GBGB - Dadar 2
Duration: 00:53:29; Aspect Ratio: 1.778:1; Hue: 34.086; Saturation: 0.031; Lightness: 0.460; Volume: 0.384; Cuts per Minute: 2.543; Words per Minute: 122.328
Summary: On January 19th, 2009, the first Annual General Body Meeting (GBM) of Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan was held at Ambedkar Bhawan, Dadar. Slum-dwellers from more than 20 slums across Mumbai participated. Activists from cities like Delhi, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and Bijapur turned up to express their solidarity and support the struggle of Mumbai's slum-dwellers.
Speakers spoke about the rights of slum dwellers, the overall political situation in the country and the loot that has been unleashed by corporates and politicians in the name of development. Everyone underlined the need for a more decentralised and democratised decision-making process.
During the GBM, slum dwellers who were present elected their representatives who would work on issues related to housing, education, food security, land rights and other concerns. The election was on the basis of consensus and ended with a resolve to intensify the struggle to make Mumbai a more inclusive city.
Man with moustache: The Ahemadabad Municipal Corporation and the Gujarat government have made a plan to displace 40,000 families situated on the banks of the Sabarmati river under the name of Sabarmati River front. They want to build Chowpatty, Gardens, Theaters and buildings for the rich by demolishing the slums of the poor people on the banks of the Sabarmati river... in front of that they have gathered the leaders of both the sides of the banks and explained to them that if we want to save our settlement... save the resident of this river, then we will have to unite and go to these settlements... In 72 settlements we had meetings...
Ahmedabad slum demolitions
Sabarmati river beautification
Mumbai slum demolitions
Off screen: We didn't step back. People get scared of bulldozers but the slum residents of Ahemadabad got under the bulldozers and let them come, so they stopped it and ran away. After that we submitted a grief petition in Gujarat high court and the high court paid attention to us and gave a decision supporting us that till the people living on the banks of the river are rehabilitated they can't be displaced. Now their bulldozers have stopped and the political agents have started getting into slums and propagating under the name of religion or their party.
Off screen: But it's been 6 years that they cant break our unity... finally they don't know who the residents living on the banks of the Sabarmati are? and the effect of the river's water. You may know about it or must have heard about it. Ahemadabad... A rabbit was drinking water on the banks of the river and the cat tried to jump on it, so the rabbit attacked it... here there are 2 lac rabbits and we believe that if we are united no strength in the world can snatch our houses from us... and many a times the municipality commissioner and Director of the Sabarmati river front development fund had meetings with us and explained to us that please understand that the city is developing... it's becoming better, please support us.
Off screen: How is it getting better this way, we are being driven away from the city and the city's developing.What kind of development is this? We are not going to move from here, this city is ours... we Ahemadabadi's will not go away from this city and removing us from here do you want to show (?). Finally they bent down before our association and went to court on 17th June, 2008 they went to court and re-petitioned that we need to displace people from these settlements, we have to do these work and we are facing problems. But the High Court said that till they aren't rehabilitated they can't be removed.
Man with moustache: This is our means of livelihood, many people are selling vegetables, some have a business of old clothes, some are driving pedal rickshaws... driving any means of transport, women are working as domestic help or are farming. That is why we dont want to move from that settlement and we will not and the hard work that we have done for our struggle on that behalf I want to tell you to continue being one... forget your personal differences but don't break your unity and I assure you that no power in the world will remove you from your place.(Applause).
Man with moustache: Now before ending my speech like always i will recite a few lines after which I will leave... these lines speak all about our struggle and protest...
We crossed through the difficulties in life, even our leaders were surprised seeing us through. Yet we got through the crowd of our enemies laughing all the way.
Mukta: Now we will request Akrambhai from Bijapur who is an associate of the poor in the city... their worker to come here.
Bijapur slum amenities, Akrambhai
Akram: Bravo! associates... I am from Karnatak, Bijapur... when the first Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan of Mumbai had started I was present there and it was started by removing a valley from Sandhurst Road to Azad Maidan. Today this struggle has spread like the sea and the credit for the success of it goes to all of you and if you move ahead together and support Medha then god willing you will succeed next year. I am saying this because even we are fighting for the poor in Bijapur since the last 6 years, since the past 2 years our deputy commissioner wasn't bringing our slums in the legal area. So we made a policy and called Medha to Bijapur in March 2007.
Akram: When Medha came there and went with thousands of ladies to the DC's chamber... the DC was dumbstruck... I want to tell you those things... he told Medhaji I've seen you in the papers and on TV... I have heard your speech but I am shocked to see you in front of me because you are very great and you are a link of the country and I respect you. The work of the settlement that are stuck, I will finish them in a few days... I promise and within 3 months he declared 5 of our slums, this Sister Medha's strength.
Akram: So after narrating this small event I just want to request all of you'll that there will be many people who will try to divide but ignore them and support Sister(Medha) with unity and you will be successful.Bravo!
(Audience shouts slogans).
Mukta : Associates. Now I would like to call Mr Rajinder Ravi from Delhi who is a part of the People protest of the National Convention. He works with the people living on the footpath, the cycle riders, the rickshaw drivers and those displaced by the metro over there to come and speak a few words.
Rajinder Ravi: Associates! We salute the Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan. The point that I am going to put in front of you'll is that kind of a talk... you use it everyday but maybe we think less about it. Now when the Metro policy came to Mumbai at that time people started talking about it. You know about it and may have suffered because of it... please be quiet and listen to what is being said.If you ask amongst yourselves you wont be able to understand what is being said. the way...
Medha Patkar: We have to listen to our guests and understand them on the basis of which we have to plan our further plan of action and we have to wait for the association of election.
Transport and urban poor
Medha Patkar: Everybody present here has to listen to the points which are being spoken here and decide for the elections. We'll fight.Audience: We'll win.(twice)
Rajinder Ravi: Associates! displacement is going on in many places, firstly the slums are being demolished and people are driven away... secondly the small organisations are being shut down. The third kind of displacement which is happening and needs to be thought about that. If you have a house, a job but you don't have a right to walk on the road... there is no road to walk on, a car comes and strikes you on the road you are walking and you get injured or killed. So you will not be able to use the rights to walking... what is happening on the road...
Rajinder Ravi: The government is saying that the roads have reduced and they are getting jammed that is why they will remove the people living near the roads and widen the roads. For whom are they doing this? the roads are getting jammed... the road is not getting jammed by the men but by cars.You know that the number of cars is growing continuously...they have increased more then men. They tell men that you should have 2 kids but they till car company's to produce as per their wishes. We will give you space on the roads.(Applause). So on one hand there is a law for a living human whereas on the second hand for a non-living car there is a different law.
Rajinder Ravi: Let me tell you another thing, The WHO(World Health Organisation) has said that people need to have 15 litres of water in a day whereas a car requires 15 litres of water to be washed, one person doesn't have potable water it's being made private and for those who have cars use potable water each day ... so you think whether you want to support cars or oppose cars.(Applause). 10 or more people... at least 5 stay in one slum and 1 car takes the place of 3 slums, you might find this strange how this happens. One needs place on our home, one needs on the road and one where we work. So one person wont get a slum but the car owner will get 3 places and free... So there is a place for car... there is a road... a place to keep... there is water.
Rajinder Ravi: One doesn't get pure air but through the medium of cars the wind is getting polluted. Now the government is making excuses that there is no place to walk on the road... it's being jammed and so we are getting the metro .Now what happens because of the metro... I will tell you this briefly... like 25000 houses are being demolished to make the metro yard but let me tell you about my Delhi experience. There was a slum of 5000, it was demolished and the land was brought for Metro yard but the metro yard was made in a small place and flats for the rich are being made and the cost of the flats are Rs. 1.75 cr... the cost of one flat is Is 2 cr and they will be multi storey buildings .
Now you think the slum dwellers would stay here and earn their livelihood... there were schools nearby and women used to work in houses that was their livelihood but it was demolished and the metro yard was brought in and the land was given to builders.Second , there is Jamuna river there and on it's banks many poor used to stay there and it was said that they spread pollution in rivers and so it is necessary to remove them. The Supreme Court also said that they should be demolished because pollution is spread... when the land was emptied and now the land is given to Metro, Akshardham Mandir and big buildings are made under the name of commonwealth buildings and the flats in those building will cost Rs.. 1.50 crore to Rs.. 1.75crore
Rajinder Ravi: so you can think the excuse that they give under the name of transport... you have to be given facilities... we are taking responsibilities for public purpose it is betrayal, illusion. So the right to walk... like we say "Save the house, make a house "we will have to raise a cry "Save the roads, make the roads".Jai Hind Jai Bharat.
Mukta: Associates no we are short of time and we are moving forward with our talk. Now we have an associate, a fighting associate from Delhi who is fighting for the rights of farmers lands or lands of the slum dwellers since many years, Bhupendra Rawatji we would request him to put forward his points.
Slogan: Youth leaders have come and brought along new friendship.(Audience repeats).
Bhupendra: A big bravo to all the associates, especially female power and youth power. It feels good to sit and here because as Muktaji said about the time limits that cant be done.
Bhupendra: My friends... this is a nice thing which I want to tell you a few things about what happens and when we understand.The Indian government means.. in India, our country... a foreigner can only come when the government allows them too. The government passed a law in Lok Sabha for sales of foreign goods in India. On one side this law was passed and on the other side 168 business shut down in Delhi... it must have happened in Mumbai and other places as well.In Delhi and other states the industries which produced goods produced by the foreign companies was shut down under the name of pollution. So we have to think... that the government and the court are in accord?
Bhupendra: You wont believe when the 168 industries were on the verge of being shut down and we went there. We saw the union politicians of the political party were there and we knocked the gate that Brother it will be a problem then they would roll up their sleeves and say 'we will ignite water '. We said when the industry will shut down we will give you petrol and matchsticks but there wont be any fire... what happened I will tell you...(Applause)... Dont clap listen to me... The industries Iam talking about used to receive more salary then bank officers and when these industries shut down their families begged in Delhi and raised their family.
Bhupendra: On one side you understood that the industries working for decades shut down. If we talk about the second government, the government made a law that multi-national companies, big and foreign companies in india will sell salt, oil, woods and after sometime shrouds... such a law was passed. As the government was in the process of passing this law, the court made another that the small shops in Delhi should be sealed. Like the lacs of people... the poor people who sit amongst us know that poor people take borrow for 15 days, a month or two and they could borrow from the small shops and if their shops don't shut then nobody will buy in big malls.
Bhupendra: So, see the government made a law and the court made it's way. If we see this whole process ahead... if we see never ending examples we wont know what happened ahead. It's a good thing that we are here... we are lucky. We are present in Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan's yearly convention. The original point that I gave you these two examples for... what happens is that we keep struggle 2 steps ahead and 1 step behind that for 2 steps we think about fighting and till then some politician, what I had said the politicians of factories had done... some agents... some authorities comes and explains a new speech, language and explains a new subject and we go to one step behind.
Bhupendra: And what is the result? the result is that we become homeless.Like Sister Mukta said that we are fighting for the rehabilitation of poor in the city of Delhi. I would like to give an example of the laws we established.One law is that in Shakoor Slums in Delhi around Punjabi Bagh was ordered to be demolished.We had a program where I had to go Pradhan called me and said 'Rawatji you have to come the settlement is going to be demolished.' I said that it was erected 5-6 years back ... no it had come to be demolished... you wont believe when I came back what happened! Pradhanji called me 3km before the colony and said 25 houses are being broken to make a park.
Bhupendra: A house is a house ultimately ! it's such a weird condition why should even 25 houses be broken down. There is more land over there if needed they will sit there... till they don't get a house. One... we fought for a long time in Delhi and they are called Illegal colonies because sister Medha was in Pune... we in Delhi ... in 11 colonies which housed at least 2.5 lac people or more because it's a big people and they have big houses... 2-3 storey houses. There was an order to demolish those houses, we decided not to save one colony... it was separate because every day the party people wont break the law. We said call the politicians... they reached there and were driven away.
Bhupendra: We called Medhabhen and told her that she has to come to Delhi... according to me, Dr Rajendra Raviji and Medha Patkar are our two associates who are here were present there. At least 3000-4000 police force was there. There was water pressure cars and bull dozer's were waste because even there the government people were united. I want to say this friends... our condition of struggle... in life not only for humans but for any living organism, water is extremely important isn't it?... water is necessary isn't it? but if we stop water, if we keep it in a vessel in a place and stop moving it around wont the water rot? Wont it rot? Similarly in India the hard-working farmer of india... when water... as I said before stops... it rots then Mandala is made.
Bhupendra: Then Ambujwadi is made and when the water moves the (?) in the water stops... in a similar fashion in protests... it's a law of nature... your Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan... if you don't keep moving it every day it will rot and for which it's necessary that this should move ... everywhere on the lands of Mumbai... wherever... it's not about (Applause) clapping and that which is rotten should be thrown off and we taunt that the government is useless... Bureaucracy is useless and they should look deep within themselves... that we keep on struggling for our house, our ration card, our rights even if we go for a job, come from a job or stay at home.
Bhupendra: Now a big subject which is important and we should think about. Many protests need a long time to be built up but fall very fast... why? because we are associates of the protest... all the pedestrians... you have election's... I want to say that ... even we have certain helplessness due to which we can't come but many of our associates Medha Patkar and Mukta... ladies are leading us... it could be the non habited legal case or the 25000 families that will be destroyed to make the metro yard. There is only oner way to save these people and that is... those who have lost their houses, people of Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan... if the government doesn't accept the challenge it could be the 25000 houses which have been made... all of them will be with Medhatai's Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan and make Sathe Nagar's houses and show.
Bhupendra: And those houses which are standing to save them... like I said about water... you have to be united and the people who make the house and those who save the house are united and no power can stop from making houses and can't stop from saving the houses..Jai Bharat. Jai Jawan. Jai Kisaan.
Mukta: Associates, now from Hyderabad...
Off screen: Bravo! Associates I come from Hyderabad... Hyderabad is a mega city like Mumbai... Mumbai, Kolkata, Delhi there is no difference... everything is one... when we say mega city it means... what it means in front of the government... mega city means a city where companies come and settle down... IT...
Off screen: Industrial Technology increases and business... real estate business grows but on whose expense is this working... the roads need to be made to travel faster... what is done prior to making the roads... poor people... our Labour class brother and sisters are driven away. The same thing happening in Mumbai, happens in Hyderabad as well... There is a Musi river in Hyderabad, on the banks of this river there are more then a 100 slums and more then 40 slums are notified. There has been a slum declaration... now there is a lot of traffic in Hyderabad and for the smooth flow of traffic they are demolishing all the slums... the government wants to demolish it.
Off screen: We have been fighting for the last 10 years and even a single house hasn't been demolished yet. This story... which is happening in Mumbai, is happening in Hyderabad... so where will we poor people stay... in which city will they stay... the poor and the labour classes should be united and fight... because when we start fighting they will try to divide... like they will give some money and ask us to leave so that their work will be done easily... there are many people to say that and the work gets done faster by dividing them on the basis of religion and caste.. the government thinks this way and sends their officers.
Off screen: Their leaders are brought and we have to keep all this in mind and stay united. Wherever we may be we will take our rights and keep fighting for it. Be it Hyderabad, Mumbai or wherever we will fight together... this will be our slogan.Raise a cry.(twice). We'll fight(Twice). (Audience repeats slogans). Thank you.
Mukta: The associates standing behind are requested to sit on their places. Now all of you'll know our associate Shakeel Vakilji who has been helping us legally...
Shakeel: I will take some more time... the condition today is similar to the condition 5 years back. Today... last week... seven days back in front of my house a big latrine is built within a month and after that many people from my slum... the areas MLA who hasn't done anything for the last 5 years, calls a big meeting and people from our slums welcome him... the latrine is built after 5 years before that people would defecate in the open. Along with that 2 days back Shabana called me and said that some people from Congress have come and are saying that if you pay Rs. 4000 you will get a tap in your house.
Shakeel: The taps would be installed from the fund of Gaikwad... suddenly... we could never get water in the house and suddenly they were initiating a talk about installing taps in every house when... till today we would dig and get dirty water. So this is it... secondly, there is a place next to us where there used to be darkness always and suddenly BEST's electricity poles were installed over there and not only that even the posters of the local politicians and how they got the poles installed... then there is a small lane next to us and Abu Azmi came to inaugurate it and it was named Shahid Abdul Hamid Road and there is a small road next to us where for the first time a bus came in.
Shakeel: So these are the conditions... I answered Shabana that these are just seasonal frogs and are jumping around... and 5 years back these were the same frogs who promised us that we will protect your houses and when they came to power they demolished 80,000 houses within 3 months. 3,00,000 of our people were rendered homeless, so these seasonal frogs are jumping around not only around my house but around all of your houses. They are going to come and jump around your houses... your lanes will be made, you may just start getting tap water and all this will happen because the elections are coming up.
Shakeel: The announcements of elections are happening within a month... support will be needed. So all the assurances that are to be made, are given. So our struggle that was initiated... the government cheated us... the government treated us unjustly it's a struggle for that and even today we have to see that the Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan... you will have to see... that our worker... when the election comes will we vote the same people and they come back to power. Will our public get the same people ?who will we get?who will we make our representative?
and I want to ask this hall, will they make their own candidate? who will raise our voice in Vidhan Sabha and can say that we will not allow to let this injustice happen.
Shakeel: (Applause). So the hall has to take this decision that... those who are struggling externally... and those struggling internally... our representatives residing in the slums will try to go inside... then will the hall help them ... will it become his strength or will just look and then say we had warned you not to sit and now you're down with a 1000- 2000 votes. So we have to decide this and it's important and you'll have to think about it... the Congress, Shive Sena, BJP or the elephant... we have to move ahead and start politics afresh. Thank you.
Mukta: Thank you, Shakeelbhai.
Mukta: Associates! Now amidst us we have a very important struggler and fighter from Delhi Arvind Kejariwal, I would like to talk a little about him...Mr Arvind Kejariwal is an ex-income tax officer and he was working there till he felt that I had come here to serve the people but what am I doing? and what's going on here? and when these thoughts came to him he decided that now I have to work remaining amidst the public and he resigned from the post and since then he has helped with the establishment of the Rights to Information Act which Simpreetji talks about.
He revealed a big scam by the Delhi water board which was around crores of rupees and has brought it to light and left the government speechless.
Nagar Raj Bill
Mukta: And because of this work he has been to different cities, villages for 15 days each to disseminate knowledge about the Right to Information Act, even I got an opportunity to go and see it in some places... and after seeing it in some place he got a very important award in the world which is called Magsaysay Award and the talk about democracy and the public system... how the people should have power? what is the right authority? What is the right public system? he will take these points forward... now he's working on Nagar Raj bill to increase the public system... Now I will call Arvind Kejariwal to say a few words.(Applause)
(Audience shouts slogans)
Arvind: Associates ! as said before I will put forth my point in 2 minutes.
Medha Patkar: Please take your own time.We want to take forward our convention no? then we have to quietly listen to our chief guest or he will just sit down quietly. After which our association can decide a future course of action... so everybody will hear peacefully.Raise a cry! we are one.(Twice).(Audience).
Arvind: When I came in the hall for the first time with Medhatai... I had goosebumps seeing the enthusiasm of people and after seeing the enthusiasm, strength and unity in all of you'll, I am convinced that we are not far from reaching our goals.
Arvind: Initially, a sister said that today the city is going to move but today it has moved. Today the Vidhan Sabha of Maharashtra has moved because people from so many slums have become united and come over here and I'm totally convince that we will attain our goals. Now we heard from many people about how the poor are being driven away and it's not only in Mumbai, our brother from Ahemadabad told us how they were driven away, I stay in Delhi and over there as well we see how people are being driven away. I wont say anything on that but what is the remedy to this? What should we do together?
Arvind: We have seen that today...some or the other slum is established everyday. Every slum fights for their land and livelihood individually...but what is the remedy which is at the root of every fight... if we don't use this remedy then such a day is not far when each slum will be demolished from the city and it's not only about the cities. Even in villages the farmers are being driven away...the rich persons have their eyes on all this land... the prices of lands have increased... they all are going to be driven away and their lands are going to be taken away. So till we don't try to understand the type of struggle we have to face...we will keep fighting individually and those powers are so strong that we will not be able to fight with them effectively.
Arvind: I...to know what should be done I will give two examples... we criticise America for various reasons... there are many thing wrong in America but one thing is nice over there which we should implement in our country. That is... over there in any city they have such a strongly democratic system that if any municipality or the local government has to do anything they can't do that without the wish of the citizens. Even before doing anything there, they have a meeting with the residents of the city in the town hall and the residents go to the townhall and decide whether it should be done or not.
Arvind: I had gone to America last year and in one city, the same project, the Metro project was to be introduced and many people were going to lose their lands. So the government placed a proposal before the people asking them whether the metro should be installed or not. The people gathered in the town hall and said that if the Metro comes in our lands will be taken away...we don't want the metro and the metro wasn't installed. So if there is a law in America that before doing any project or work the public is asked, so then why is it not there in our country...that before doing anything the people should be asked.
Arvind: A second example I will give. Our vendor brothers put forward their complaints over here.. different types of malls are coming up, because of these malls, many of them are now unemployed and this is becoming dangerous. So, there is a company called WalMart, it's an American company. This Wal-Mart wanted to enter India, many people think that if it comes here there will be a lot of unemployment because the small grocery shops will shut down, small vendors who operate from handcarts, vegetable shops will shut down because this company is wicked...when it enters a market it slashes the prices drastically, and when the shops shut down then they raise their prices. Now that this company wants to come to India, many people are opposing it - they are saying that WalMart shouldn't come to India.
Arvind: When the same company wanted to enter America...it's an American company but it in one state of America...the state of Oregon...they wanted to open in Oregon but the people decided in Oregon that unemployment will escalate, that is why we don't want that Wal Mart should come here and it didn't open there. They couldn't open it there. So if a an American company couldn't open a branch in America but when Wal Mart wants to come to India...we... the public isn't asked... who takes the decision - Prime Minister and Kamal Nath, these 2 people take the decision about Wal-Mart coming to India. They are under pressure from various sources - some say they took money, were under pressure - no one knows why this happened.
Arvind: But when unemployment will spread in India, they will not lose anything. Even we want a law where before making any law or taking a decision the government should ask us. We have seen the BJP, BSP, Congress...we have voted for all parties and seen. Every party says something before coming to power and something else after coming to power it fulfils its own wishes and forgets the public. That is why one brother said now we don't trust anybody, we just trust ourselves. We want power and the government should ask us before making a decision .
Arvind : So we all drafted a law together. We discussed this law with Medhatai Anna Hazare saheb, Behl saheb who has been the chief secretary of Madhya Pradesh and many associates from U.P. and that law says that in every city, small neighbourhoods will be made...the common citizens of those neighbourhoods (mohallas) together will be called "Mohalla Assembly" and any government can't do anything in that area without consulting the mohalla assembly and they can't take their lands...can't take their livelihood. So before undertaking any projects in those areas they should ask the "Neighbourhood Assembly" and the Neighbourhood Assembly will be the neighbourhood government... state government and central government wont be there...the neighbourhood assembly will run the government and the neighbourhood assembly means the residents of the area.
Arvind: How many of you pay taxes? Please raise your hands and indicate which of you pays taxes... everybody pays taxes... even the poorest person in this country pays taxes, because even when a poor person, a beggar, buys soap from the shop... if the soap costs Rs. 5 the soap will cost only Rs 4.50 and 50 paise will be taxes. Everything requires taxes - even matchboxes are taxed, salt has taxes, soap has taxes, pencil...everything has taxes... so even a beggar pays taxes...so when you say we are asking our rights from the government and not begging...this means that we pay taxes to the government and the government works on the same tax and we aren't begging from them but asking them for our money which we are paying everyday in the form of tax.(Applause).
Arvind: On whose money do the cars of the Collector, Chief Minister and government officials cars work ? Your money, not on rich people's money and if you think...I have worked with Income Tax, in income tax, till the year 2000 Tata, Ambani didn't pay a penny for tax...you give tax. Tata, Ambani, Birla don't pay tax because such clauses are added to the law, using which they became tax- free companies. So you give tax, the Chief Minister's car and bungalow and office work on that... so when you go to the Chief Minister...whose money is this? It's your money, my money and not the Chief Minister's. So the Chief Minister is our servant, all the government officers are our servants but if you go to the Chief Minister's Office will he let you in?
Arvind: No he doesn't... what is this? The owner has to take an appointment to meet his servant and he doesn't give an appointment. The servant treats the owner roughly...so in this law...which we all are trying to make together, in this law it says that Neighbourhood Assembly when the people of the area will decide that we have work with this officer... the officer will be summoned and come there to the neighbourhood assembly meeting, we will not go to his office. Second point, if an official doesn't work properly for our area... then we should have the right to cut his salary and charge him a penalty. This is a not a new thing, in Madhya Pradesh in the year 2002, the Panchayati Raj law was amended and the Madhya Pradesh village assembly (gram sabha) has been given this power....
Arvind: Like we are speaking about neighbourhood assembly, there is a village assembly, all the people in the village decide this and they have been given the power that any authority in the village...the village assembly over there can stop the authority's salary. I've been to many villages where the teachers don't come to school and the village assembly stopped their salary... they stopped their salary for two months and the teacher started coming. First the anganwadi worker wasn't coming to work... his pay was stopped for two months and he started coming. So if people in the villages of Madhya Pradesh can get this power then why can't the people living in the city? That if we decide the officer's salary should be cut, it should be done.
Arvind: This will be a true public system. If your ration shop doesn't give you ration then what do you do? You go and complain to the food and supply officer, assistant commissioner, deputy commissioner. What does he do? He tears up your complaint and throws it in the dustbin, if your association is strong you raise a hue and cry and stage a dharna. But as per this law, if we don't get ration properly from a shop, we can hold a neighbourhood assembly and revoke his license . The assistant commissioner won't revoke his license, we will...the public will decide who will be the new ration shop and who should receive ration. Nobody in that area...in that neighbourhood should remain hungry. Nobody remains without clothes. Nobody is homeless.
Arvind: Every neighbourhood should have the right to make such arrangements. For which the government should give money...for a neighbourhood assembly in every area...for those who don't have to eat, who don't have clothes, who don't have medical facilities... the neighbourhood assembly can help such people. So we want... like the vendors' representative said, "The government at the top... the State government...Central government...Supreme court passes a law that vendors should be taken off the streets. Even I stay in a middle-class colony in Ghaziabad, we need vendors each day...they come to our doorstep and we buy vegetables from them but somebody sitting in the Central government...State government passed a law saying - remove them.
Arvind: Now what should we do? Even we want vendors, how do we get them? So the local people should have a right that we want street vendors ,so they will come. No official or minister should have the right to make a law for the whole state.
So I just want to say that we will have to understand this fight, if we keep on fighting for our individual areas then they will demolish slums one-by-one, they will snatch all the land. We want to fight together and want a law through which the public would run the country and not the government's representatives and we have to spread this struggle throughout the country. Thank you.
Mukta: Wonderful. So, associates... the one who earns will eat.(Audience repeats). This is not fair please raise your hand, everybody should raise their hand. The one who earns will eat.(Audience repeats twice). the thieves will run away.(Audience repeats twice). A new time will come.(Audience repeats twice) and who will get the new time
Audience: We will.
Mukta: Through the Nagar Raj Bill.(Applause).
Simpreet Singh: Brothers and sisters, today we will learn a new slogan which we have been using from time to time.It goes like "here carefully oh! authorities, we will rule our own settlements."(Twice).(Audience repeats twice).
Simpreet Singh: "Here carefully oh! authorities, we will rule our own settlements."(Twice).(Applause).
Mukta: Associates! the important process for which we have gathered here... talking about the framework of our association... to rework... the members of the committee are going to read their vows and for which we would like to call the queen of our hearts Medhatai and would like to ask her to take this forward.
(Audience shouts slogans).
Man in green kurta : Raise a cry .(twice)
Audience: We are one.(twice)
Man in green kurta: We'll fight.(twice)
Audience: We'll win.(twice)
Man in green kurta: We have just started now and a struggle is on it's way.
Audience: Female power has come in and brought about a new light.
Medha Patkar: I would people coming from far away slums and settlements from Malad, Kandivali, from the banks of the Mithi river, from Netaji Nagar in Ghatkopar, Sathe Nagar or Mandalay, from Ambujwadi to Mandalay... one or the other government...