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Uttar Pradesh

Water Success Case-2010
Annual Report  2008
Annual Report 2004
Preface
About Us

FIAN-Uttar Pradesh completed its struggle of 10 years to facilitate realization of right to food in India in general and in the state of Uttar Pradesh in particular in 2004. The Chapter was developed by a group of sensitive, concerned and professionally equipped individuals burning with zeal to play a synergetic and proactive role for the strengthening activating and supporting the struggle of the victims of hunger, poorest of the poor, deprived/ displaced, vulnerable, marginalized, unorganised and voiceless cohorts of our society collected together. They started from a seed group of FIAN U.P. to coordination and then section and committed themselves to work for the issues related with these people their pain, misery, and suffering and neglectful, stone walled, insensitively degrading responses of the people accountable for ensuring fundamental Human Rights of Food to these people as well.

The Vision Of FIAN UP

The Mission of FIAN UP

Mandate and Impact

The status of Right to food in the state

We are passing through very troubled times. Governance in the state is transitory (6 governments in a 10 years term of Uttar Pradesh Assembly) administration insensitive to such segment of our population and law / order gone completely haywire. Exploitation, injustice, enslavement, deprivation of fundamental human rights of food has reached its zenith. The chasm between 'haves' and 'haves not ' is broadening-neo riches are obtaining riches; opulence and poor are getting further poor. We boast Food self sufficiency and enough of food grains in our coffers but 60% women and children of our country are malnourished and 50% of them dangerously suffering the pangs of severe and acute malnutrition. Uprooted from the homes and hearth in rural areas by confiscation of their cultivable residential land by expanding urban posh colonies have turned millions into penury, squatter population, slum dwellers and inhuman conditions. Women and children are at the worst receiving end.

In normal circumstances the common people of the country and U.P. and Uttaranchal is unaware about the fundamental rights/human rights and entitlements because of the higher rate of illiteracy, this reduce their potential access to the entitlements. Another segment of the public has been compelled to compromise with the situations as the gainful employment opportunities are shrinking in both organized and unorganized sectors. Because of the lack of awareness about the legal provisions and entitlements atrocities against them are increasing and their vulnerability is increasing.

Traditionally Uttar Pradesh is a agriculture based economy and agriculture and allied activities are the main source of livelihood for nearly 82% of the population and out of the total population belonging to farming community nearly 80% belongs to small marginal and land less farmers. Forest based tribal communities are migrating in the urban and suburban areas in search of gainful employment and most of them involved as contract worker in construction and allied activities and exploited by the employers or contractors. They are not in a position to exercise their normal citizens rights and they have almost no access to the minimum basic facilities and government welfare schemes & programs. There are several constitutional and legal provision and enactments by the Government for the protection of human rights to common citizens. Furthermore we are a democracy and our focus is social welfare and as per Indian Constitution people have the Supreme power. But in spite of these commitments and provisions human rights glaringly and ruthlessly pummelled. Infant and under 5 mortality including maternal mortality rates are abhorrently high in spite of billons of dollars of foreign aid loan grant has been squandered away and is still continuing. In spite of bumper crops 60% women and children are suffering the pangs of malnutrition and 50% of them suffer from that severe acute level from where death is a day away. Therefore, to address to this worst scenario, humiliating plight of marginalized people FIAN Uttar Pradesh has been on the vigil and contributed its bit in spite of the enormity of the problem and limitations of our organization.

The structure of FIAN UP

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FIAN UP at Work

FIAN-Uttar Pradesh completed its journey of 10 years in 2004 and in the era of one decade, it passed through by many struggle in the form of campaign, lobbying, public mobilization, training, workshops, fact finding mission, hotline, urgent action etc. Of course the key concern was the right to food of the deprived and most vulnerable people and community of the society. The main activities of FIAN Up in 2004 are as follows:

1. International water fact-finding

This mission visited India 9-13 January 2004. FIAN International carried out this programme and hosted by FIAN Uttar Pradesh, which has the main objectives enumerated as to focus on the right to water and its relevance to the right to food, to raise awareness, disseminate information, better understanding of ongoing work of the water campaign and initiate multi level lobbying within UN Human Rights System and release the report during World Social Forum 2004 in Mumbai. FIAN U.P. organized the visit of Delhi, U.P and Uttaranchal. Started from Delhi (Sonia Vihar) Muradnagar in Ghaziabad District of U.P. Roorkee in Uttaranchal and Upper Ganga Canal (Haridwar in Uttaranchal). All over India the water is getting scarce due to over exploitation by soft drink bottling plants, industries, irrigating crops which need more water domestic use and waste in supply. In equity and gender issues are also linked with water.
The main findings of this mission were-

  • Muradnagar feeder canal remains dry since last 20 years and villagers are handicapped in irrigating their crops. From Muradnagar concrete pipeline is being laid to pump Tehri dam water to Delhi depriving millions of cultivators' irrigation facilities.
  • Upper Ganga canal in Haridwar, Uttaranchal was found highly eutrophicated. Another village i.e. Mukarabpur in the state was rural area village with scanty water supply causing additional workload on women.
  • Another place called Prian Kalhier in Rourkee Dalit village was the worst suffer of water shortage.

The mission gave the main recommendation and some major ones were as enumerated below-

  • Identify most vulnerable groups suffering from water shortage, inequity, and gender implications concerning their right to water.
  • Guarantee programmes to make safe, equitable and regular supply of water to everyone.
  • Improve sanitation
  • Ensure accessibility to water information
  • Assess and review impact of projects.

Examine national water policy 2002 and add the concept of water as a human right, evolve and enforce better water management plan of action examine privatisation of water and involve affected communities.

2.World Social Forum

FIAN-UP participated in World Social Forum meet organised in Mumbai from January 17, 2004 to January 19, 2004. Vijay Veer Singh, Balbir Singh Tomar,Sanjay K Rai,Uadi Pratap Kanchuki with other delegates represented FIAN-U.P. Mr. Hans Peter from FIAN Norway also attended our bilateral meeting of both sections. The participants assertively advocated for right to food at the forum while cautioning the people to look the world with humanitarian eyes instead of market eyes. The three-member team actively participated in all the sessions to spread their ideology and to exchange views to further the organisational mission.

3. Women Rights Day

On the eve of International Women Rights Day a meeting was organised on March 8, 2004, at DB House, Indira Nagar, Lucknow. The efforts of Lakhpret Singh from FIAN-UP were behind the success of the event. The middlemen and the employers dedicated the day to Lucknow's women Chikan workers who are badly exploited. The participants numbered 55. On this occasion, Awatar Singh Bahar, advocate, and Azra Khan addressed the meeting. Azra Khan gave details of the difficulties, miseries and problems faced by the women Chikan workers, a majority of whom are poor Muslim women. Leaving behind the children uncared, the Chikan workers have to attend the duty for whole of the day and that too on such meagre wages, which is unable to arrange two squares of meal for the family, what to say of nutrition, treatment and education. While addressing the audience, Awatar Singh Bahar emphasised on the legal aspects of the problem. He said the government itself did not implement the government rules. The employers and the middlemen openly violated the rules relating to minimum wages to the Chikan workers. Sanitary and health facilities prescribed by the law were grossly neglected and a result Chikan workers suffered from bouts of ailments from time to time. He vehemently condemned the role of middlemen who sublet the work to squeeze every drop of blood of Chikan workers to maximise their profit.

4. Minimum wages to brick-kiln workers

A delegation from FIAN-UP consisting of Sanjay K Rai and Bipin Bihari, advocate, met a few members of National Human Rights Commission and members of Parliament in New Delhi to apprise them of the plight of brick-kiln workers in Uttar Pradesh. The two day visit on April 21 and 22, 2004, was aimed at securing guaranteed payment of minimum wages to these workers. Usually, most of brick-kiln workers are migrants from the states of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Bihar. Without local roots, they become open to all types of exploitation and oppression by middlemen, contractors, sub-contractors and brick-kiln owners, while the police and administration have an apathetic attitude towards them.

The middlemen fetch the workers from these states on the condition of attractive wages and facilities. But once they reach here, they are cheated. Minimum Wages Act has no meaning in the absence of implementing machinery and the labour department and local police remain apathetic. The brick-kiln owners or their henchmen indulge in unlawful activities like forceful confinement, rapes, beatings, threatening, etc. Through its efforts, the delegation succeeded in getting an assurance from NHRC members and MPs that the brick-kiln workers would be properly paid minimum wages. FIAN-UP feels that even if that is done, the workers life of the workers would be eased a little.

5. Land Litigation

Vijayveer Singh visited New Delhi on May 12 and 18, 2004, to meet the Supreme Court advocate dealing the case of land conflict in Udham Singh Nagar district of Uttaranchal state. The purpose of the visit was to make consultation with the advocate on filing an affidavit in the case and to discuss the details of further steps to be taken. It may be recalled that 150 landless and poor families of an Ambedkar village in this district were allotted land by the government but that was grabbed by the strongmen of the area and the local administration failed to execute court's judgements due to their pressure.

6. Land Rights to Women

On May 14, 2004, several NGOs met in New Delhi to deliberate on human rights and land rights to women. Azra Khan represented FIAN-UP in the meeting. She put the stand that the Indian legal system, religious system, Hindu Code Bill, Muslim Personal Law, etc., did not favour women as far as land rights to them were concerned. She noted that land rights were backbone of human rights in India as a majority of the people depended on agriculture for their livelihood. The meeting unanimously favoured land rights to women and resolved to raise the matter at various levels.

7. Employment Guarantee

A large number of landless peasants, agricultural workers, tribal, migrant labours, ruined weavers, etc., are facing hunger and starvation on account of unemployment. Infusion of new technology in rural areas and adverse effects of liberalisation have compounded the problem of unemployment. In such a situation, the enactment of Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme brought a ray of hope for these unfortunate people. Sanjay K Rai from FIAN-UP hastened to New Delhi on June 4, 2004, to meet the Rural Development Minister to convince him about the urgency of implementing the scheme in the areas we work as these areas were highly undeveloped. Rai got a positive response from the minister.

8. Collection of First Hand Data (Land Problem in Uttaranchal)

A S Bahar and R K Rai visited Uttaranchal June 10 and 11, 2004 to gather first hand information regarding landlessness, eviction and related matters. They visited several villages of Udham Singh Nagar district, met and discussed with the villagers in person or in groups about the situation and problems created by landlessness and eviction. Since several farming companies and powerful big farmers mark this area, the landless labours and evicted people have to face suppression from them. This visit generated some information to enable FIAN-UP to initiate remedial action.

9. Meeting on Right to Food

Under Right to Food Campaign, a meeting was organised in Bhopal, the capital of Madhya Pradesh, from June 11 to 13, 2004, to create awareness about the programme and to expand the area of work. Several local NGOs took part in the meeting. Mr.A M Khan, representing FIAN, gave details of the implications of the Right to Food Campaign. Mr.Khan said that FIAN worked for human rights, particularly for the recognition of right to food as one of the basic human rights. FIAN vehemently opposed the view that the food might be made available to the people only on the exchange of money; availability of food was a natural human right and it was the duty of different actors to ensure the same. On the one hand, FIAN was struggling on this ideological point and on the other hand, it was stretching its arena by locating relations and interrelations of this right with other aspects of the problem. On such convictions, implementation of Minimum Wages Act, right on agricultural land, land rights to women, issuance of ration cards for the people below poverty line, etc., came on the agenda. He summed up that Right to Food Campaign should be visualised in this comprehensive manner.

10. Food for Work Programme

Worried over non-implementation of Food for Work Programme, a delegation, consisting of Mr.Prabhu Lal and advocates Avatar Singh Bahar and Bipin Bihari, from FIAN-UP, visited New Delhi from June 24 to 26, 2004, to discuss the matter with different government departments concerned.

The officials of departments related with the Food for Work Programme were apprised of the real position of its implementation in Uttar Pradesh. The delegation expressed its anxiety over the corruption culminating in scandals, half-hearted implementation of the programme and even non-implementation, apathy of officials and surrendering of funds allocated for various welfare schemes, etc. During discussions, the emphasis was laid on getting the programme implemented in the areas where it was required urgently and immediately and that the most backward regions where people were suffering most from natural and man made calamities were to be given the first preference.

11. Meeting of Villagers in Udham Singh Nagar (Uttaranchal)

In view of the complicated land rift in Udham Singh Nagar district of Uttaranchal state, the members from FIAN-UP, B S Tomar, and advocates Vijay Veer Singh and Bipin Bihari visited the area from July 5 to 7, 2004. The team made intensive tour of the area, gathering facts, obtaining support of the local people and mobilising the victims to stand firmly against the injustice. The members went from village to village-organising meetings and discussions and seeking opinions for further activities.

12. Meerut: Right on Water to Agricultural Workers

A meeting on right on water to agricultural workers was organised in Meerut by Janhit Foundation on July 25, 2004. U P Kanchuki and Rehana Begumfrom FIAN-UP participated in the meeting. They presented views of FIAN on the subject. They explained that water was an integral part of the food and, therefore, while striving for right to food right to water was automatically included in the programme. They expressed concern over various hurdles that the agricultural workers faced while exercising their right on water.

13. Ration Card to People Below Poverty Line

Ram Bachal and Prabha Srivastava organised a two-day workshop on July 31 and August 1, 2004, at Bahraich. The number of participants in the workshop was 30. The workshop was aimed at educating the people about their right to have below poverty line ration cards and ways of overcoming the problems and obstacles in obtaining them. The workshop was organised in view of the harassment of the people in getting BPL ration cards.

Mass Meeting on Land Rights

A mass meeting was organised on October 11 and 12, 2004, at Kundesari village in Kashipur development block of Udham Singh Nagar district of Uttaranchal. The number of participants in the meeting was 135. It was organised by Vijay Veer Singh on behalf of FIAN-UP.

The people in this area are suffering from various land problems since long. During the mass meeting the participants were made aware of various dimensions of land related problems, and how they could get these rights, necessary for their survival. At the end of the meeting the participants were full of vigour and resolved to get the problems solved.

World Food day

On the occasion of World Food Day, a three-day meeting was organised from October15 to 17, 2004, at Press Club, Lucknow. Vijay Veer Singh was the organiser of the function. Dr BD Sharma, former Commissioner Government of India, and Gian Singh, a prominent peasant leader, addressed the audience in the meeting.

Both the speakers apprised the audience with daunting problems faced by the people, particularly, by the Indian women peasants in the present day. While counting the problems of peasants for a long time, it was noted that interference of multinational companies in agriculture was a threat to peasants. While Sharma emphasised that this interference was a danger to the nation, Singh was anxious over the plight of peasants. The speakers were of opinion that the right to food could not be realised unless the peasant community was helped by the administration for its uplift. They were the sole producers of food; hence, they deserved support and assistance to preserve their dignity.

Mid-day Meal

Under the auspices of FIAN-UP a two-day workshop and a public meeting were organised on October 22 and 23, 2004, at Baranpur in Koraon development block in Allahabad district in connection with mid-day meal given to school children. The function was organised by our member, Udai Pratap Kanchki. The participants numbered 87. The meal served to children under mid-day meal scheme lacked the quality fixed by the government and poor quality meal was being provided to the children. The meeting viewed it as the violation of right to food to the people. The participants elaborately discussed the measures to control the quality of the food. The meeting decided to meet authorities and local people to solve the problem.

Fact Finding Mission by FIAN Norway and Uttar Pradesh

A Fact Finding Mission (FFM) jointly organized by FIAN Norway and U.P. from Nov.01 to Nov.11, 2004 for Uttar Pradesh and Uttaranchal comprising the participants from India, Nepal, Germany and Norway. (See the FFM Report 2004).

Seeking Help for Landless Dalit Families

In view of the deteriorating condition of the landless dalit families whose land has been grabbed by the powerful persons, it was necessary to initiate a special programme. Prabhu Lal and Tej Singh Bhandari shouldered the task. They made an intensive tour of the area in Udham Singh Nagar on November 5 and 6, 2004, and met administrative authorities, political leaders, advocates, teachers, etc., and requested them to help the victims at their level. They got favourable response from the people they met. On the completion of the tour, the situation has changed slightly for better and noticeable achievement may be expected in the long run.

Updating Information

Bipin Bihari, advocate, Vijay Veer Singh and Udai pratap Kanchuki intensively toured Sonebhadra, Allahabad and Bahraich districts in Uttar Pradesh and Udham Singh Nagar district in Uttaranchal from December 5 to 20, 2004, to collect up-to-date information regarding Right to Food Campaign.

In the land dispute case in Udham Singh Nagar, the Hon'ble Supreme Court gave judgement in favour of the poor villagers. A charged atmosphere has been built in the area. Similar cohorts of landless and poor people were organising themselves to fight for their rights and entitlements. Out of total 150 families, 50 are extremely poor and they need additional support.

In Allahabad, where FIAN-UP workers were striving since a long time for the regularisation of mid-day meal to school children centralising on primary school of village Khiri in Koraon Block, the mid-day meal has been included in the political agenda. However, for success continued interventions are required at various levels.

Since a long time, FIAN-UP is making efforts for implementation of a rehabilitation policy for victims of land erosion at Raja Boundi village in Mahsi development block in Bahraich district. The means of rehabilitation suggested included issuance of land, support for cultivation, compensation and benefits of public distribution system to the victims. Now old age pension has been sanctioned to 25 persons and ration card have been issued to 450 families declared eligible under BPL to enable them to get ration at subsidised rates. Among many families whose cultivable land was swept away by Ghaghra River, 15 have found substitute land nearby. Still, it was felt necessary to have a thorough understanding of the plight and problems of victims. It was also being felt that a PIL needed to file in the High Court and the Supreme Court and public hearings needed to be organised to mount pressure on the authorities concerned.

In Sonebhadra it was found that Hindalco factory at Renukoot, was extracting fresh ground water by deep bore wells and releasing contaminated and poisonous water outside the factory. Due to this, over 2,000 people of five villages have been deprived from their water rights.

In addition to this, visit was also made to Lucknow regarding enforcement of the payment of minimum wages to Chikan workers in old city and slums areas. Our efforts resulted in inclusion of Chikan work in the Minimum Wages Bill for unorganised sector introduced by the last Central Government. A sense of courage, confidence and self-reliance has been built up in workers who are mostly women and hail from poor Muslim families.

Food Security

A meeting on food security was held in Varanasi on December 30 and 31, 2004. Keeping in mind the importance of the meeting it was attended by Sanjay K Rai, Bipin Bihari, advocate, Prem Nath Gupta, Jawahar Singh Yadav and Dr Raj Kumar.
All now knows the plight of starving weavers of Varanasi district. But the landless peasants, migrant workers and tribal, etc., in the district too have the same story. Recently, newspapers published many reports of hunger deaths. In view of this alarming situation, it was natural to create anxiety among us. Hence, under the right to food it became necessary to take steps for food security of these victims facing starvation. A serious discussion was carried to overcome the difficulties in way.
 

 
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