Posted On Friday, May 11, 2012 at 03:17:41 AM
As Lavasa announces the start of work for their second town in Mugaon, activists are organising a three-day camp under the guidance of well-known social activist Medha Patkar in support of locals who have ‘faced several challenges’ in the course of the Lake City project.
The National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) has organised a camp for young activists for the purpose of ‘getting to know village life and supporting locals fighting for their rights.’
|Lavasa Lake City is being built on 25,000 acres of land; activist Patkar (inset) will be camping here in May
Interestingly, anti-Lavasa activists of the Mose Khore Bachav Janandolan have undertaken a fight against Lavasa under the NAPM. As a symbolic gesture, campers will be rebuilding the home of Leelabai Margale, a Mugaon resident, who refused to sell her land to Lavasa Corp.
Social activist Medha Patkar will be camping with the activists and guiding them, according to organisers. NAPM convenor Sunitee SR told Mirror, “This camp has not been organised to provoke Lavasa but to salute locals who have been living here despite so many challenges.”
A symbolic gesture
Sunitee added that Leelabai Margale had been always at the forefront in the fight against Lavasa and her dilapidated house will now be rebuilt with locally-available materials. Margale is a resident of Mugaon village in the Mose Valley near Pune where the Lavasa project is coming up. She refused to part with her land right from the beginning and faced pressures to vacate.
On January 3, 2011, when Leelabai and her daughters were asleep, they were awakened by a loud blast. They had a narrow escape and the house burnt down. She lost all her jewellery, domestic articles and land documents in the fire.
The camp will be held from May 12-14, in which participants between 16-30 years of age will be required prepare agricultural farm land for sowing, clear streams of water and build earthen homes with locally-available material. However, Sunitee agreed that one of their aims is to help young activists understand the locals’ fight against Lavasa.
More than 50 people have registered and activists from various struggles across the state will also be joining in, as well as students of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS). Residents of around 150 homes in Mugaon will be visited by them. Senior activists Vishwambhar Chowdhary, Vijay Paranjape, Maruti Bhapkar and Shreepad Dharmadhikari will also guide young participants on environment and sustainable livelihood issues.
Lavasa is a planned lake city being developed in the backwaters of Warasgaon Dam on 25,000 acres of land over seven hills, with a 60-km lakefront. There remain pockets where local farmers like Leelabai have refused to sell land — the camp will be held in one such area.
► We will discuss Lavasa, and water supply to Pune. I will emphasise factual information about dams, Pune’s water issues, etc
- Vijay Paranjpe, Environmentalist
► I have been with the anti-Lavasa movement since its inception and I will share my experiences about how the movement began, at this camp
- Maruti Bhapkar, Civic activist