Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Young engineering graduates head to Valeo Innovation Challenge to make India Proud

~ Exceptional jury announced for the world’s second annual Valeo Innovation Challenge~

Mumbai, July 24th, 2015 – The Valeo Innovation Challenge is a global contest open to engineering students around the world, who are invited to play an active role in automotive innovation by designing the product or system that will create smarter, more intuitive cars by 2030. The winning team will take home €100,000 in prize money and the second and third-place teams will receive €10,000 each.
The 20 shortlisted teams have developed a working prototype of their project using the €5,000 in funding allocated to each of them by Valeo.
The participating teams come from all over the world and represent a total of 12 countries on four continents: China, Egypt, Germany, India, Malaysia, Poland, Russia, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States and Uzbekistan.
As part of the challenge, technology students from India are shortlisted for international €100,000 prize from Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education.  
The six finalist teams will be selected on Tuesday, September 1, 2015. They will be invited to present their projects to the jury at Paris. The top three teams will be announced on Tuesday, September 29, 2015.
Valeo devotes nearly 11% of its original equipment sales to innovation, which is a priority focus for the Group. Most of its research and development programs are focused on the design of technologies that reduce motor vehicle CO2 emissions and promote intuitive driving. Ranking among the leading patent filers in France, the company has close to 11,000 researchers working in 50 research and development centers around the world. Valeo has developed a wide array of innovative products and technologies, which in 2014 represented 35% of its order intake.
Valeo was also awarded the Top Employers label in 22 countries for 2015.
Valeo announced today the names of the 12 members of the 2015 Valeo Innovation Challenge jury, which will be chaired by Valeo CEO Jacques Aschenbroich.
The jury is made up of eminent figures from the world of science, as well as experts from Valeo:
–        Jacques ASCHENBROICH: Chief Executive Officer of Valeo.
–        Bruno BONNELL: an entrepreneur who specializes in the digital and robotics industries. He has created companies in the sector: Infogrames/Atari, Infonie, Game One, Ivolution, Robopolis, Awabot, etc. He holds the posts of Robotics Project Leader at the French Ministry of Economic, Financial and Digital Affairs and “Communicating Better” Ambassador at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development. He is also Chairman of the Board of Directors of the EMLYON Business School.
–        André CHIENG: Chairman of Asiatique Européenne de Commerce and Vice Chairman of the France-China Committee. Foreign trade advisor for France in China.
–        Yotam COHEN: Co-founder of Wibbitz, a start-up that developed an application that automatically turns any article, post or feed into a video summary, and head of the Wibbitz R&D department.
–        Guillaume DEVAUCHELLE: Vice President of Innovation and Scientific Development at Valeo.
–        Prof. Dr.-Ing Welf-Guntram DROSSEL: Director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Machine Tools and Forming Technology, Dresden, Germany, with expertise in adaptronics and acoustics.
–        Gérard FELDZER: Chairman of the Ile de France Regional Tourism Committee, Member of the Transport and Mobility Commission, consultant and columnist, former airline pilot with Air France and former President of the French Air and Space Museum.
–        Claudie HAIGNERÉ: President of Universcience from 2010 to 2015, then head of European and space research at the European Space Agency. First French woman to visit the International Space Station, former Minister Delegate for Research and New Technologies and former Minister Delegate for European Affairs.
–        Hans-Peter KUNZE, former Senior Executive Vice-President, Sales & Business Development at Valeo. He is member of the Advisory Board of the Schnellecke Logistics Group and of the UTAC CERAM Strategy Board.
–        Christophe PERILLAT: Chief Operating Officer at Valeo.
–        Jacques ROUGERIE: Visionary French architect and oceanographer with expertise in underwater habitats.
–        Cédric VILLANI: French mathematician, Director of Institut Henri-Poincaré and professor at Claude Bernard University Lyon 1. Winner of the Fields Medal in 2010.
Valeo is an automotive supplier, partner to all automakers worldwide. As a technology company, Valeo proposes innovative products and systems that contribute to the reduction of CO2 emissions and to the development of intuitive driving.
In 2014, the Group generated sales of €12.7 billion and invested over 10% of its original equipment sales in research and development. Valeo has 133 production sites, 16 research centers, 34 development centers and 15 distribution platforms, and employs 81,200 people in 29 countries worldwide.

Valeo is listed on Euronext Paris and is a member of the CAC 40 index.
Vritti Sandhu,

Dear Naresh,
Last week, the media reported that Greenpeace India faces a shutdown due to the cancellation of our society registration in Tamil Nadu [1]. We’d rather be working to campaigning for clean air, water and food for India than constantly defending ourselves in court! You can ensure this by telling the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to stop the attacks on our work and us.
We are challenging these malicious attacks on our work in the court. Yesterday, the Madras High Court accepted our petition against this threatened shutdown and the hearing is scheduled for 10th August [2].
Naresh, in May we launched our solar street light campaign to light up the dark spots in our cities. We’ve almost finished the plans for the next phase of our campaign for clean air in India, and we’re working on a new safe food campaign. The MHA is trying to stop our campaigns for the benefit of all Indians with these continuing attacks.
You can read more here, but once again we need to defend ourselves. Together we need to show Rajnath Singh, the Minister of Home Affairs that these continuing attacks will not prevent us from campaigning for a better future for all Indians!

Priya Pillai
Greenpeace India


My review of the book `The New Quantum Age“ is now live on Amazon.
It is also given here :
Reviewed by S.K.SAGAR
“`This is another outstanding `Five Star` book. I have never reviewed any ..other than `Five Star`.
It is expensive … so I kept renewing from the British Library number of times..till I finished reading and had made enough notes on the parts I liked, and there are many.
I am quite used to Andrew Whitaker`s unique style of writing. I have read one of his other books “Einstein Bohr and the Quantum Dillemma“ which is there on my shelf. He goes into enormous detail, cutting open all the theories to near quantum levels, appreciating the theories he likes and understanding and explaining the others , without being critical of their authors, and giving all the Scientists involved, due respect. His ultimate aim – after an analytical review of all the viewpoints of the various Scientists – is to develop an understanding of the subject that makes the best sense.
His elaborate coverage of the Einstein Bohr debate in `EBATQD` as well as in this book, is spellbinding. In the end if I am asked the question..“Who won the debate ?, my answer would be `Neither Einstein nor Bohr lost the debate` “.
My review of `The New Quantum age` like my review of another book viz “Information and the nature of reality“ edited by Paul Davies and Gregerson, is I am afraid somewhat self centred as I try to correlate it with my philosophical views as expressed in my first book` Six Words` and in my next book `Intelligent Field`. The common denominators are that …“It is the Information in the field which is responsible for the phenomena“ … that “Our universe is a quantum computer, that keeps computing its own behaviour“ .. and that “things are getting more and more complex all the time“.
Having said that I now focus on the part of the book which is in support of my viewpoints expressed above. So I go to Part III of the book “An introduction to Quantum Information Theory“…Chapter 15 ..“Knowledge, Information, and ( a little about) Quantum Information“.
As the Scientist Lee Smolin (page 291 of the book) said : “There are only four prolbems which the Scientists have not been able to solve so far. These are:
1) How to combine quantum theory and general relativity to produce a single theory ( of quantum gravity) that can claim to be a complete theory of matter.
2) How to combine all the particles and forces in today`s physics to give a theory as manifestations of a fundamental unity.
3) To explain how the values of the free constants in the standard model of particle physics ( the masses and life times of the various elementary particles ) are chosen in nature.
4) To explain the existence and properties of dark matter and dark energy. “
Smolin feels that the above four problems will not be solved in isolation, and that the solution of these great problems will come together. A possible way forward — also suggested by Smolin – is to give up the attempt to apply quantum theory to the universe as a whole and to regard quantum theory as the record of quantum information that one sub system may have about another sub system as a result of their mutual interaction. In this way ideas from the study of quantum information may demonstrate how elementary particles may emerge from quantum space –time.
In other words the universe — as suggested by the Scientist Seth LLyod – can be considered as a quantum computer. One may ask the question ..`But what does the Universe compute ?.`. Seth Llyod gives the answer : “ It computes its own behaviour. At first the patterns it produces are simple, but as it processes more and more information, it produces more intricate and complex patterns – on the physical side giving rise to galaxies, stars, and planets, while on the human side, producing life, language, human beings, society and culture.“
In subsequent chapters, it is explained that a classical computer cannot simulate a quantum mechanical system, so the Universe being quantum mechanical , cannot be considered a classical computer, and can only be a quantum computer.
My own idea is that all this happens in a field, and when sufficient information is accumulated in the field, it becomes an `Intelligent Field`, where the Intelligence in the field keeps increasing all the time, and this intelligence like that of an `Infinite Mind` is focussed on creating biochemistries suitable for creating awarenesses and consciousnesses etc to understand itself. Hence that portion of the computation which the universe does, which is attributed to the intelligence of the Intelligent Field is not completely in the domain of `quantum computation` … to some extent it could even be called `classical computation`.
It could also be that the Intelligent Field is itself a product of simulation which then simulates the universe?. and it goes on and on …step by step…trillions and trillions of intermediate steps, through trillions of years and countless eons of the universe. And with each simulation the complexities increase. It must have been very very very simple in the very very very beginning. A universe from nothing at all. It could be that we the human beings are an `Intermediate step`.
This viewpoint also encapsulates the Anthropic Principle and explains what happens when a new eon of the universe is created…. “All the information is available in the field…. all the constants of nature are already known to the Intelligence in the Field , its just the `switching on` that is needed. “
Whether to call it as `Intelligent Field` ..or an `Infinite Mind` … or `God` is of course just a matter of taste. The Theists can call it `God`, and the Atheists should be happy to call it as `IF` or `IM`whatever. The dispute should end.
John C Bell who is the hero of the book, is also my hero. I have written extensively about him and about his `Inequality idea` in my book `Six Words`. To have come out with an idea that it is possible to design an experiment to show that an `Inequality` which is a direct consequence of the assumption of local realism is violated, is nothing short of ingenious. The book can be taken more or less as Bell`s biography. I like (very much) the chapter on “Bell`s last thoughts“ ( chapter 14) where he discusses the “Six possible worlds of quantum Mechanics“. These are actually three worlds relating to three different aspects of quantum mechanics, and each world is divided into two parts viz an “Unromantic world“ which corresponds to his favourite interpretation on that aspect, and a “Romantic world“ corresponding to his bugbear. This is very interesting and amusing, but I am not going to reveal these here – let the reader find out on his own – except to say that in one of them I find the `Romantic world` part makes more sense.
The best line of the book for me is where Bell admits, in fact that he is convinced that “Mind has a central place in the ultimate nature of reality“
The “Infinite mind` of the “Intelligent Field“ I guess
I am thrilled.
All in all … An excellent book
This is my fourth review. “`
(Author of `Six Words … Seminar Held in a Parallel Universe`)

Lenovo sold 50,000 units of the K3 Note in 10 seconds during the fourth flash sale on Flipkart today
Lenovo along with Flipkart announced that it sold 35, 000 units of its recently-launched powerful smartphone K3 Note Black version in 6.5 seconds at 12:00 noon and 15,000 units of the White version in 3.5 seconds at 3:00 pm during the fourth flash sale today. Lenovo K3 Note received  3, 57, 305 registrations for the fourth flash sale. A total of  17, 79, 901 registrations have been received for the smartphone in the first four weeks of its sale.  The registrations for the next week sale start today at 6:00 p.m. Lenovo K3 Note Black will be open for sale at 12:00 noon and White version at 3:00 p.m. (IST) on Wednesday, 5th August, 2015.

RBI releases Half Yearly Report on Management of Foreign Exchange Reserves

The 24th Half Yearly Report on Management of Foreign Exchange Reserves pertains to the period Oct 2014 to March 2015. The foreign exchange reserves stood at USD 313.84 billion as at end-September 2014. During the half year under review, reserves increased to USD 315.91 as at end-October 2014 and marginally declined to USD 315.56 billion as at end-November 2014. It increased to USD 320.65 billion as at end-December 2014 and further increased to USD 341.64 billion as at end-March 2015. While the latest position of foreign exchange reserves as on July 17, 2015 stands at USD 353.33 billion.

The Reserve Bank of India publishes half-yearly reports on management of foreign exchange reserves for bringing about more transparency and enhancing the level of disclosure. The foreign exchange reserves stood at USD 313.84 billion as at end-September 2014. During the half year under review, reserves increased to USD 315.91 as at end-October 2014 and marginally declined to USD 315.56 billion as at end-November 2014. It increased to USD 320.65 billion as at end-December 2014 and further increased to USD 341.64 billion as at end-March 2015.

Although both US dollar and Euro are intervention currencies and the Foreign Currency Assets (FCA) are maintained in major currencies like US dollar, Euro, Pound Sterling, Japanese Yen, etc., the foreign exchange reserves are denominated and expressed in US dollar only. Movements in the FCA occur mainly on account of purchases and sales of foreign exchange by the RBI in the foreign exchange market, income arising out of the deployment of the foreign exchange reserves, external aid receipts of the Central Government and the effects of revaluation of the assets.

Movement In Foreign exchange reserves                                                                                                                                (USD Million)
Source: Compiled from RBI. Note: FCA (Foreign Currency Assets): FCAs are maintained as a multi-currency portfolio comprising major currencies, such as, US dollar, Euro, Pound sterling, Japanese yen, etc. and are valued in terms of US dollars. FCA excludes (a) investment in bonds issued by IIFC ( UK ) and (b) SDR holdings of Reserve Bank which is included under SDR. SDR (Special Drawing Rights) and RTP refers to the Reserve Tranche Position in the IMF.

While, the latest position of foreign exchange reserves as on July 17, 2015 is about USD 353 billion consisting of FCA at about USD 329 billion, Gold reserves at USD 19.1 billion, SDR at around USD 4 billion and RTP at USD 1.3 billion

Foreign exchange reserves as on July 17,2015                                                                                                  US $ Billion
Source: Compiled from RBI.

Forward Outstanding– The net forward outstanding (receivables) of the Reserve Bank in domestic foreign exchange market stood at USD 8,322 million as at the end of March 2015. 

The net India ’s International Investment Position (IIP) as at end-March 2015 was negative at USD 363.0 billion, implying that our external liabilities are more than the external assets. The net IIP as at end-March 2014 and end-September 2014 was USD (-) 336.8 billion and USD (-) 356.9 billion respectively

Adequacy of Reserves– At the end of March 2015, the import cover increased to 8.9 months from 8.1 months at end-September 2014. The ratio of short-term debt to the foreign exchange reserves, which was 27.7% at end-September 2014, declined to 24.8% at end-March 2015. The ratio of volatile capital flows (defined to include cumulative portfolio inflows and short-term debt) to the reserves has declined from 94.3% as at end-September 2014 to 91.7% as at end-March 2015.

Management of Gold Reserves– The Reserve Bank held 557.75 tonnes of gold; of which, 265.49 tonnes are held overseas in safe custody with the Bank of England and the Bank for International Settlements. It formed about 5.6 per cent of the total foreign exchange reserves in value terms (USD) as at end-March, 2015

AIMA Invitation for 20th Annual Convocation
Thursday, 13th August 2015 from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. 
Stein Auditorium, India Habitat Centre (IHC), New Delhi-110 003
Dear Mr Sagar,
Greetings from AIMA!
It’s my pleasure to share that All India Management Association Centre for Management Education (AIMA  CME)  awards  Diplomas to candidates and recognises meritorious students in its Annual Convocation.
AIMA CME is organizing its 20th Annual Convocation scheduled on 13th August 2015 (Thursday) at Stein Auditorium, India Habitat Centre (Entry from Gate No.3), New Delhi-110 003 from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
General (Retd.) V P Malik, PVSM, AVSM, Former Chief of Army Staff  has kindly  agreed to be the Chief Guest at the occasion.
It’s our honour to invite you to join us for the Convocation. The e-Invitation card is attached for your reference.
We would request you to send Reply Form, confirmation of your attendance at the earliest to Mr N S Rawat at
Looking forward to your confirmation and having you with us.
With regards,
Dr Raj Agrawal
Centre for Management Education
All India Management Association
Andhra Association Building,
Andhra Bhawan
4th Floor, 24-25, Institutional Area
Lodi Road,
New Delhi-110 003
P:011-24629623 (D)  011-24645100 Extn.701/704

Two Nagaland Students Complete Space Camp at NASA

Two students from Nagaland have successfully completed an International Space Camp (ISC) at the US Space and Rocket Center (USSRC), Huntsville, USA.
Mezong Jamir, a class XI boy and Khriesetuonuo Solo, a class XII girl of the Livingstone Higher Secondary School, Dimapur, spent a thrilling week from July 17 to 24, 2015 at Alabama, one of NASA’s five Marshall Space Flight Centers, where they trained in all kinds of routines that astronauts go through. The students were accompanied by their teacher-educator Andrew Ahoto Sema.
The course is self-funded, part of which is subsidized by the US Space Center to encourage foreign students. Each year, hundreds of students and trainees from all over the world join the international space camp for a week of fun-filled hands-on drills and activities.
During the week-long program trainees are exposed to challenging tasks that include underwater scuba-based microgravity, multi-axis simulation that test both of their mental and physical ability. Lalhnuna Hauhnar, who has been designated as the Space Camp Ambassador, has initiated this program in the northeast to encourage high school aged students as well as teachers to experience ‘a space-life environment’. The students also learn space Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
“This is an experience of a life time which does not come so easily even if you have all the money,” says Hauhnar, who had also attended such camp. “The students are chosen after a thorough interview and personality test.” The Camp which is held annually for school students and teacher-educators is open to all countries in the world. So far as many as 35 countries participated in the camp since the program was launched in 1990.
Beside this international camp which is a scheduled annual event where only two students and a teacher can participate, the USSRC also encourages a larger group of students from any country to visit the center.
Travellers in India Prefer Packages

Travel Commerce Platform leader reveals that up to two thirds of travellers in India prefer to book packages when buying their biggest holiday of the year and three quarters admit to being extremely influenced by online reviews, such as TripAdvisor.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 29 July, 2015: Travelport (NYSE:TVPT), a leading Travel Commerce Platform providing distribution, technology, payment and other solutions for the $8 trillion global travel and tourism industry has today released new research that demonstrates the dramatic transformation the Indian travel market has undergone in recent years with up to two thirds of travelers in India preferring to book packages when buying their biggest holiday of the year. Indian consumers have become primed to embrace higher value online purchases with packaged travel representing a significant opportunity to the industry in the region. India has an urban adult population of 240 million, of which 27%, or 65 million, take holidays. The country has 205 million Internet subscribers and 110 million smartphone users.
The research released by Travelport as part of a co-sponsored study with Phocuswright1, revealed that of those surveyed 48% of travellers said their most significant trip of the past 12 months was a traditional package, while 21% said they had bought a tailor-made trip. The survey was conducted across almost 2500 travellers from the top socio-economic groups in India, encompassing 25 urban centres. The results detail how at the heart of the country’s online travel growth is a generation of well-educated, tech savvy and upwardly mobile Indian consumers eager to indulge their wanderlust. Online travel bookings are expected to grow rapidly through 2016 when India online travel penetration is projected to reach 46%, up from 35% in 2012. For their main holiday of the year, 62% searched online travel agents with 56% using general search engines.  Some 40% researched their holidays on their mobile.
A huge number of those who are travelling overseas are doing so for the first time; two out of three who took an overseas trip in the previous 12 months had not done so before. Interestingly, two thirds of travellers in India are young adults, with 52% aged between 25-34 and 17% aged 18-24. Of those surveyed, 64% have a family of up to four people and 65% are employed in a private organization. When travellers were asked for the reasons behind their decisions, some 43% said they felt packages were cheaper than independent trips and 40% said they booked packages because they included sightseeing tours. Three quarters of travellers admitted to being extremely influenced by user-generated content, such as online reviews on popular websites such as TripAdvisor. Forty five percent got a personal recommendation from friends/family.
Matthew Powell, Senior Director, India, Travelport Africa, Middle East and South Asia commented on the findings: “The majority of people in India – 52% – are booking online and offline, with just 13% booking online only and an even smaller number, 5%, only booking offline. These consumer trends in India demonstrate how technology in travel commerce has been the catalyst for the dramatic transformation in the Indian travel market and they key role it will play in its continued growth.”
Sandeep Dwivedi, Chief Commercial Officer, InterGlobe Technology Quotient, distributors of Travelport in India and Sri Lanka commented: “What’s most exciting is what is to come and with online travel bookings in India expected to reach 46% through 2016, Travelport is committed to supporting the online travel sector in the country through our travel commerce platform which is unrivalled in demonstrating the value agencies can bring to their customers with the travel choices and high levels of service they expect.”

Jaipur, July 28: Playing like true champions, Jaipur Pink Panthers recorded their first win of Season 2 of Star Pro Kabaddi today at the Sawai Man Singh Stadium beating Bengaluru Bulls 36-23.  The hero was their superbly built raider Kuldeep Singh who came up with a super raid in which he claimed four victims. This was confirmed by the referral wasted by the Bulls. With this win, the Panthers with eight points go to the fifth position while Bengaluru remain third with 20 points.
After being down at one stage at 9-14 after suffering an all-out, the Panthers came back roaring to score 10 points in a row to dismiss their rivals and troop away at half-time assuring their vociferous fans of a likely revival.
It was an excellent team effort after the Jaipur coach K Bhaskaran decided to substitute his captain Navneet Gautam who somehow failed to raise his performance. As has been their strategy, the Panthers relied on Jasvir Singh who though subdued for some time early on came up with a moment of brilliance. He effected the raid which fetched the first all-out by getting the last two on court to earn four points. The old guard in Ran Singh and the masked man Rohit Rana also got back in business and negated the threat of Ajay Thakur and Manjeet Chhillar who sadly were also off colour. The duo tallied just 4points between them in 23 raids which tells the true story.
 To add to the worry of the Bulls, Gangadhari Mallesh, manning the left corner in place of Navneet, proved more than a handful. The pocket-sized dynamo Prashant Chavan also pulled up his socks which resulted in the defending champions effecting the second all-out to lead 32-21 by the 35th minute. Bengaluru threw in the last dice bringing in the tall Rakesh Narwal and Pardeep Narwal, hoping to net in some raiding and bonus points but it never rolled in their favour. Bengaluru’s efforts to whittle down the margin to less than seven and pocket a valuable point also failed.
Manjeet Chhillar, in a pre-match chat, had talked about his strong defence but it didn’t click on the day. On the other hand, Navneet had stressed the importance of improvement in that department and it did come with Navneet himself having to go off to accommodate Gangadhari Mallesh. The move having worked favourably the Panthers can hope to get the better of the Delhi Dabangs and move on to Patna with their side in high spirits.
Later on in the post-match press conference, Navneet was asked whether he felt bad about not participating much in the match. He went on to say, “A good team is a team that transforms its weaknesses into strengths. If there was a weakness in defence earlier, that was wiped out today. Even though I was sitting on the bench and cheering for the team from there, that doesn’t matter because they won in a fantastic manner. Like I said yesterday, this is sport and you have good days and bad days. Today was a very good day for our team and they played beyond the limits of sport. “
Man of the match and star raider Jasvir Singh was ecstatic during his answers. “This win is all because of our captain Navneet Gautam. It doesn’t matter that he wasn’t able to play the full match today because he was there with us, supporting and cheering us from the bench throughout the match. A captain doesn’t have to be on court to win. He needs to be able to support and guide his team from wherever he is and today Navneet was the perfect example for that. All the strategies that we used today to win were his idea and I can say with confidence that he is the best captain a team can have. He is also the best captain across all 8 teams.”
Watch Season 2 of Star Sports Pro Kabaddi LIVE on Star Sports 2, 3, HD2, HD3 and from 7:50pm onwards
Star Sports Pro Kabaddi – Points Table after Match 19 as of 28th July

Narmada Struggle is a National Struggle for Peace, Justice and Democracy

MPs, Eminent Citizens, Experts and Social Activists express solidarity at National Convention on 30 Years of the Narmada struggle

Call upon the Govt. of India to review decision on SSP and expedite rehabilitation as per law and judicial orders

 Scientists, academics, students, activists, parliamentarians, lawyers and others declare their support, solidarity and participation in the Padh-yatra and Satyagrah to be launched in the Narmada Valley from the 6th Of August

28th July, 2015, New Delhi: That the struggle of the people in the Narmada valley is symbolic of the struggle of millions of common people across the country and is a united fight to sustain peace, justice and democracy in these trying times, was the conclusion that emerged out of a day long Convention, organized on the eve of 30 years of relentless struggle by the Narmada Bachao Andolan in the Sardar Sarovar project affected areas for their legal, human and constitutional rights.
Gathering at the Constitution Club in New Delhi, more than two hundred people including many present and former MPs, Retired Judges, senior social activists, lawyers, artists, film makers, writers, technical experts, environmentalists, academics and young persons participated and expressed solidarity with the resilient adivasis, farmers, fisher people, landless and thousands of other Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) oustees who have been challenging the illegality of the raise in dam height in violation of the binding norms of the Narmada Tribunal and the Judgements of the Supreme Court. Numerous supporters from the Left parties were proffered. The Bhumi Adhikar Andolan also participated in the Convention.
Com. D. Raja, MP, CPI, Com Shri Ragish, MP, CPM, Shri Swamy, MP, Rajya Sabha Former CPM – MP, Shri Hannan Mollah extending their solidarity, stated that their state and national units would provide increased support to the Andolan and would mobilize political support for the cause, both inside and outside the Parliament. They condemned the anti-people nature of the NDA Govt. and called upon the Prime Minister to act within the confines of law, instead of taking the side of big business.
Affected people from the Valley highlighted that there is not enough understanding of what happens after displacement, with or without Rehabilitation and Resettlement. As Sanobar bi from Chikhalda village said, women have been the worse affected. Alluding to the Modi’s favorite Swacch Bharat Abhiyan, she said “of what use are toilets for people who have no homes or livelihood?!”.  Representatives from 3 states spoke of their 30 years of struggle and the gradual disintegration of their culture because of displacement, lack of good land, poor state of resettlement sites, massive corruption etc.
Veterans Shri Kuldip Nayyar, Admiral Ramdas and Jst. Retd. Rajinder Sachar, heard the representatives from the three states of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra, stated that the struggle in Narmada is emblematic of what is happening in the whole country. They conveyed their complete solidarity and assured that they shall raise the issue at every possible fora.
The Convention began with a presentation by Com. Hannan Mollah, environmentalist Soumuya Dutta, senior socialist leader Dr. Sunilam and reservoir expert Dr. Raj Kachroo, who shared their findings and feelings after their visit to the valley and mentioned highlights from their Fact-Finding Report. They stated that the decision to raise the dam has serious implications on the lives of thousands of people, while on the ground rehabilitation with land and livelihood is far from over. The recent issue of throwing 16,000 families “out of submergence” on the basis of wrong back-water calculations was decried and a review was called for as also rehabilitation of all these oustees.
Activists from Gujarat including Rohit Prajapati, Lakhan Musafir, Sagar Rabari and Krishnakant exposed the hoax of “development” by SSP in Gujarat and questioned the fact that when less than 15% reservoir water is utilized, less than 30% canals have been built, why is there an urgency, on the basis of illegality to push the dam ahead? It is only for companies that lakhs of hecatres of land are being de-commanded and millions of litres of water are being doled out at throw away prices to bottled water companies? Apoorvanand, Delhi University reiterated the problem with such a development model gaining momentum in the country.
Medha Patkar reflected upon how initial concerns of environment, the destruction of local economy and adivasi cultures have all come true in the past 30 years. Admiral Ramdass, an old supporter of the NBA reiterated that: law has been far too slow and often misleading for people.  Adv. Sanjay Parikh, legal expert for NBA reflected on how the growing perception that struggling for environmental justice automatically means being ‘anti-development’ has also influenced the Judiciary – which is a grave concern. Shri Prajapati echoed the sentiment of the hall and stated if the Govt. has declared war against the people, the People are ready to accept the challenge.
Com. Annie Raja, NFIW; Kavita Shrivastava, PUCL, Shri K.B. Saxena, Former Secy, Govt. of India and expert on land issues, Suhas Borker, senior media person and many others spoke during various sessions and questioned the legality of the present dam work in the light of massive legal and human rights violations and huge backlog of R&R.  Adv. Sanjay Parikh expressed concern over how the growing perception of ‘raising environmental questions means anti-development’ is influencing the Judiciary.
The Convention concluded with strong resolution of those in the parliament as well those in the villages, cities and streets to carry forward and intensify the struggle for justice. The Andolan declared that there would be a padyatrain the whole of the valley starting from 6th of August from Khalghat till the 12thof August, ending at Rajghat, where a Satyagrah will be launched.
Delhi Solidarity Group, National Alliance of People';s Movements, Bhoomi Adhikar Andolan
For more details contact Vimal @9718479517 or Shabnam @9643349452
Swaraj Abhiyan
Naresh Kumar Sagar
Today at 12:10 AM

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