I just heard there has been another accident in
Vijayghat Pushta in Dholakpala, which I understand is
another settlement with riverbed cultivators, like
Belagaon, near Rajghat Powerhouse and Moolchand behind
Shantivan.

From what I learned in Belagaon after the Indira

Colony demolition of 01.04.04 I had written to
concerned authorities on 05.04.04 a suggestion that
these Pushta settlements be incorporated in the legal
riverbed Plan rather than evicted as part of the slum
clearance drive. This is based on techno-legal facts
and is consistent with environmental imperatives for
riverbed, including Master Plan provisions and CGWA
notification, and heritage imperatives of the
centuries old ridge-river agiculture traditions. see:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/mpisgmedia/message/71

On 10.04.04 in Tejpal ki Bagichi (that ToI Report of
11.04.04 calls Tejpal ki Haveli in distortion of facts
and history becoming typical of this drive) near
Molchand, I met cultivators whose homesteads amidst
farms had been bulldozed the previous day along with
jhuggis on that stretch. When I met them again
yesterday, they were going to write for clarification
about the mistaken demolition as well as legal plans
for conservation / expansion of riverbed cultivation.

And in Moolchand I was shown documents continuing
since nearly a century ago.

I find it ironical that the discourse is having today
a do at SPA about rururbanism, one at ISI about Pushta
protest, relief and rehabilitation and a meet at
Mussourie about conservation practice in India, while
century-old urban agriculture in the heart of the city
is slipping from history undistinguished from riverbed
encroachments. I find it alarming that those
discoursing are connected by British patronage and
that where the riverbed goings-on are headed is
consistent with aid policies for poverty, environment
and heritage in India. Indeed, the overlaying of the
chronology of the discourse with developments
connected to the riverbed this year and before makes a
pattern of distinctly imperialist design.

My immediate worry is that, like the Kanchanpuri
episode of 24.04.04, the one of today will be reported
without the context of what has been going on in
Vijayghat Pushta over the last week. see:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/mpisgmedia/message/69

I am sick and in no shape to make it to Pushta today.
This is to request eye-witness accounts of facts to be
sent to media with reference to context. Posting the
same to this list will be deeply appreciated. This is
only because I do believe that, all other differences
apart, painting victims of state failures and
discourse bankruptcy as culprits out of need or greed
really must stop.

 

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