Sunday, August 3, 2014

Malin residents, Victim of Criminalization of Government

More than 82 dead bodies have been found in the tragic incident occurred at Malin in Ambegaon taluka and the many more people are expected to have died. The exact reasons of this incident will come forward at appropriate time but there is scope to say that the basic structure of the hill was disturbed because of leveling of the hill and this tragedy took place.

Of course, this has not taken place in a day or two. This process was going on for years.. Now many reasons will be offered for the leveling of the land. It is a different matter whether those reasons are justifiable, moral or immoral or how. However, it cannot be denied that these same reasons caused this tragedy. Whether you play with nature knowingly or unknowingly, it will have adverse effects without fail.

Tribal villages like Ambegaon, Vachape, Kalambai, Phulwade, Borghar, Malin, Adivare, Panchale, Asane, Kokanewadi, Koltawade, Bendharwadi, Patan, Mahalunge, Kushire Budruk, Kushire Khurd, Sakeri, Pimpri etc. were submerged under the  water of Dimbhe dam from the tribal belt of Ambegaon taluka. Since the farmers' lands in these villages were submerged under the dam water, thousands of families were left unemployed and became unsupported permanently. The age-old occupation of these people was to collect the medicinal plants and sell them. As it fails to support them, many families work as laborers for some part of the year. Because of the displacement of various types of the Dimbhe dam, the situation of these people became all the more distressful. It is a custom to do physically demanding tasks in this remote part collectively, which is called padkai. However, it would not be inept to say that the administration dealt blow to this tradition and paved the way for this accident.

The announcement was made in the winter session of legislature in 2010 that a new head was created for the implementation of padkai program in the Ambegaon taluka of Pune district and a fund of Rs 38 crore was reserved for the same. It was proved later that this decision was politically motivated and to garner tribal votes in a bunch. The tribals never play with nature. Hence, had some works were carried through padkai and collectively, then perhaps this tragedy would not have occurred. However, the government yielded to the pocklane lobby's pressure and did not recommended the padkai program as the pilot project of Maharashtra for the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme. Hence, the road was paved to flatten the land with pocklane machines rather than physical collective effort.

Pune district has seen the tragic incidents because of cutting and leveling the hill top and hill slope in the past few years. The government pretended to take some measures after many people become victim in such incidents. In 2011 Flying squads were appointed to stop encroachments on the hills, to take action against them and stop digging up of hills. However, what these squads did, whether they stopped them or helped them remained shrouded in mystery. It was never heard that any action was taken because of these squads. On the contrary, such acts are seen to have increased after the creation of such squads.

Especially after 2004-05, the incidents of playing with hills and hillocks, riverbed increased in the Pune district. Thereafter, many builders made up crores of square feet land by digging hills and hillocks. Blasts were made literally day and night for this. Actually, the law does not allow digging up the hills this way. However, many businesspersons created land through such measures and even sold them. During the same time, Katraj hill was dug up; hills in Warje, Baner and Bavdhan were encroached. Sahyadri hill was dug up at Mugawade near Paud. Literally thousands of kilos of explosives were used for this. Once even there was a landslide there but since there was no loss of life, the villagers were made to shut up. But the illegal hill digging did not stop. As a result, the risk persists for one or another time. The nature perhaps would not allow raising voice of the citizens who were forced to shut up once. Hence, the time has come for the people here to ponder whether to remain muted and wait for the inevitable to happen or raise voice against it.

The experience in Pune district is such that the administration does not abandon its poise howsoever the citizens complain against such acts. The administration roared that tehsildar and divisional officer would be held responsible for such acts after citizens complained. But nothing happened next. For the record, the administration creates a “Kishan Rathod” of someone after such an incident happens. This does not mean that Kishan Rathods have no blame to share. They are guilty, but the officers and politicians who help such Rathods in their crimes, guilt and illegal acts are even guiltier than them. They do not face any punishment. Because they are the ones who commit crime, investigate it and then decide on it. Taking stock of the illegal digging of the hills and hillocks in Pune district and illegal constructions in the riverbed, leaders from political parties and senior officers are found to have maximum participation in it.

Sahdyadri hill near Mugawade was intact in 2009. This area is included in the Madhav Gadgil report on Western Ghats.

The same hill is in this condition after it was dug up.But government officers and flying squads never saw the condition of Sahdyadri hill after its digging.

The officers do not even now see the privately owned jetty in the riverbed at Ghotavade in Pune.

The place in the riverbed at Ghotavade in Pune was like this in 2009

And the above place was like this originally.

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