GBGB: Medha Patkar speech against Mumbai Metrorail
Duration: 00:42:47; Aspect Ratio: 1.778:1; Hue: 65.201; Saturation: 0.109; Lightness: 0.392; Volume: 0.398; Cuts per Minute: 24.702; Words per Minute: 125.776
Summary: At this protest meeting in Laljipada, Kandivali, Medha Patkar, of the Ghar Banao Ghar Bachao Andoloan, spoke against the proposed construction of the Metro Rail on the Charkop-Mankhurd corridor. This proposed metro line is expected to displace 20,000 families in its wake.
Medha Patkar: They are of Ambujwadi... the brothers and sisters who are present. And all the reporters and editors of the newspapers of Mumbai who are present on the stage... and others who I still don't know completely... all the friends of different organizations and groups... volunteers and leaders... and Mr. Omprakash Tewari, Mr. Jaishankar Tewari, Mr. Shivpoojan Yadvav and his colleagues... Simpreet Singh and Mr. Siddarth... who are our volunteers and because of whom I have come here... my cheers to all of you on behalf of all the people of the movement.
Medha Patkar: Friends, as now Mr. Yadav and Mr. Rajesh Sawant have said, and about which Mr. Abhijeet Rane and as we have read in the columns of various newspapers of Mumbai, you all are witness to the fact that a strategy to drive a bulldozer here, tomorrow and not today, is being planned. And it is very much right that every settlement in Mumbai is being haunted by markets and not even danger. It is not a sword, a gun, or a bomb. But there is definitely an attack and that too under the pretext of development. And here this buzzling settlement, of each area over here, which has been there for so many years, where there is no caste, creed or religion, 40 years... there may be people of a younger age also... people accept each other by forming bonds on the basis of humanity... and the settlement develops. Have you attempted theft and made your palaces, houses, rooms which are also like temples and mosques? Have you made those houses and temples of yours by looting and thieveing? With their sweat and blood, all those who have taken the support of Mumbai city, those who have been born in Mumbai like Raj Thackery's family or if they have come from Indore, but all those who have come here have contributed their efforts to Mumbai. They have toiled a lot.
Medha Patkar: Not only the buildings and sky scrapers of Mumbai, but also the highway and flyovers, in maing everything, cleaning everything, making everything work-all of you have contributed in it. I salute you all. And in this way these settlements, which have become stronger, it is your property. It is a stronghold which will support your children for decades. And running a bulldozer over it, it should not be demolished, as though you reinstall a God's statue. How far is it necessary to murder these buzzling settlements? How far is it indespensible? Who is behind this? In which way and on what basis is this strategy? Is it on a sicentific basis or only on a financial and market basis? Tell us, Is it on a sicentific basis or only on a financial and market basis? (Slogan): 'It is not a property of the rich! Mumbai is ours!' Before saying this you need an answer. what is your opinion?
Medha Patkar: The administration and the policies being made here, are any of these on a scientific or developmental basis? (Slogan): 'Politics is a threat!' What do you think? You are not standing here as an audience right? You have come thoughtfully and you have gathered to think more deeply. So tell me, is this all happening on a scientific and developmental basis? Or is it based only on money and market? All those who feel that this is solely based on money and market, they may please raise their hands. Very right! And hence this thought, this slogan, this difficulty, if it is in your hearts too, then only can we fight back this strategy and we can give them a challenge.
Medha Patkar: You didn't ask which slogan. Before I could say it Smt. Surekha has done so. The slogan is, 'It is not a property of the rich! Mumbai is ours!' Do you agree that Mumbai is yours? Then shout the slogan. 'It is not the property of the rich! Mumbai is ours!' Some people are doubtful about it. That's why they can be seen a bit far and behind. They are thinking whether this can actually happen. Can the law actually adhere to this? Mumbai belongs to those who have settled here by hardwork and toil. Those, who don't loot anybody. Those who don't kill others to make their profit. Can Mumbai belong to such people? To workers, cleaners, household workers. In each settlement right from small trades, to the street vendors all those who include the poor people it belongs to all those. And it is of the construction workers. And over to all that it is of the people casting their votes rightly in politics.
Medha Patkar: It is of the ordinary citizens who don't sell their votes. And it is of the police and officers, thousands of whom stil stay in these settlements. Can Mumbai be of all these people, of ours? Can it be of the middle and lower middle class? Or is Mumbai only of builders or does it belong only to big companies? Does it belong to those who sell their conscience alongwith land? Each poor in Mumbai is asking for an answer to this question and he should ask for it. And the politics which asks for this question is of the true rule of people. It consists of ethics and it is not unehtical. It consists of the values of equality and justice. It is not unlawful. It is constitutional- where the basis of the society is communalism. It is not about waving flags and shouting slogans. It is the basis of that itelf. This is the politics of people's movements.
Medha Patkar: Friends, if you believe that the people should stand, with all their strength, in unity against what is happening, then this Metro yard is a challenge for you. And you should decide one thing in your mind right now, that there is no other way than giving back an answer and a slap right into the face of yourself and the government. And all our friends are there with you to give this answer who are coming in front of you with the clear reality of the Metro. Now a specialist from the IIT is also going to come here who might be standing now in this crowd also... don't know.. he is Mr. Sudhir Badami. Not only Mumbai but colleges and the biggest universities of Dehli teaching engineering, have not one but many scientists. There are specialists. Those who have studied transportation, who are selfless, those who are speaking on the basis of their studies, their knowledge and the support of the people that how should transportation ideally be and how it shouldn't be
Medha Patkar: Friends, all this time you have been told what the Metro actually is. I have said that Metro runs in a loss. The profit is only of the investors but in the case of the government, even today the Metro has not proved to be a developmental project. Metro means something that won't run unless we pay Rs. 6/- or more. It has been made for such people. Metro implies something wherein the government spends Rs. 185 crores per kilometer. Or it may be the investors. But here there will be an expernditure of Rs. 250 crores or more. This entire reality of the Metro is such a conculsion of the ethics of transport, barring which the government does not feel the need to keep some space for people who will walk. Public transport, like the strategy of the BEST which is going on in Mumbai is being appreciated in the whole country. And our simple railway which has been running since the British era.
Medha Patkar: But for them, or for the buses, for them corridors are being made. But the goevrnment does not think it is necessary for making roads for the people who travel by public transport to reach their destinations quickly and in less time. Because it is not the case of Metro but also of cars like Qualis and Nano. All the things that have come from foreign finance and foreign outlook, those things are being encouraged. And where has this come from? Was there any discussion in these settlements- in Sanjar Nagar, in Indra Nagar, in lalji compound? Were you ever asked that what kind of transport do you prefer? Tell me! Were you asked? (Audience: No!) Those who were not asked by any government worker or authority, from Mr. Ratnakar Gaikwad to a few authorities that, 'What is your opinion?' they may please raise their hands...those who were not asked. They were not asked. So is this democracy? That so many huge settlements will be demolished and they will be offered as a sacrifice in a fire named development.. whatever they want to make be it Metro or Metro Yard, they never asked about it. They never had any gathering, they never even called for a meeting.
Medha Patkar: And this is happening not only in the case of Metro but it is for each project coming up under the name of development. We say that we want to make new developments. The the first thing should be that not only in Mumbai, but in each settlemenet and each ward in the country as the constitution says, what does the constitution say? The constitution says in article 243 that it is the right of each ward, and not only of the corporators that they can bring the residents of the whole ward together and they can make their own strategy. It is the right of each village to make their own strategy. And when the strategies of all these wards will be amalgamated, then the plan and map of the zilla can be made or else, it cannot be made.
Medha Patkar: But the Metro is such an example, that the plans of development are being made against the society. There is no need to prove it anywhere else. Not only Metro but projects like MUTP (Mumbai Urban Transport Project), Mumbai Murban Infrastructure Project... the names are also in English. If Raj Thackerey creates a problem with this then it will be a big thing. All these projects that are coming up one by one, from where are they coming my friends? Taking money from the World Bank, the authorities of World Bank are made to sit in the MMRDA offices of Mumbai, of the government and not only there but also in the halls of Vidhan Sabha and there they sit behind and decide the management of Maharashtra and the country and not only politics.
Medha Patkar: And moneylenders like the World bank... Asia Development Bank is the biggest of all banks... the banks of the world are falling down now. But these two haven't fallen till now. And so even today they are lending money and they are creating the dream of making Mumbai into Shanghai. They don't know what it in Shanghai. We know more than them. If the people of Shanghai ever make the mayor and the ward officer to come down on their knees.. there are such cases too in Shanghai. They may not even know that Shanghai is the name of a very big city somwhere. But what is the need for that? Our country, the nature of our country, its land, there are rivers, there are forests, and the biggest richness we have is of hardwork which is still retained in our hands and legs. And our minds and hearts and our dream- which is of making this independent India one of equality and justice for all.
Medha Patkar: All this can happen in Mumbai also. Because the population in Mumbai is increasing, hence the vehicles are increasing. Then, this is not right. Because the vehicles are increasing hence under the name of infrastructure highways and flyovers are increasing. This is true. Because the vehicles that are incresing.. the kind of cars that are increasing in number, it is basically for a handful few. Each person has three cars and each car has three places. There is private place for parking it in front of the house. There is a place for parking it in front of the office. And when it runs on the road, that time also the place is booked. A car can't hang and go the way people hang in trains and travel.
Medha Patkar: So by restricting so much place these roads and highways and flyovers are gulping down Mumbai like a snake. They are surrounding it and yet they are falling short! Because the way public transport can be will be told by our specialist friends. Be it Mr. Jaipal Reddy in front of ministers in Delhi, or be it Mr. Ajit Matan.. we have hotly argued with them for four hours. And I remember for the first day in Delhi when the Sate Minister for Development, Mr. Matan when he had saved his place. We were sitting in his office with colleagues of organizations of ten states. And in front of us... Mr. Simpreet must be remembering... he had refused that Metro, and projects like highways and flyovers cannot cause a difference to today's situation.
Medha Patkar: 88% of people walk... they walk till some distance or the other. First of all place is needed for them, roads are needed for them to walk. Here, go to the Prime Ministers office or in Sonia Gandhi's office. Or else, go to Mantralaya in Maharashtra. Or somewhere else, in Navin Patnaik's or Madhya Pradesh's Shiraj Chauhan's or in Uttar Pradesh's Mayawati's... there is no difference. There is a road made for the cars to go inside. But there is no place for humans to walk. We have to walk like mice from the edges to go inside towards the ministers we ourselves have chosen. What kind of a joke is this? Who is this who is snatching our lands? This strategy of snatching away the lands is of the millionaires and builders of this country and Maharashtra and Mumbai. I don't know what is going on in these societies of yours. But be aware that co operation in the true sense meaning we have to create something by putting together people's unity and efforts.
Medha Patkar: Society means one closed organization. If those kind of societies make houses then we all are with you. And all those who have toiled hard for years and make their huts pukka and who have created each brick and put each brick, will this dream come true for them? Not houses of 7-8 floors where if there is a fire, there will be no one to save them. If one has to carry water then the kid carrying it up will die. But atleast there can be buildings which are 2-3 storeyed with some open space before them is possible to make. It is possibble for it to be constructed in the current state in Mumbai. It is possible to make it ourselves. Those who construct them are not residing in big palaces and big buildings anywhere. They are staying in settlements themselves.
Medha Patkar: Does any builder carry cement blocks on his head and construct a building? Then when there are labourers who construct the buildings who, after struggling for ages now have some law for them in Maharashtra, they can get pension, provident funds, they have the right to build their own house, they can get land for that too, but no... in return of that the poor who have built their own houses by taking loans, investing money, they worked hard.. there is a plan to demolish that! And that is named as Metro and Metro Yard. What is this? If you want to make the Metro, for which you have said that not much place is needed, some underground and some up here, but we don't need much place. And hence, the government now says, that we have accepted this in the form of development. But what are we all saying here? For making a yard of Metro they don't know that what place they should choose.
Medha Patkar: Such a famous scientists, such famous advisors, and big investors till World Bank and authorities and in that Mr. Ratnakar Gaikwad who had a scam in Jalgaon at one point of time... if they are involved in the planning of this project, and selected politicians who will knock a your door in a few months and ask for your votes... have all of them lost their minds? Don't they know even this much that here in this 50 hectares of area they should not go wrong. Not 50... 40 hectares... how many acres is one hectare? 2.5 acres. In this much of area... meaning 100-200 acres atleast... unless we reveal it till then it won't be open. But it is going to start definitely with 40-50 hectares. And for that they are naming it Charkop and starting from here. Because slowly if they have to go on till Charkop, then permission will be taken.
Medha Patkar: And in that area how many temples and how many mosques.. not only that.. they are already there.. they are the symbols of each one's culture and each one's religion. There is no debate about that. There is no argument. It is a beautiful relation of humanity. But apart from that each house, each temple... which is a temple somewhere, a mosque somewhere.. that kind of a house. Each shop is a means of one's daily living. And relationships of so many years. In demolishing all this the government has also spent crores of rupees. The people have spent a lot of their earnings. After so many years they have this plan of demolishing it. I will again ask this question what kind of science or what kind of development it is. And in our outlook this is neither science, neither is it planning, nor do we see any symbol of development in it.
Medha Patkar: So much of destruction! The way we have still stopped in Narmada. A dam or a lake which would displace 2- 4 lakh people and 30 such big dams. We have halted Sardar Sarovar. 2 lakh people have not moved. Those who have moved- 11 lakh familes have taken land in return for land. But because of other people and because of the movement they have been stopped. Then the destruction here! The way 75,000 huts were demolished in Mumbai.. the way MUTP was demolishing shops and moving ahead... World bank had to be fallen because of the movement my friends... the panel made at the time of Narmada had to come and answer World Bank here... And in my opinion taking this point of Metro yard there is no need to destroy, demolish whatever is here. Saying this, all of us will have to fulfill our duty of challenging them.
Medha Patkar: This is because my friends somewhere an airport which was newly made and then demolished... the new airport was being made even when the bills were not given. Mr. Abhijeet Rane can reveal that also. In each place in this manner the struggle that is going on, in which work of demolishing and rebuilding, rebuilding and demolishing is going on, in this, the politics of taking profits and commission of crores of rupees is going on. Actually this cannot be called politics. This is lootm theft and exploitation. This is devouring. There is no rule in this and there is no ethics. If rule is to happen in this country then according to the constitution there should be rule of the people. So first this kind of loot and theft has to stop. But they have masked this loot and theft as development. In which we see the picture of people begging and having their fill and then going.
Medha Patkar: 80,000 families were displaced just for an airport. 25,000 families were displaced during MUTP. 35,000 families were displaced in MUIP. No one knows how many lakhs of people are being displaced in Mumbai in a year or every 5 years. Before 10 years the number of people who were being displaced, 5 times that number is being displaced if we see in Delhi, Kanpur, be it in Lucknow or in Bhubaneshwar, if we see in Chennai or Madurai.. or if we see in Bhopal.. or in Mumbai which is supposed to be the king of all. So this is the financial capital of this country which is displacing the poor and pushing them in dirty sewers. And it is capturing each and every place. The worker's area in Worli is gone. The area of the mill's, the buildings of the mills in Parel, lalbaug is gone. They have linked Bandra and Kurla together. For what? In Dharavi also most of the people will be pushed in a corner and the remaining land that will be left will be captured.
Medha Patkar: Hence the settlements which have failed are standing again. They are being stranded so that there will be open spaces and so that the builders and politicians can openly loot it. Atleast think, the land which is there in your hands is also a piece of gold. And it is not for selling alone. Just as you keep gold and silver in your house thinking of your kids and the generations to come, in the same way, this piece of land is in your hands and the property you have constructed on it belongs to you. It definitely has to be developed. No one is against development. But development should be after your consent and only after your consent and never without your consent. You should point your fingers at the talk of democracy, the test of democracy, and the conclusion of democracy. And the matter of Metro Yard that is there- how many ever papers we see, of Hindi or of Marathi, they all speak the same language.
Medha Patkar: It means that there is no need of making the Metro Yard here. If there is the need of Metro, then we will have a stage for Metro here someday. And not only Mr. Ratnakar Gaikwad, but even our great friends will come here, transport experts will come, and we all will come with enough information. And we will have an open debate first. And if they don't come then their seats will be kept empty and they will be told that they don't have any information and that they are not truthful but only money minded. Do you agree? (Audience: Yes!). I hope Mr. Tewari and all may please have such a stage and we will come on it.
Medha Patkar: Second thing is that these people say that they have issued a notification. But how can there be a notification without a survey? First there should have been a survey. And before that there should have been a debate. If there is no debate, then there is no surbey and if there is no survey, then there is no notification. On what basis did they decide the notification? On what basis can they say how many families are being displaced? 14,000 or 25,000? There has been a quote by Mr. Ratnakar Gaikwad in English newspapers that 14,000 families have been displaced. The experts of World Bank had to come to Mumbai to give an answer. Then they said in their report that if there is one owner in one shop then there are atleast 3 workers. And their facilities also have to be thought of.
Medha Patkar: This was put as an entitlement in 1995 and 2000. The matter of dividing the settlements be it Dharavi or Sanjay Nagar- we do not agree to that. If 1999 and 2000 can give you any entitlement, then you will have to divide the millionaires too. There will be journalists who might have come after 1995. After 1995, lawyers have come, builders have come, politicians have come. The Chief Justice has also come. They have not been taken into account. We agree to people before 1995 being given houses by the government. If you have done a printing mistake of 2000 then you will have to give that too. Give those of 2004, 2005 later, we agree to that. If you give any house for free if you ask for it that way any poor person is not sitting idle. If the poor asked for it that way then the politics of this country would have changed and corruption would have been done away with!
Medha Patkar: And hence we ask only for this that those who are working here and those who are voting here both have the right to stay here, to live,they have the right to shelter and they should get it. Instead of housing they are demolishing the settlements. We do not agree to it. And hence the matter of Metro Yard is a part of that very struggle in which by displacing the poor the buildings of the rich were made, the shopping malls of the rich are standing here. I was looking at it while coming and this area which I have seen many times before is not being seen today. On one side there are families and settlements in the dark who have nto celebrated Diwali or Eid. And on the other hands there are various kinds of shopping malls in which the children of workers, policemen, labourers, cannot peep in and see.
Medha Patkar: This is such a big divide by which Mukesh Ambani has become a millionaire in the world, where does it come from? Earning of 40 lakhs in one minute! This is against the constitution, article 49 says that if there is any kind of employment has to happen then the capital in it should not be concentrated in the hands of a few. Employment should happen in such a way but here things are going on in an opposite manner. Farmers are committing suicide. Those dirtying their hands and working hard on thed fields also have to commit suicide. (?) don't have facilities in Malegaon. This is also a kind of terrorism going on in the country under the name of development. We cannot help but stop it.
Medha Patkar: And hence my friends, this Metro yard is a test. This Metro Yard is a challenge for all of you. Don't think that I will come here give a speech and go away as I have programmes in Solapur from tomorrow. But don't think that I will come and go and brother Simpreet hs come here by studying law deeply and getting a high degree in social services. He has become the boss of fake cases in Mumbai. Why? Because he has supported the poor in peaceful movements. Siddarth is fighting against the schemes of the builders in every place. And we all know that Mr. Hiranandani has been given land at the rate of 40 paise per acre. Each shopping mall has been consturcted by breaching the law. So all the people staying here don't only expect justice but humanitarian justice, Mr. Ratnakar Gaikwad.
Medha Patkar: I knew you till know. That you are a sensitive authority. And if you are still one now, then yesterday you must have seen that life resides here and not just houses, families, shops, and not just buildings. And to crush such a life is a kind of murder. So kindly please don't go ahead with it. And hence my friends, if there is a challenge from the State Development Ministry, if a notice of notification comes, then as we have decided after a discussion with Mr. Tewari and Mr. Yadav, there is no need of money. Mr. Tewari should also not ask for a dime from you. Nor should Mr. Yadav ask. If some small thing arises in a settlement, then an organizationa and a movement cannot work. There is an election in front of them! The challenge of an election is much more bigger. If that time too, the unity of the settlement is retained... language, region, clothes, rich and poor, some different people, brother, sister, and each one will have their own parties... but those who will leave these differences aside and get down in the battlefield of movement, if they are there then this movement will work. Or else it will break down.
Medha Patkar: It is your future and this is your settlement. And hence you yourselves have to protect it. We all will support you. We have supported Ambujwadi. But thr future of Ambujwadi lies in the hand of a woman. Not on the basis of a few male volunteers, never. And hence, even tomorrow, women should be in larger numbers if this movement has to work. One woman has come on the stage, second one has come, you all have come. This is very good. You all are ours now. The independent woman, the power of women, the clear outlook of women, and a democracy ridden of corruption- if this has to go ahead then we are with you. All of us, on the basis of information, study, law, constitution and on the basis of the power of the people, we will get rid of the Metro Yard. We will pursue the government to shift it to the open space which it has been talking about. We will throw the government on that ground by a rally if not a Rath Yatra, or a palanquin.
Medha Patkar: If there is some builder there, if there is a millionaire there, if there is some piece of land of some politician, then we will go and take an account of it there itself. I will say this much for now. Now the strategy of movements which has come before the country from Singoor and Nandigram and it has come from Narmada too. Whether it should be violent or non violent- that is also a very big point to be discussed. I believe that... I know every woman in Nandigram, I know ever village there. And also in Singoor. As all those people have walked the path of non violence.. names of fake Maoists were taken but they refused to follow the Maosists. Hence they have been winners my friends. And you too will win when you will not haul a single stone. But what will rise is a strength which will make even the government come down on its knees. And the Metro yard will definitely be pushed away. Cheers !
Medha Patkar: Now I will leave from here only after shouting two slogans. You can continue with this meeting. Give an introduction of an excellent organization. If you want our friends can also wait. I will walk my way and go away. I am not a minister, I am a volunteer. And ministers do not work. Hence you should not have an issue in making way for me. I will give shout just two slogans and go as I have to catch a train. 'We will fight! We will win!' (Twice). 'We have just started now. We have a full fledged battle ahead!' (Twice). All those who are taking part in the battle ahead should raise their hands. There is no need of those who are not participating to raise their hands. We have not come for voting here. 'We have just started now. here is a full fledged battle ahead!' (Twice).
Medha Patkar: So that will be the battle ahead. If the government dares to give out a notice of the notification, then each person-every man, woman, shopkeeper and labourer- each one will take a request letter of their grievances and will reach Mantralaya. Are you ready? So, 'We will fight! We will win!'
Offscreen: Thanks a lot Smt. Medha Patkar.
Offscreen: Please make way for Smt. Medha Patkar as she has requested.
Offscreen: 'Raise your voice! We are united!' (Twice) 'We will fight! We will win!'
Offscreen: Please arrange the chairs. Here the live telecast is going on. It is being shown in your houses too by the cable network. And all our colleagues who are there may please arrange the chairs.
White shirt: All the kids please arrange the chairs.
White shirt: Where are all the small kids? Arrange the chairs quickly! Don't put them near the road... this way near the shop.
White shirt: Don't force them in.