Thursday, May 9, 2013

ADB summit starts amid widespread protests, Bangiya Paromparik Kaaru O Bastra Shilpi Sangho Lead The Rally at Greater Noida YMCA

Purusharth Aradhak, TNN May 3, 2013, 02.55AM IST
GREATER NOIDA: Opposing the central government's policies, various organizations led by People's Front Against International Financial Institutions opened a four-day protest against the 46th annual meeting of the ADB with a demonstration and a rally on Thursday at GreaterNoida. The protesters allege that in the name of reforms of water, electricity and education sector, the ADB is not only ensuring privatization but also threatening the role of a welfare state. Police detained hundreds of agitators en route to PariChowk and took them to YMCA in Greater Noida.

A seminar was organized in Greater Noida where former chief justice of Delhi high court Rajinder Sachar, social activist Medha Patkar and others from various states addressed the protestors. The protestors said their agitation will go on till the end of the summit.
The demonstration started from YMCA in Greater Noida in which protestors raised the slogans 'ADB Quit India, Quit Asia', 'India is not for sale' and marched towards the Expo Mart, where the summit is going on. The protest was originally scheduled at Pari Chowk, but police did not allow the demonstrators to move in that direction. Protestors even tried to break the police cordon to move forward in a spontaneous rally. The rally concluded in a meeting outside YMCA in presence of senior police personnel, including the DIG.

The agitators alleged that ADB is supporting various projects in cities which are displacing hawkers in big numbers from roadsides. ADB is supporting water privatization projects which are even opposed by municipal counsellors. "In the name of urban development, ADB is supporting programmes that threaten the very existence of marginal sections of the society, especially urban poor and farmers," said an agitator.
Biswendu Nanda of Bangiya Paromparik Kaaru O Bastra Shilpi Sangho, an artisans and weavers organization, said that villages have been destroyed by ADB sponsored infrastructure and urbanization projects resulting in artisans, weavers and performing artists becoming paupers.
Dr Sunilam of Kisan Sangharsh Samiti said that it is shocking to see that activists are not allowed even to protest at public places. "The central government is challenging our constitutional rights to protest to please ADB officials," he said. Sunilam shared his experience of water privatization in Madhya Pradesh which has resulted in hike of water rates four times in a span of two years.
Farmer leader Manveer Bhati said that the police and administration on Wednesday night 'detained' farmers in villages to stop them from opposing the ADB summit.
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