NBA Press Release
  10 March 2003
Save The Narmada, Save Humanity!

Asia Development Bank pushing Madhya Pradesh into slavery; Declaration of collective struggle in state level workshop

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Yesterday a workshop on " Madhya Pradesh in the clutches of Asia Development Bank" was organized in the Regional Science Centre at Bhopal under the joint aegis of AITUC, City Trade Union Council and Jan Sangharsh Morcha. Various speakers at the workshop explained with the use of facts, documents and arguments as to how the Asia Development Bank is bringing drastic policy changes through in the fields of energy, public sector and various other crucial sectors of the Madhya Pradesh economy, thereby pushing the people of Madhya Pradesh towards destruction. Representatives from Khargone, Dhar, Badwani, Harda, Jabalpur, Seoni, Mandla, Sihor and other districts participated in the program. At the end of the workshop, there was a collective declaration to struggle against the foreign slavery and domination being imposed by the Asia Development Bank.

The workshop that was organized in the Regional Science Centre at Bhopal was inaugurated by the Vicepresident of the AITUC, Madhya Pradesh, senior trade unionist Shri Mahendra Bajpeyi. In his introductory sppech, Shri Sunil bhai of Kisan Adivasi Sangathan and Samajwadi Jan Parishad said that the huge multinational companies of the developed countries are wroughting policy changes in the developing countries like India with the help of the World Bank, the Asia Development Bank and the International Monetary Fund, so that these companies can take over the markets and the entire production economy of our country. Shri Raghav Narasalay from FOCUS, Mumbai introduced the Asian Development Bank to the audience and explained how it was not a democratic institution of the Asian countries but dominated by the US and Japan, and therefore served their economic agendas and of other developed countries, and in their loot of the poorer Asian nations.

Ms. Chittaroopa Palit of the Narmada Bachao Andolan said that on the 26th of October, 1999, the Madhya Pradesh government and the Central government undertook an agreement with the Asia Development Bank , as a result of which the people of this state lost their fundamental right to self- determination. As per this agreement, the governments agreed to close down or fundamentally restructure 14 public sector corporations, and to retrench over 16,500 employees working in these corporations. They have already retrenched 6000 of these workers. This agreement will facilitate the take over of the health and education sectors into private hands. She said that it was also noteworthy that one of the main conditions of the agreement was the introduction of the VAT scheme in the state against which the traders are now struggling. She said that the main obstruction in the ongoing state wide and sustained struggle of the Shikshakarmis for equal work-equal pay was also the agreement with the ADB wherein the state and the Central governments have committed themselves to adopting a flexible wage policy to ensure that the staff employed by the self governance institutions could be given different wage and service conditions package from those in the state government. Shri Govind Asiwal of City Trade Union Council said that said that the state and the country are facing a severe problem of unemployment and that instead of any attempt to resolve the problem, because of the closure of factories and retrenchment, 1 crore and 95 lakh people have been rendered unemployed.

Throwing light on the grave problem of electricity in the state, Shri Alok Agarwal of the Narmada Bachao Andolan and the Nimad Malwa Kisan Mazdoor Sangathan said that the agreement of the Madhya Pradesh government with the Asia Development Bank lay behind the current power crisis. As per this agreement the electricity tariffs in the state have to be increased every year and are scheduled to be increased again in June this year. It is clear that the real lack of availability of electricity is not a problem for Madhya Pradesh. Had the state government only effected a decrease in the transmission and generation losses as ordered by the Madhya Pradesh State Electricity Regulatory Authority , collected its outstanding dues from the defaulting industrialists and not given Coco Cola and Bajaj companies rebates on their taxes of a few hundred crores, the state would have an additional revenue of Rs. 3500 crores. Had this happened not only would be these increase in electricity tariffs be unjustified, but it would have been able to buy sufficient electricity available from the NTPC, the Eastern grid and Chattisgarh to make it available to the common consumers of Madhya Pradesh, so that the farmers and workers, students and domestic consumers would not have to face the crisis that they are doing presently. But instead of doing this, the government is deliberately trying to dismantle the Madhya Pradesh State Electricity Board so that after the destruction of our entire agricultural and industrial production economy, the multinational companies can take over our markets, and as per the new ADB loan in the offing, the MPSEB can be handed over to the private and foreign multinationals.

Shri Shripad Dharmadhikari of Manthan Adhyayan Kendra said that the Asia Development Bank was also planning to privatize water and were already planning to change policy in this direction. In this context 6 cities of the state were to face the first onslaught.

After assessing the entire situation, in the strategy session, Shri Phagram of Kisan Adivasi Sangathan, Shri Mangal Singh of Shramik Adivasi Sangathan , Shri Mangat Verma of Nimad- Malwa Kisan Mazdoor Sangathan , Shri Kuwar Singh and Ms. Madhuri of Dalit Jagrut Adivasi Sangathan , Shri Rajesh Tiwari of Bargi Visthapit aur Prabhavit Sangh , Shri Balram of Kisan Sangharsh Samiti , Shri Abdul Jabbar of Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Udyog Sangathan, Shri Modi, President of AITUC, Madhya Pradesh, Shri Asiwal of City Trade Union Council and others gave their strategic insights into what must be done next in order to combat the slavery , the lack of self determination and suicidal privatization policies that we are enmeshed in now. The assembly collectively decided that there would be a declaration of collective struggle all through the state with the slogan, " Videshi Gulami nahi sahenge, Pradesh ko nahi bikne denge" ( We shall not withstand slavery, we will not allow the state to be sold).

Khuman singh Patel Suresh Patidar