Medha Patkar

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Medha Patkar
Medhapatkar.jpg
Medha Patkar in 2002
Born (1954-12-01) 1 December 1954 (age 59)
Mumbai
Other names Medha tai
Education M.A. in Social Work
Alma mater Tata Institute of Social Sciences
Organization National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM)
Political party
Aam Aadmi Party
Movement Narmada Bachao Andolan

Medha Patkar (born 1 December 1954) is an Indian social activist and social reformer turned politician. She is the founder member of Narmada Bachao Andolan and was National Convener of National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM), an alliance of progressive people’s organisations.[1] She was a representative to the World Commission on Dams, to research the environmental, social and economic impacts of the development of large dams globally.[2] National Alliance of People's Movements, the organization she leads, filed a public interest litigation in the Bombay High Court against Lavasa.[3]

Patkar was a candidate of Aam Aadmi Party, from Mumbai North East Lok Sabha constituency, for the Indian general election, 2014. She received 8.9% of the vote, and forfeited her deposit.<http://www.asianage.com/india/key-cong-aap-leaders-lose-deposits-ls-polls-017>

Early life[edit]

Medha Patkar was born in Mumbai, Maharashtra, to Indu and Vasant Khanolkar on 1 December 1954.[4] Patkar earned an M.A. in Social Work from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, after which she worked with voluntary organizations in Mumbai's slums for 5 years and tribal districts of North-East Gujarat for 2 years. She left her position on the faculty of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences as well as her unfinished Ph.D. when she became immersed in the tribal and peasant communities in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat.[5]

Activism[edit]

Narmada Bachao Andolan[edit]

Medha Patkar initiated and is still working with Narmada Bachao Andolan with a mass base in tribal and peasant communities in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat and support groups with more than 30 centres all over India and the supporting coalition of NGOs in more than ten countries, called Narmada Action Committee.[citation needed]

National Alliance of People’s Movements[edit]

The National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM) is an alliance of people's movements in India, with the stated aim of working on a range of issues related to socio-economic justice, political justice and equity.[6] Medha Patkar founded the National Alliance of Peoples' Movements with the objective of "facilitating unity and providing strength to peoples' movements in India, fighting against oppression, further questioning the current development model so as to work towards a just alternative". She is the national convener of the NAPM.[5]

World Commission on Dams[edit]

Patkar served as a Commissioner to the World Commission on Dams, the first independent global multi-stakeholder Commission constituted to enquire on the water, power and alternative issues, related to dams, across the world. She provided detailed analysis of large dams and in-depth recommendations on the planning of large dams or any development project. The final report was signed unanimously, with an additional comment from Patkar.[7][8]

Tata Nano Plant Singur[edit]

Tata Motors started constructing a factory to manufacture their $2,500 car, the Tata Nano at Singur.[9] she protested against the setting up of the plant at Singur, West Bengal. Patkar's convoy was assaulted, allegedly by CPI(M) activists, at Kapaseberia in East Midnapore district while on her way to strife-torn Nandigram.[10] At the height of the agitation, Ratan Tata had made remarks questioning the source of funds of the agitators.[11] In October 2008 Tata announced that the factory would not be completed and that the production of the Nano will be set up in Sanand, Gujarat.

Lavasa[edit]

Lavasa is a project by Hindustan Construction Corporation, in Maharashtra. It is a yet-to be completed city. Lavasa Project is criticised by P. Sainath for unjust use of water in a worst hit farmer suicide state.[12] Medha Patkar with villagers of Lavasa protested for the environmental damage in Nagpur.[13] She also filed a PIL-Public Interest Litigation in Supreme Court against the Lavasa project.

Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project[edit]

Patkar's refusal to participate in protest against a proposed Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project, in her home region of Konkan, angered local activists. One Konkan activist accused her of highlighting issues to "further her own purpose", and then abandoning them.[14]

Jan Lokpal Andolan[edit]

Medha Patkar openly supported the anti-corruption campaign of Anna Hazare. In support of Anna Hazare campaign, she said, "Our goal is not Jan Lokpal alone. There has to be a Jan Andolan, a mass movement. We will try and bring together many people's movements".[15]

Golibar Demolition[edit]

A demolition took place on April 2 and 3, 2013 in the Golibar area, Mumbai, Maharashtra evicting 43 houses and displacing more than 200 people. Medha Patkar with more than 500 slum dwellers set on indefinite fast to protest against any further demolition until the inquiry into the matter is completed.[16] Patkar has alleged corruption and "atrocities" by builders in the city's slum rehabilitation scheme, and called for the halting of six projects by the Slum Rehabilitation Authority, until a proper inquiry is conducted.[17]

Save Sugar-Cooperatives Mission[edit]

To save Sugar-Cooperative sector in Maharashtra from falling into hand of politician Medha Patkar organises protests. She explained that "the politicians are interested in the prime plots of land, old equipment and machinery," of sugar co-operatives and accused state of selling assets of industry at throwaway rates.[18]

Hiranandani land scam[edit]

Medha Patkar along with other activist registered PIL in High Court, alleging violations by property tycoon Niranjan Hiranandani in building luxury flats instead of affordable houses. Hiranandani had signed a lease for the 230 acres of land in 1986 at rate of Re 1 per hectare in a tripartite agreement with the state and Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority.[19] Responding to PIL Maharashtra High Court judges says that" we appreciate the elegance of the construction and the intent at creating an architecture marvel for the city of Mumbai, we see the specific intent of wholly ignoring the most vital, and perhaps the only, condition in tripartite agreement (to create affordable houses of 40 and 80 sq m)".[20] If calculated according to the current market price, the quantum of the scam will be around Rs. 45,000 crore.[21]

Kovvada Nuclear project[edit]

Medha Patkar at the Right Livelihood Award foundation.

Patkar expressed a strong opposition to the land acquisition in Kovvada of Ranasthalam mandal in Srikakulam district, Andhra Pradesh saying that the nuclear plant would be a disaster for ecology as well as people of region.[22]

Political career[edit]

In January 2014, Medha Patkar joined the Aam Aadmi Party, a political party led by Arvind Kejriwal. She and her organization, National Alliance of People’s Movement, provided support to the Aam Aadmi Party during the Lok Sabha campaign.[23]

Patkar also contested 2014 Lok Sabha election from the North East Mumbai constituency as an Aam Aadmi Party candidate.[24] She lost, receiving 8.9%[25] of the vote cast in North East Mumbai constituency, trailing at third position behind Kirit Somaiya (BJP candidate, winner) and Sanjay Patil (NCP candidate).[26]

Awards and honors[edit]

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ "National Alliance of People's Movement Website". 
  2. ^ "Final report of World commission on dams". United Nations Environment Programme. 
  3. ^ "Pawar should resign, Maharashtra Govt. must probe irregularities: NAPM". The HIndu. 
  4. ^ "A mother speaks: I worry for her but I know Medha is right". The Times Of India. 2006-04-19. 
  5. ^ a b "National Conveners Team National Alliance of People’s Movements". National Alliance of People’s Movements. 
  6. ^ "Website National Alliance for People's Movement". NAPM. 
  7. ^ "Citizen's’ guide to The World Commission On Dams". International Rivers Network. 
  8. ^ "Dams and Development a new framework for decision making". World Commission on Dams. 
  9. ^ The Hindu Business Line, 26 November 2006[dead link]
  10. ^ "Medha Patkar's convoy attacked". NDTV. 
  11. ^ "Tata has some values: Medha Patkar". DNA. Retrieved 2008-10-04. 
  12. ^ "How the other half dries". The Hindu. 
  13. ^ "Lavasa battles to get environmental clearance". CNN IBN. 
  14. ^ "Medha fan base shrinks in Konkan". The Sunday Guardian. Retrieved 2010-12-29. 
  15. ^ "Jan Andolan is the new goal". CNN IBN. 
  16. ^ "Medha Patkar enters Day 8 of indefinite fast". Hindustan Times. 
  17. ^ "Aruna Roy seeks Sonia’s help to end Medha Patkar’s fast". The Times of India. 
  18. ^ "Medha Patkar, Anna Hazare on sugar co-operative save mission". CNN IBN. 
  19. ^ "Efforts to bury the Rs45,000 crore Hiranandani land scam in Powai, Mumbai?". Money Life. Retrieved 21 February 2014. 
  20. ^ Shibu Thomas (Feb 23, 2012). "Hiranandani can’t build in Powai sans HC okay". The Times of India (Mumbai, India). Retrieved 21 February 2014. 
  21. ^ "Case against builder Hiranandani, senior bureaucrat, others for Rs. 30,000-crore land scam". The Hindu. July 6, 2012. Retrieved 21 February 2014. 
  22. ^ "Medha Patkar cries halt to Kovvada nuclear project". The Hindu. 
  23. ^ Patkar extends support to AAP Indian Express, January 14, 2014
  24. ^ "AAP to field Medha Patkar, Anjali Damania for Lok Sabha polls; releases first list of 20 candidates". Retrieved 17 February 2014. 
  25. ^ Arvind Kejriwal’s AAP needs a future plan; fatigue sets in for party’s small-time drama The Economic Times
  26. ^ Maharashtra - Mumbai North East, Results Declared Election Commission of India, 2014
  27. ^ "Laureates 1991-Medha Patkar & Baba Amte / Narmada Bachao Andolan". 
  28. ^ Malhotra, Aditi. "A Guide to Aam Aadmi Party’s National Candidates". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 30 March 2014. 
  29. ^ "Medha Patkar selected for 1999 M.A. Thomas National Human Rights Award". 
  30. ^ "Quicktakes Indian Express". The Indian Express. Retrieved 25 February 2014. 
  31. ^ "Medha Patkar – The People’s Protestor". Tehelka Magazine. 

External links[edit]