest. This has also been brought to the fore by various experts and scientists. It is also apparent that real, lasting solutions lie in agro-ecological approaches to farming and GMOs contaminate and irreversibly destroy the freedom to choose for both farmers and consumers.
The GM-Free India movement cannot be bracketed conveniently into “five activists and six FCRA NGOs who are foreign funded”. The current Home Minister to whom the IB report has been presented has indeed expressed his reservations about GMOs in the past in written statements supporting protest movements. There are hundreds of scientists including current and retired experts from the NARS and public sector scientific establishment who have been expressing their reservation on GMOs and advocating a precautionary approach. There are Ministers in the present and earlier government who have voiced their views and even recorded their decisions against GMOs. There are major farmer unions (including ones who are affiliated to the ruling dispensation) who are against GMOs including for reasons related to seed sovereignty and farmers’ rights. There are several retired Supreme Court judges who have expressed their concern about the right of choice which is destroyed for farmers and consumers once GM is adopted. The movement also has seen spiritual and cultural leaders coming out against such GMOs pointing to the socio-cultural as well as ethical dimensions of the debate. Last but not the least, there are state governments who are saying NO to environmental releases of GMOs.
In fact, the BJP Manifesto itself in 2009 stated the following about GMOs: “No genetically modified seed will be allowed for cultivation without full scientific data on long-term effects on soil, production and biological impact on consumers. All food and food products produced with genetically modified seeds will be branded as ‘GM Food.’ The promise has been repeated by BJP in its 2014 election manifesto again.
It is therefore highly specious that the IB presents a picture of foreign-funded NGOs behind the active efforts to keep our country GM Free.
The GMO debate should and will continue in India, with or without foreign funds and Indian funds. Hasty decisions, citing economic growth arguments without clear evidence of safety and sustainable development, will indeed be resisted by people. The activists and NGOs named in the report will not be intimidated in their efforts to create an informed debate on the subject, keeping the best interests of our farmers, consumers and environment in mind. ASHA is committed to presenting sound evidence and experience on not only GMOS but on sustainable alternatives which create a win-win situation for everyone.
We urge the new government not to follow the practices of the previous government to use the Intelligence Bureau as a tool for promoting interests of large corporations, including foreign corporations. It appears that agents of such vested interests are playing an influential role in the offices of our policy-makers as well as the Intelligence agencies. We hope that the government will shield itself from such influences.
Meanwhile, ASHA urges the Government of India to pro-actively implement pro-people, pro-Nature policies and programmes, and fulfill the many positive commitments made to the people of this country in the BJP manifesto. We attach herewith our earlier letter to Shri Narendra Modi on the subject (http://www.kisanswaraj.in/2014/05/29/asha-letter-to-pm-narendra-modi-fulfilling-the-bjp-promise-of-according-highest-priority-to-agricultural-growth-increase-in-farmers%E2%80%99-income-and-rural-development/).
For more information, contact Kavitha Kuruganti at 09393001550; email@example.com
C. SAMBI REDDY, K. JOJAIAH,
N. VENUGOPALA RAO, I. NARASAIAH
పోలవరం కాదు శాపం! (లోతుగా తెల్సుకోవాలనుకునే వారు ఇది చదవండి . అనవసరంగా తెలంగాణా వారి మీద పడి ఏడ్చే వాళ్ళు తప్పక చదవండి .)
-ప్రాజెక్టు కడితే 397 ఆదివాసీ గ్రామాలు జలసమాధే!
-ప్రకతి సంపద సర్వనాశనమేభద్రాద్రి రామయ్యకూ సంకటమే
-బ్రిటీష్ కాలంలోనే వద్దన్నారుమళ్లీ తెరపైకి వచ్చినా కుదరదన్నారు!
-మరి ఇప్పుడే ఎందుకు ముందుకు తెస్తున్నారు? నీటి రంగ నిపుణుల ఆగ్రహం
జలరంగనిపుణులు వద్దని వారించినా పట్టువీడకుండా నిర్మిస్తున్న భారీ ప్రాజెక్టులేమైనా ఉన్నాయా..? అంటే, అందులో ప్రపంచంలోనే అత్యంత విధ్వంసకర, వివాదాస్పదంగా పేరొందిన ప్రాజె క్టు.. పోలవరం! బ్రిటీష్ హయాంనుంచి ఇప్పటివరకు ఎన్నో వివాదాల సుడిగుండాలను సష్టించిన ఈ ప్రాజెక్టుకు రాష్ట్ర విభజన పుణ్యమా అని జాతీయహోదా లభించింది. జాతీయ హోదా దేని కి..?
తెలంగాణలో ఆదివాసీల సంసతిని, మనుగడను ధ్వంసం చేయడానికా..?!
దిగువ ప్రాంతాలను వరద నీటితో ముంచి ప్రళ యం సష్టించడానికా..?!
పాపికొండల వంటి అపురూప అభయారణ్యాన్ని, అపార ప్రకతి సంపదను పూర్తిగా నాశనం చేయడానికా..?!
గోదావరి నదిలో వరద ఉధతి అనూహ్య రీతిలో పెరుగుతూ వస్తోంది.
1850లో 15లక్షల క్యూసెక్కుల వరద ప్రవాహం ఉంటే
1940 నాటికి అది 21లక్షలకు పెరిగింది.
1953లో 30లక్షల క్యూసెక్కులున్న వరద ప్రవాహం
1986లో 35లక్షలకు పెరిగింది. ఇప్పుడది 36లక్షల క్యూసెక్కులను దాటుతోంది. కానీ గోదావరి వరద ప్రవాహం ఎప్పుడైనా ప్రమాదకర స్థాయి 50లక్షల క్యూసెక్ల వరకు చేరుకోవచ్చని, అప్రమత్తంగా ఉండాలని కేంద్ర జలవనరుల సంఘం హెచ్చరించింది.
1953, 1986లో వచ్చిన గోదావరి వరదలు రాష్ర్టాన్ని వణికించాయి. 36లక్షల క్యూసెక్ల మేర నీరు ప్రవహించడంతో వరద నీరు భద్రాచలం గుడిని తాకింది. గత నాలుగు దశాబ్దాలలో మూడోసారి ఈ పరిస్థితి తలెత్తింది. ఎలాంటి అడ్డుకట్ట లేకుండానే ఈ పరిస్థితి తలెత్తింది. అంటే ఇక పోలవరం వద్ద 150అడుగులతో అడ్డుగా ఆనకట్ట నిర్మాణం పూర్తి చేస్తే పరిస్థితి ఏమిటో ఊహించుకోవచ్చు!! గోదావరి వాలు భద్రాచలం నుంచి పోలవరం వరకు చాలా తీవ్రంగా ఉంటుంది. పోలవరానికి 125కిలో మీటర్ల దూరంలో నది భూతల మట్టం 32.5మీటర్ల ఎత్తులో ఉంటే పోలవరం వద్ద ఎకాఎకిన 3మీటర్లకు పడిపోయింది. ఏటవాలుకు వరద ఉధతి ఊహించని విధంగా ఉంటుంది. భద్రాచలం వద్ద 1200మీటర్ల వెడల్పు ఉన్న నది పాపికొండల వద్దకు రాగానే ఒక్కసారిగా 70మీటర్లకు తగ్గుతుంది. ఈ కారణంగా వరద ప్రవాహం దాదాపు 5 రెట్లు అధికమై తీవ్ర ఒత్తిడి పెరుగుతుంది.
వాస్తవానికి గోదావరిలో 36 లక్షల క్యూసెక్కుల నీటి ప్రవాహం ఉన్నప్పుడు ఆరుగంటల్లో జలాశయం పూర్తి మట్టం 150 అడుగులకు చేరుతుంది. అప్పటికే తెలంగాణలో రెండువందల గ్రామాలు నీట మునుగుతాయి.. కానీ 50 లక్షల క్యూసెక్కుల నీటి ప్రవాహం ఉన్నప్పుడు కేవలం నాలుగుగంటలలోనే నీరు పూర్తిస్థాయి మట్టానికి చేరుకుని ప్రమాదం ముంచుకు వస్తుంది
ప్రాంతీయ పరంగా కాకుండా మానవీయకోణంలో చూసినా ఇది అత్యంత ప్రమాదకరమని, పోలవరంలో మట్టికట్ట ఎత్తు 175 అడుగులు కాగా గేట్లపై మట్టం 150 అడుగులు. గేట్ల పూర్తి మట్టం, మట్టికట్ట మధ్య తేడా కేవలం 25 అడుగులే. జలాశయంలో ఏర్పడే అలలకు సరైన చోటివ్వడానికి 10 అడుగులు అవసరమవుతాయి. 15 అడుగుల వరద ఒరవడి 36 లక్షల నుంచి 50 లక్షల వరకు చేరితే 72 శతకోటి ఘనపుడటడుగుల నీరు గంటకు 13 శతకోటిఘనపుటడుగుల నుంచి 19 టీఎంసీల వరకు వరుసగా జలాశయంలో నిండుతుంది.
కానీ భౌగోళికంగా పోలవరం విషయంలో అలాంటి పరిస్థితి లేదు. గోదావరి వరద ఉధతికి నాలుగు గంటల్లోనే వరద నీరు నిండిపోవడం, మరో నాలుగు గంటల్లో వరద పొంగి మట్టికట్ట తెగిపోయే ప్రమాదం ఉంది .
ఒక వేళ కట్టతెగితే 40 మీటర్ల నుంచి 10 మీటర్ల వరకు పెద్ద ఎత్తున ఉప్పెన వచ్చే ప్రమాదముందని నేషనల్ ఇన్స్టిట్యూట్ ఆఫ్ హైడ్రోలజీ రుర్కి ఇది వరకే హెచ్చరించింది. వరద ఉధతి 50 లక్షల క్యూసెక్కులను దాటే పశ్చిమ, తూర్పుగోదావరి జిల్లాలకు పెను ప్రమాదం ఉంటుందని తేల్చింది. రాజమండ్రి, భీమవరం, కొవ్వూరు, రామచంద్రాపురం తదితర ప్రాంతాల్లో భారీ ఆస్థి, ప్రాణ నష్టం సంభవించే ప్రమాదం ఉంటుందని నిపుణులు హెచ్చరిస్తున్నారు. పెట్రోకెమికల్ కంపెనీలకు, మల్టీనేషనల్ కంపెనీలకు, సెజ్లకు ఉపయోగపడుతుంది తప్ప సామాన్యులకు కాదని మొదటి నుంచి బలమైన విమర్శలున్నాయి.
ఎందుకంటే పోలవరం ద్వారా ఉభయగోదావరి జిల్లాల్లో ఏడున్నర లక్షల ఎకరాలకు సాగునీరందిచాలన్నది ప్రధాన లక్ష్యం. కానీ వివాదాల కారణంగా దీర్ఘకాలికంగా పెండింగ్లో ఉండటంతో ప్రత్యామ్నాయంగా పుష్కర, తాటిపుడి, ఛగలనాడు, తురిగడ్డ ఎత్తిపోతల పథకాలను నిర్మించారు. దీంతో దాదాపు ఐదులక్షల ఎకరాలకు నీరందుతోంది. ఇక మిగిలింది.. బహుళజాతి కంపెనీలు, సెజ్లు, సముద్రతీర ప్రాంతంలోని ఫార్మా, కెమికల్ కంపెనీలకు నీరందించటమే! ఇందుకోసం తెలంగాణ ఆదివాసీలను బలిపెట్టడంతో పాటు దిగువన ఉన్న వారిని కూడా ప్రమాదంలోకి నెట్టడానికి ఈ జాతీయ ప్రాజెక్టు సిద్ధమవుతోంది. పోలవరం శాస్త్రీయంగా సాధ్యం కాదని పద్మభూషణ్ డాక్టర్ కేఎల్ రావు, శివాజీ లాంటి నిపుణులు ఇప్పటికే హెచ్చరించారు. 1751 నుంచి బ్రిటీష్ కాలంలో ప్రతిపాదన వచ్చింది.. కానీ అప్పుడే దూరదష్టితో వ్యవహరించారు. తగదని పక్కకు తప్పుకున్నారు. 1946లో మద్రాస్ ప్రెసిడెన్సీలో మళ్లీ శ్రీరామపాదసాగర్ పేరిట తెరపైకి వచ్చింది. నాడు డాక్టర్ సావేజీతో పాటు కేఎల్ రావు కూడా సాధ్యంకాదని తేల్చారు.
భారీ విధ్వంసం తప్పదా?
పోలవరం రిజర్వాయర్ స్టోరేజీ కెపాసిటీ 194 టీఎంసీలు. అందులో 75 టీఎంసీలు లైవ్ స్టోరేజీ. స్పిల్ వే డిశ్చార్జి 36 లక్షల క్యూసెక్లు. వరద ఇన్ఫ్లో డిజైన్డ్ 49 లక్షల క్యూసెక్లని అంచనా వేశారు. ఈ ప్రాజెక్ట్ అదనంగా వచ్చే లాభం కంటే నష్టాలు, కష్టాలే ఎక్కువ. పోలవరం ఖమ్మం జిలాల్లోని పాల్వంచ, వేలేరుపాడు, కుక్కునూరు, బూర్గంపాడు, వీఆర్పురం, కూనవరం, చింతూరు మండలాలను ముంపునకు గురిచేస్తూ దాదాపు రెండున్నర లక్షల గిరిజన, ఆదివాసీలను నిరాశ్రయులను చేయనుంది. ఒడిశా, ఛత్తీసగఢ్తో కలిపి 397 గిరిజన, ఆదివాసీ గ్రామాలు పోలవరంలో కొట్టుకుపోనున్నాయి. ఇంత విధ్వంసం చేసే ప్రాజెక్ట్ వల్ల ఏమి వస్తుందని ప్రశ్నిస్తే..?! కష్ణా డెల్టాకు అదనంగా 80 టీఎంసీల నీరు! దానిలో కూడా కర్ణాటక, మహారాష్ట్రకు సగం వాటాపోగా.. మిగిలిన 45 టీఎంసీల్లో ఆంధ్రప్రదేశ్, తెలంగాణ పంచుకోవాల్సి ఉంటుంది. దీన్ని బట్టి చిన్న లాభానికి పెద్ద విధ్వసం అన్నది తేలిపోతున్నది. ఇప్పటికైనా పాలకులకు కనీస విచక్షణ ఉంటే పోలవరం డిజైన్ను మార్చి ప్రాణ, ఆస్థి నష్టాన్ని నివారించాలని నిపుణులు హితవుపలుకుతున్నారు.
రిటైర్డ్ ఆంధ్ర ఇంజనీర్ హనుమంత రావు గారి బుక్ చదవండి!
ప్రస్తుతమున్న డిజైన్ కరెక్ట్ కాదు డిజైన్ మార్చాల్సిందే అని చెప్తున్న బుక్ చదవండి!
ఎందుకు పోలవరం కట్టగుడదో తెలుసు కోవాలంటే ఇది చదవండి! ఇది రాజకీయ సమస్య కాదు! నిరాశ్రయులవుతున్న గిరిజనుల సమస్య! కనమరుగు కానున్న పాపి కొండల సమస్య ! కొట్టుకు పోబోయే బద్రాద్రి రాముడి సమస్య! మునిగిపొనున్న మీ సీమాంధ్ర పట్టణాల సమస్య! మానవత దృక్పథం తో ఆలోచించాల్సిన సమస్య!
Why Polavaram must not be built! Please Read it!