Thursday, December 08, 2005

Peoples caravan against WTO in eastern UP (Update)

Peoples caravan against WTO in eastern UPPeoples Carvan 2005
Peoples caravan against WTO in eastern UP against WTO started from Champaran, Bihar on 24 Nov 2005. Thousands of activists from different organizations gathered at
Rajendra Nagar Bhawan, Motihari, East Champaran and Peoples Carvan were inaugurated. This Peoples Carvan in due course of time was joined by a large number of activists working in remote countryside areas. Passing through Mujjaffarpur, Vaishali,Madhubani, Gaya and Patna, it culminated into a huge rally at Gandhi
Maidan, Patna and held a public meeting at the ground of Milller High School. On 25 Nov Peoples Carvan reached to Jasauli Patti, where it was welcomed and
joined by farmers and workers. A public meeting was held there. In Chakia and in Hassi, street dramas were played against WTO. On 26 Nov Peoples Carvan entered
into the district of Mujjaffarpur. Their activists of different organizations, intellectuals, and youth held a meeting against WTO in University Hall. On 27 Nov
Peoples Carvan passed through different places in Mujjaffarpur and held several public meetings in protest of WTO. On 28 Nov Peoples Carvan led a big
rally and held a huge public meeting at Gandhi Maidan Patna. On 29 Nov Peoples Carvan held several meetings and played street dramas at Teslal Nagar,Danapur,Koilavar and in the ground of Vir Kuwar Singh Mahavidyalaya.
On 30 Nov Peoples Carvan had to advance in Uttar Pradesh in the leadership of Rajkumari Gandhi.Rajkumari Gandhi is a committed lady activist for the upliftment of women and Dalits. In the district of Balia, she has been trying her best to
organize movement against the policies of WTO. Due to the disturbance created by killing of Krishnanand Rai;Peoples Carvan had to face great difficulties but
despite those problems and difficulties Peoples Carvan from Balia reached to Varanasi. In Varanasi it held several public meetings at different places and call
the people for joining Peoples Carvan in protest of WTO.
On 3rd December 05, International Day against Slavery, Peoples Carvan against WTO reached to Varanasi hundreds of women, men and children with
banner in hands and shouting slogans like, Imperialism Down Down, Multinationals Go Back, withdraw seed bill,come out of WTO etc entered into the city. They
were given warm welcom and joined by local activists and organizations. People’s Carvan held a public meeting in Azad Park, Lahurabir the meeting was
addressed by Dr. Lenin, Nandlal, Siddharth and others.
All of them warned Indian Government not to take part in ministerial meeting of WTO, scheduled in Hong Kong from 13 Dec to 18 Dec. Sri Nandlal called on people to
protest the policies of WTO at all costs. He said that if Policies of WTO were not protested and if it were implemented in present form then It would be disastrous for our country. Sri Siddharth said that there was no other way out but to come out of WTO.
Addressing the gathering Dr. Lenin remarked about proposed seed bill, Patent Law and said that if those were not opposed then we would loss employment and our independence as well. He told that so many changes had been taking place in the policies of Indian Government in the pressure of WTO. He said that in such a
condition Indian Government would be bound to reduce subsidies given to farmers and others. He said that our whole economic system would go other way round
throwing us in slavery. After meeting, from Azad Park,Lahurabir, activists of Peoples Carvan moved to River Ganga giving slogans against WTO-WB-IMF and
distributing pamphlets with ashes of WTO in earthen pots to give it symbolically funeral treatment to get rid of it finally. Ashok Sinha of Action Aid
International and Maheshanand of Kanhar Bachao Andolan joined peoples carvan in Varanasi.
Dr. Lenin is going to attend anti-WTO conference organized by Christian conference of Asia along with other human rights groups and trade unions in Hong Kong, which is scheduled from 8 December 2005 to 10 December 2005. On 9th December 2005 a documentary will be displayed at the conference based on miseries of Indian weavers. Asian Human Rights Commission and Peoples Vigilance committee on Human Rights published a book titled Handloom has become live grave for weavers¡±. Dr. Lenin will attend a press conference on 11 December 05 and will give description of disastrous
effects of the policies of WTO-WB-IMF on Indian weavers and farmers especially on children. On the same day, he will participate in a huge rally in protest of WTO organized by Hong Kong peoples alliance against WTO.
There is a big public meeting of Dalits is going to be held at Shiva Ji Maidan of Mumbai under the leadership of Shri Ram Das Athwale and Shri Ashok Bharati on 6th
December 05, the death anniversary of Baba Saheb.Siddique Hasan and Aftab of Boonkar Aur Dastkar Adhikar Manch (Forum on rights of weavers and artisans) are going to take part in meeting on behalf of weavers and artisans of Varanasi. At this occasion
a book written by Ms. Sam of food right campaign of Action Aid International on adverse effect of WTO and NAMA on weaving and leather industries in India, will
be inaugurated. This book is being inaugurated all over the world on 6th December 05 by Action Aid International.
For more details, please contact Mr.S.P.Singh(Adv.)and Shruti at

CSO declaration on WTO






December 2, 2005

We, the representatives of farming communities, social movements and the civil society organizations in India, are gathered here in Delhi to demonstrate our solidarity and express our concerns and demands about WTO Agreement on Agriculture.

We welcome all the honorable delegates of this Meeting. This meeting is taking place at a crucial point in time when only ten days is left for the Hong Kong Ministerial Meeting and there is no tangible movement in the Doha Round negotiations so far. We hereby adopt the following resolution and place it for its record and consideration.

Part – I: For the Leaders of Rich, Developing & Least Developed Countries
Aware that the sixth ministerial meeting of the WTO, which is scheduled from December 13-18,2005 in Hong Kong will have massive consequences for the developing countries as well as the LDCs;
Aware that trade liberalization in the name of ‘free trade’ during the last decade under the WTO regime has been fundamentally flawed with disastrous results to the poor countries;
Aware that during the last decade, poor nations have been forced to submit to market fundamentalism and have been coerced through various agencies into opening their markets to foreign corporations and foreign produce, privatizing their services and abandoning the measures which helped small domestic companies to compete with overseas competitors;
Aware, that while weaker trading nations have been repeatedly promised that every concession that they make to free trade will be matched by similar concessions by the powerful nations, every time the rich world has responded by breaking almost every promise it has made;
Aware that poverty for many of the world’s people, means death by starvation and disease and that the immediate cause of such starvation and disease is the lack of purchasing power;
Aware that the world’s purchasing power resides in the hands of the people whose need is least, while those who need it most, for such necessities as food, clean water, housing, health and education, have almost none;
Aware that a one percent increases in the share of world exports for each developing region would reduce the number of people in extreme poverty by hundreds of millions;
Aware that consumers in the developing countries lose as a result of trade practices such as subsidized dumping by Northern producers which causes immense turbulence in Southern food markets and undermines local food production;
Aware that WTO policies also harm the non-farming indigenous communities which still depend on commons, pastures, forests and natural waters for their livelihoods and cultures. The WTO-backed extended agriculture in fact encroaches upon the livelihoods of these communities;
Aware that the working population in farming is barely 3 to 4% in the rich countries in contrast to the majority (60-70%) in the poor countries, fair trade in the products of farming would cost the rich world very little in terms of the loss of welfare to its inhabitants, while delivering major potential benefits to poorer nations;
Aware that the rich nations now give their farmers nearly $ 1 billion a day as subsidy which is six and half times of what they give poor nations in the form of aid;
Aware that the rich nations impose much higher tariffs on goods from poor nations than on goods from other rich nations;
Aware that intellectual property rights granted by the WTO over the years have enabled corporations to assert exclusive control over genetic material and plant and animal varieties forcing the poor people of the developing countries and the LDCs to pay them a license free which forms a discriminatory commercial practice and a tariff barrier
Aware that foreign direct investment can some times cost a poor nation more money than it makes;
Noting that since the adoption of the Doha work program there is little evidence of progress on the development of the developing countries as well as the LDCs while on the other hand the rich countries still continue to pressurize poor countries for deeper commitment towards further liberalization in crucial sectors such as agriculture, services and bound tariff rates;
Realizing that due to the lack of progress on the special and differential treatment (STD) and implementation issues the economies of the developing countries and the LDCs will face grave consequences;
Recognizing that we need to devise a system governing the flow of goods around the world which offers a perfect equality of opportunity permitting a significant transfer of wealth from rich to the poor all allowing poorer nations to compete on roughly equal terms, addressing the balance of trade between nations and ensuring that temporary deficits did not turn into permanent debt;
We recognize that Agreement on the Agriculture (AoA) has two fundamental problems:

First, it does not differentiate between the structural characteristics of the agriculture system of rich countries and that of the poor countries despite significant differences between the two. For instance, majority of population in poor countries (60-70%) is engaged in agriculture as against only 3 to 4% in rich countries. Majority of the poor countries have subsistence agriculture system compare to the commercial and market oriented agriculture system in rich countries.
Second, it contains implementations related loopholes that enabled rich countries to increase the subsidies by 9 percent after 1995 instead of reduction in subsidies.
We therefore believe that poor countries should avail this opportunity of AoA Review to rectify and overcome these fundamental problems;

We accordingly urge the rejection of the aforementioned WTO negotiations package that contains, inter alia, the following anti-development elements:

The expansion of Blue Box
‘Sensitive Products’ for rich countries
c) The conditions for the elimination of export subsidies

and to undertake necessary efforts to bring a TRUE DEVELOPMENT agenda on the negotiation table that must include the following:

Immediate end of trade distorting domestic subsidies
Immediate end of export subsidies and export credits in a way that the national reform programs in the rich countries do not impede the elimination of export subsidies
A substantial numbers of special products and special safeguard mechanisms to be treated according to the situation of the respective poor countries
Green box review to eliminate all trade distorting parts of subsidies
Elimination of blue box
Elimination of tariff peaks and tariff escalation
We, the CSO’s, considering the urgency to discuss WTO related issues and to play our vital role as peoples’ representatives in the ongoing negotiations of the World Trade Organization (WTO);

Call upon the developed countries to stop dumping of their agricultural and industrial products and eliminate all subsidies and export credits, forthwith, from agricultural products;

Urge the developed countries to provide wider market access to exports from developing countries as well as the LDCs and supplement more rapid debt relief with an increased level of new unconditional financial support for the heavily indebted countries;

Call upon various developing countries as well as LDCs to build defensive as well as offensive strategies that promote the interests of the peoples of the developing countries and the LDCs and their economies and to further strengthen the unity and solidarity among the poor nations;

We urge the governments of the South Asian countries to make coordinated efforts and remain firm and committed in articulating and sustaining priorities which promote the interests of their people and their economies.

We assert that the WTO and rich countries must end the undemocratic practices such as mini-ministerial meetings, green room processes, Five Interested Parties (FIPs) etc, and the process should be made transparent and inclusive;

We emphasize that the targets of Millennium Development Goals cannot be met unless the trade distorting subsidies and protection in rich countries are eliminated;

We urge that the rich countries should accept the free flow of semi-skilled and less skilled persons from poor countries;

We urge that rich countries must accept the right of poor countries to protect the food security, livelihood of small farmers, labor rights and local industries;

We also urge that basic needs like education, health and water must not be privatized

We further urge the leaders of developing countries, not to accept any agreement on agriculture that misses out the above-listed critical points;

We emphatically demand that the G-20 should strengthen its relationship with other groups such as G-90, G33 and the LDCs since the rich countries would certainly try to continue their strategy of divide and rule the poor countries in order to strike an unfair deal;

We strongly urge that developing countries should learn from past experiences and must not accept any deal that compromises the interests of poor communities. The EU and the US are likely to strike an informal or formal deal on agriculture (like Blair House in Uruguay Round and Joint Agriculture Statement before Cancun) to impose on other member of WTO before the Hong Kong Ministerial Meeting;

We urge the leaders of developing countries, to reject demands of rich countries to compromise on NAMA and GATS in response to reduction in subsidies and tariffs. In fact, poor countries had already agreed on TRIPs and Services during Uruguay Round in response to the promises of subsidies and tariff reduction in rich countries. Such hopes however never materialized;

We urge the leaders of developing countries to also realize their responsibility to represent the vulnerable communities of their countries, such as small farmers and farm workers, in the Doha Round negotiations rather than only taking care of interests of the agri-business;

Hence, we call upon the leaders of developing countries to build defensive as well as offensive strategies that seek to promote the interests of vulnerable communities of the poor countries and to further strengthen the unity and solidarity among the poor nations.

Part – II: For the Government of India
Food is a basic human right and therefore not just like any other commodity. Almost 90% of the agricultural products in the world are consumed domestically and this in practice remains outside international trade. Only 10% of the world agricultural products are traded internationally and not for the 90% consumed domestically.
The participants have proposed that agricultural trade agreements be based on:


Each nation should have the right and obligation to produce basic food for its own population and ensure food sovereignty. All efforts should be made to reduce poverty and eliminate poverty.

ALL subsidies in agriculture provided by developed countries must be immediately removed. Further, all boxes need to be abolished. Till such subsidies are abolished, the government should not enter into any further negotiations.
Restore import protection through quantitative import restrictions or tariffs. This will be an effective measure for India to secure special strategic products and will serve as a special safeguard mechanism to protect livelihoods.
Protect farmers’ income bys state support on products for domestic consumption but not on products for export or products that end up on the world market (and thus function as hidden or indirect dumping of food).
Export subsidies, export credits and credit insurance should be eliminated beyond the period of 180 days. There is a need for an effective system of market regulation and supply management that stops dumping.
Market Access
Market Access needs to be kept out of WTO negotiations till all subsidies in developed countries are removed immediately. In case the developed countries refuse to remove these subsidies, India must bring back quantitative restrictions to protect its agriculture.
In case of imports of agri-products (e.g. soybean) that have depressed the domestic prices (e.g. oilseeds such as mustard), the government should raise bound rates of tariff to the extent that protects the interest of farmers.
All tariff lines should be kept at the bound levels and no reductions should be made at any cost.

July Framework, 2004
July Framework, 2004, is faulty and against the interest of Indian farmers. It provides opportunity to the developed countries to maintain and further increase subsidies. We therefore demand the total rejection of the July Framework by the government.
Non-existent Export Market
Agriculture exports from India are minuscule at present. Further, a very small proportion of Indian farmers are export oriented. Further, the various tariff and non-tariff barriers make it increasingly difficult for Indian agri-products to enter developed country markets. Therefore, the export potential being projected by the proponents of global trade is quite unrealistic. Given the above, any compromise made to gain access to a non-existent market will be detrimental to the interest of farmers. Instead, the need of the hour is to promote sustainable agriculture.
Trade-off at the Cost of Agriculture
Any trade-off in agriculture for service sector or NAMA is totally unacceptable.
Dairy and Fisheries
The dairy sector provides livelihood to millions of farmers across the country and is also crucial for public health and nutrition needs. Therefore, sustained dumping/ cheap imports of dairy products need to be checked immediately by revising the tariff rates and quotas.
Fisheries should be included under AoA rather than NAMA.
Restore protection of fishing industry and encroachment-free fishing territories of individual countries.
White Paper on WTO
Given the numerous reports of the disastrous impact of AoA on the developing countries, the Govt. of India should demand from WTO to publish a White Paper on the impact of 10 years of AoA.
The government should also immediately issue a White Paper on the 10 years of experience of WTO regime in India.
Multilateral Agreement on Hunger
India along with other developing countries should insist on a Multilateral Agreement on Hunger that protects the food security as well as food sovereignty of developing countries.
Seeds & Patents
No patent on life forms. Farmers’ rights in seed production must be protected.
Sustainable Agriculture, Environment
In most cases, modern agriculture in its drive for achieving higher production has been associated with environmentally harmful practices such as use of agri-chemicals and large scale mono cropping. The government of India should ensure that agricultural production and trade are promoted without harming the environment. Sustainable agriculture and other environment-friendly practices should be recognized and supported.

Protection of Indigenous Knowledge and the rights of tribals
Restore indigenous knowledge for future generations. Adopt rich indigenous knowledge in all development activities especially on agriculture. Tribal groups should not be displaced. Their access to forest products should be maintained. The state must also ensure that land reforms targeted toward the landless and tillers must be carried out from the perspective of social justice and fundamental human rights.

No quid pro quos
Trade is the cause for the pauperization of the rural people. Most of our people depend on agriculture and their situation is worsening due to the terms of trade between agriculture and other sectors. Agriculture in India is a lifestyle rather than a trade issue. Further, it is a mean of livelihood for more than 65% of the population of the country, majority of whom are subsistence farmers. Lack of transparency, nature of the discourse on negotiations and closed-door conspiracies in WTO meetings make this anxiety real. The richer nations are doing this to protect their supremacy and their interests in agriculture, which is largely led by multinationals. Hence all items should be negotiated on their merits and the issues facing farmers, agriculture and rural people cannot be bartered for gains in services, manufacturing, technical assistance or financial aid.

Draft circulated by Pascal Lamy for the Hong Kong Ministerial
Pascal Lamy’s draft text released for the upcoming Ministerial Meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO), if agreed in Hong Kong, will destroy the livelihoods of peasants, small farmers, landless and indigenous peoples, fisher folk and workers the world over.

Where is the promise of development?

The current round of talks is called the Doha Development Round but the draft Ministerial text makes it clear that there is nothing developmental about this round. The text focuses on opening up developing country markets and sidelines the main demand of developing countries for special and differential treatment (S&D).

The so-called “development package” that Lamy is offering to least-developed countries (LDCs) is little more than a public relations stunt. While stating they will live up to promises made to LDCs on development, the text waters down the S&D provisions and resurrects other valueless provisions which were rejected 2 years ago in Cancun. Lamy tries to cover this up with the offer of ‘Aid for Trade’. This is a ploy to confuse and weaken the resistance of developing countries as the program only goes towards building the capacity of developing countries to implement agreements that they were forced to accept in the first place.

Development for Agri-business not for small farmers

The text on Agriculture reflects the positions of exporting countries and the interests of their agri-business. Despite long standing demands to cut their direct and indirect export subsidies; the tabled proposals are “paper-cuts” that do not change the status quo in favour of developing countries. Instead, what the EU and the US have done is reinforce the imbalance by expanding the Blue Box, which will allow an additional US $5billion of farm support for the US and the maintenance of the undisciplined Green Box, which the European Commission will use for its other subsidies.

The text also does not give any date for an end to export subsidies. Such subsidies, which are largely provided to the biggest producers and their agri-business as opposed to family farm based agriculture, will be allowed to continue unabated.

In return for this, developing countries are expected to fully open their markets through drastic tariff reduction and to cut their remaining, if any, domestic supports. It is impossible to see how this Agreement, which threatens to wipe out peasants and small farmers, can be classified as constituting a ‘development round’.

Deindustrialization and loss of livelihoods

The Non-Agricultural Market Access text has been strongly criticized for its bias towards developed countries as it completely glosses over the wide opposition from least developed and developing countries to the proposals.

The text is a threat to developing countries as the draconian formulas proposed threaten to wipe out their industries and remove any future policy space to determine their own development priorities. Proposals put forward by Caribbean and African delegates have been ignored or sidelined in the draft Ministerial text.

The take-over of services

Of all the proposals, however, the services text proves to be the greatest threat of all. It not only glosses over the opposition to this text, it has completely ignored any of the developing countries strong refusals to it. If endorsed, negotiations in services will be intensified along the path of the “plurilateral approach” which subverts the original flexibilities of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). Countries will no longer be able to choose which sectors and how fast they will be liberalized but rather they will be all but forced to enter into sectoral negotiations and give foreign companies equal rights to local suppliers.

Part – III: Role of NGOs in the WTO issues
The members of this august gathering decided that from the signs appearing at various forums it was pretty apparent that the 6th Ministerial Meet at Hong Kong would not be able to achieve its desired outcome and could also land into a partial or complete failure.

Therefore post the 6th Ministerial Meet at Hong Kong, it was decided that

There would be review of what has happened and transpired at the 6th Ministerial Meet at Hong Kong and its future impact on all concerned stakeholders.
To accordingly develop future strategies so as to play an expanded role in the international trading system.
To find a suitable economist who could analyze and critique various papers that emanate out of the World Bank, IMF and other such institutions and bring to the light of the day the real issues
To act as watchdogs, lobbyists and agents of civil society enriching the public dialogue and representing interests not reflected in national government viewpoints and also see and evaluate how government policies impact the peasants, farmers, landless laborers, women, dalits and the marginalised
To mobilize public opinion and be the bridge between state and non-state actors connecting local and global politics
To be change agents offering new viewpoints
To form a forum of parliamentarians under the leadership of Mr. M. D. Mistry - Member of Parliament, who accepted the same, who could put pressure on the government through appropriate methodologies and personnel.
Organised jointly by
South Asian Network for Social & Agricultural Development (SANSAD)

National Centre for Advocacy Studies

Wada Na Todo Abhiyan

List of Participants

Abha Iyengar - SANSAD

Adil - The Hunger Project

Amitabh Behar - National Centre for Advocacy Studies

Anil Singh - SANSAD

Ashok Bharti - NACDOR

Awadesh Kumar - Srijan Lokhit Samiti

B. K. Keayla - National Working Group on Patent Laws

Babu Matthew - ActionAid

Bhaskar Goswami - Forum for Biotechnology & Food Security

Biswajit Dhar - Indian Institute of Foreign Trade

Brijesh Sharma - CECODECON

D. Santosh Kumar - Swadeshi Patrika

Deepak Xavier - CBGA

G. K. Pillai - Ministry of Commerce, Government of India

G. Placid - SAHAYI – Centre for Collective Learning & Action

G. Wakankar - IDMA

Gurinder Kaur - Oxfam Trust

Hans Raj - SAP – India

John Samuel - ActionAid

K. S. Gopal - Centre for Environment Concerns

M. V. Bijulal - Indian Social Institute

Madhusree Banerjee - Oxfam Trust

Narender Kumar - PAIRVI

Nilay Ranjan - One World South Asia

Nupur Khare - Agriculture Today

Paramjeet Bernard - Charkha Development Communication Network

Prakash Gardia - National Centre for Advocacy Studies

R. B. Singh - National Commission on Farmers

Rajul Pant - Srijan Lokhit Samiti

Rakesh K. Singh - SAP – India

Ramesh Kumar - Express Media Service

Ramit Basu - National Social Watch Coalition

Rimi Sen - Amity School of Rural Management

Robin Stevens - SANSAD

Ronald - Centre for Policy Alternatives


Sakina - Voluntary Action Network India

Sanjay Bhatt - Department of Social Work, Delhi University

Shalinder Singh -NAFRE(National Alliance for Right to Education & Equity)

Shiv Kumar - SANSAD

Siddharth Narain - The Hindu

Sunila Singh - National Centre for Advocacy Studies

V. Acharya - SJM Dharmakshetra

Vaibhav Kumar - ICICI Bank

Monday, November 28, 2005

People's Carvan Against WTO in Tarai of UP,India


25th November 2005, Aurahwa Musahar hamlet

# The Cyclists ready for Jan Carvan at Aurahwa near Indo-Nepal Border

Amidst chanting slogans, and lots of enthusiasm, on 25th November- special day against violence against women, Aurahwa Musahar hamlet at Indo-Nepal border in Nichlaul block of Mahrajganj district witnessed the peoples launch of Jan Carvan in Tarai (II) region. With more than 200 men and women present, Bhuwari Devi (A rape victim who fought tooth and nail last year to see finally the culprit sentenced to jail and compensation from government) flagged off the Cyclists in the Cycle Yatra. These cycle riders who would traverse through parts of Maharajganj, Kushinagar, Deoria and Gorakhpur; covering around a distance of 250 KM would arrive finally at historic place Chauri-Chaura. Along the way, the Jan Carvan in the form of Jan Carvan would closely interact with poor communities, peasants and farmers, daily wage labourers, panchayat functionaries, students and other segments of civil society discussing and raising local issues. It would also through public/street corner meetings, street plays, folk dance performance, interface with panchayat and district authorities, mass rally and demonstrations discuss and raise the people’s awareness on impact of WTO/WB policies on poor people’s livelihood, access to natural resources, community decision making and the likes. An interface with District Magistrate Kushinagar in Bheri Jungle on 26 Nov., a mass rally and sit-in at Padrauna district headquarter on 27 Nov., a nukkad natak and folk art exhibition at Deoria district head quarter 2 dec., and WTO/WB/IMF effigy burning and a press conference at Golghar, Gorakhpur on 2 December are other highlights of the Jan Carvan.

# Awadhraj addresses the Sit-in at Nichlaul Tehsil

At the launch of Jan Carvan the CPI (ML) activist Mr. Harish said that feudal and elite forces in beauracracy, state judiciary and media are the main hurdles of land reforms in UP. And now UP Zamindari Abolition Act, 1950 and the Land Ceiling Act 1970 are being modified by the government to suit the interests of private companies in the state. While Kaushilya termed Jan Carvan an opportunity to make our voice heard at highest level at once.

The Cycle Yatra converted into a sit- in demonstration at Nichlaul tehsil office. Addressing the gathering Mr. Gajendra, a lawyer criticized the UPDASP approach of farming and stressed the need for an eco -friendly, people centric and sustainable agriculture policies and practice in UP. Mr. Nilay Upadhyaya of People Forum attacked the flawed banking and credit policies and said it is increasing poor people indebtedness. He also appealed every one to discourage the local informal credit system in the area. Awadhraj, Musahar Vikas Pahal Samiti representative said that PHCs and CHCs are almost always running out of necessary medicines and high cost of medicines at private stores makes it impossible for poor to save his/her ailing family member. He said it was most ironical to see that poor people’s children died of Japanese Encephalitis due to lack of medicines. Musahar Manch representative Srikant highlighted the pathetic state of primary education in Mahrajganj. Likewise Udassi, Bhikhari, Basmati, Methailal, spoke and expressed their resentment on the current affairs of development. One by one they highlighted the issues of food, hunger and livelihood, recurring floods, minimum wage and fair wage, use of compine harvesting machines, violence on women, high cost of seeds and their unavailability in the area and migration and related hazards. It was collectively shared that 3 December wont end the Jan Carvan in Chari-Chaura but rather would mark a beginning of an ongoing process of constant struggle against the imperialist policies of developed nation. Finally a Memorandum addressed to the Chief Minister of UP was handed over to Tehsildar Nichlaul and Carvan proceeded for Charbharia village for Ratri Jagran Shivir with chanting slogans “Bhookh Nahi Kaam Chahiye” and “Bajar Nahi Khet Chahiye”….

Representatives of Musahar Manch, Laghu Simant Krishak Morcha, Right To Food Campaign UP, Bhartiya Kisan Union, Peoples Union for Human Rights, Naujawan Bharta Sabha, CPI (ML), Musahar Vikas Pahal Samiti, Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar Gramodhyog Sewa Samiti, People Forum, PGSS, SEEDs, and Shaswat were present at the launch and daylong demonstrations of Jan Carvan

26 October, 2005

Chitauni Bridge, Bheri Jungle and Padrauna in Kushinagar District

The Gram Panchayat of Charbharia passes a resolution against WTO policies. Addressed to Prime Minister the resolution by local panchayat says that farmers, weavers and artisan’s livelihoods are in danger hence there must not be any agreement on these three areas at Hong Kong Ministerial meeting. Now from Charbharia village the Carvan has started off for Bheri Jungle. En route the Carvan addressed three public meetings at Jehda, Katahri and Siswa.

At 01 O’clock, nearly 20 people welcomed the Cycle Yatris. The Carvan headed straight for Bheri Jungle Musahar hamlet where District Magistrate of Kushinagar Mr. Prabhu Dayal Srinivas is arrived for an interface. A good an hour interaction with DM took place. Radheshyam and Tettunia Devi raised the issues of distribution of Ceiling Land to landless. Chandrika and kaushilya proposed to start a collective fishery enterprise if the large piece of water logged land (the same has become a sort of pond) is granted permission for. Omprakash and Chanjyoti demanded Indira Awas for deseving poor people in the village. The DM said now its time to act. He asked the MVPS volunteers to come prepare with concrete proposals in the office for further action. He assured that if Musahars were willing there would be no dearth of work. Before that Vibhuti Chauhan and Srikant from MVPS spoke about the Jan Carvan.

In the evening the Carvan headed for Narayanpur Village, where they found a waiting Pradhan Mr. Ramesnsingh Chauhan with garlands and other villagers. After quick refreshment there were song and dance sequels before a meeting with panchayat members. Tomorrow the Jan Cravan will stage a rally at district headquarter Padrauna.

Report from

MVP and MVPS, Kushinagar

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Jan carvan and Karma festival against WTO-WB-IMF

Jan Carvan against WTO in eastern UP:

On 14.10.2005 a Dharna was organized by Bunkar Dastkar Adhikar Manch before District Magistrate Varanasi to protest the policies of WTO, IMF and World Bank. In this Dharna hundreds of weavers gathered from different parts of the district. Weavers submitted a memorandum to ACM (first) Varanasi, who appeared at Dharna on behalf of DM Varanasi.In their memorandum weavers demanded to halt NAMA, which is supposed to be introduced in ministerial meeting of WTO in HongKong. Weaver and Artisans signed the 4 meters banner with message of anti-NAMA demand. They shouted slogans of down –down. WTO. In this dharana hunger victims Vishambhar was also present. On the same day a press conference was organized by Jan Karvan against WTO, eastern UP in which Dr Lenin and Raj Kumari Gandhi made demand to halt the NAMA and asked the Indian Government to clarify his position on NAMA before the Indian people. He warned that if NAMA was accepted it will have disastrous effect on Indian weavers and on other marginalized communities. People’s Caravan will start its campaign in eastern UP from Balia on 24 Nov., 05, because Balia has historical importance to initiate movement against colonialism in British era. It is a land of Chittu Pandey, who led a movement against British imperialism and established independent administration in Balia for 24 hours.
On 17.11.2005 once again a press conference was organized by Hong Kong based human rights organization AHRC and Varanasi based people’s human rights organization PVCHR on KARMA FESTIVAL for land, employment and food and against World Bank-IMF-WTO, which is scheduled on 25.11.2005 - International Day Against Violence on Women would be celebrated with special focus on food security and the women in Varanasi. Famous Sarod Maestro Vikash Maharaj told that KARMA is a folk dance of Ghasia tribe of Sonbhadra. He told to media persons that 18 children in 2002-03 had been died of hunger in Raup village belonging to Ghasia Tribe and parents of the same children who died of hunger is going to perform Karma Dance in protest of WTO and in support of plural culture of Country. He told that through the policies of WTO, IMF and World Bank Indian Government was being forced to go away from the policies of welfare state and that was creating havoc among marginalized farmers, weavers and other communities and it has thrown the people on the verge of malnutrition and starvation. He said that it was duty of every Indian to come on to protest the policies of WTO-WB-IMF. Especially he called for to organized nationwide protest against NAMA, which is going to be discussed in Hong Kong next month in ministerial meeting of WTO. Ashok Sinha of Action aid International, India told that the festival would also be a symbolic protest against the decision taken by the government to withdraw subsidy on the raw materials and implements used in weaving.
Further women Human Rights activist Shruti Nagvanshi told that 152 Gram Panchayats in district Balia, UP have signed a memorandum in the protest of NAMA which would be taken to Hong Kong to give force to the protest of NAMA. In this a 30-meter long banner is being signed by so many dignitaries, which will be displayed in Hong Kong to protest NAMA on behalf of Indian people. Karma is a tribal’s resistance against monoculture of Brahmanism as well as imperialism.

From Kachnar of Varanasi in the leadership of Nandlal associated with Asha a Sampoorn kranti Yatra has been started from 23 Nov. 2005 under the banner of NAPM and Lok Samiti against the policies of WTO and Coca and Pepsi. The demand of this yatra is that India should come out of the WTO. It will end its journey at Coca Cola Plant in Mehdi ganj of Varanasi on 30 Nov. 2005.
Activists Spotlight Hunger Deaths of Indian Children
OneWorld South Asia
Fri., Nov. 7, 2003

NEW DELHI, Nov 7 (OneWorld) - The death of 18 children between July and September, allegedly due to lack of food, has sparked concerns about growing starvation in a landless indigenous community in a remote village in northern India.

As the Indian government belatedly wakes up to the long festering issue, with a decision to distribute free food packets, human rights activists working in the Sonebhadra district of the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, stress that the food aid is insufficient to keep starvation at bay.

"The death of these 18 children highlights only the tip of the iceberg," says the People's Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR), a rights body based in the Uttar Pradesh city of Varanasi.

The activists fear that if the government does not give land for cultivation to the people - belonging to the Ghasia tribe - they will continue to starve. "The situation is still extremely bleak," says PVCHR convener Lenin Raghuvanshi.

The children of the Ghasia tribe - all aged between three and seven - died between July and September this year in Naibasta hamlet in Sonebhadra district in eastern Uttar Pradesh. PVCHR says that though local newspapers reported the deaths, the district administration chose to ignore the issue.

"They died of the disease of hunger, what else," Somaro, a village elder, told a PVCHR team that recently visited the area to probe the starvation deaths.

"As soon as the team entered the village, all children, women and the old gathered to see who had come. We found that most of the children were mere skeletons, as if their body and flesh had been sapped away. It was obvious that they were being dragged into the cruel clutches of death," the team said in a report to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) - a New Delhi-based government-instituted body.

On the basis of the complaint, the NHRC Tuesday asked the Uttar Pradesh administration to examine the allegations. The state authorities have to present their report to the NHRC within six weeks.

"At a recent meeting, the full commission noted that if the allegations were true, the matter required urgent attention by the authorities, as precious human rights of the tribals were alleged to have been violated," NHRC says in a statement.

The Ghasia tribe has been living in a settlement declared a forest area by the government. Decades ago, the tribe made the forest their home, after fleeing their ancestral villages to escape the tyranny of the region's feudal landlords.

PVCHR says they cleared a part of the forest and cultivated coarse grains for food. Dependent on forest produce, they supported themselves by making and selling brooms out of grass, combs and clay drums.

But forest officials drove them out of the woods, and the villagers were forced to settle in an area just near a district town.

Here, officials of the government-run Forest Department reportedly did not allow them to forage for food in the forests.

According to Lenin, as a consequence, the families are surviving on poisonous grass and wild mushrooms for the last four years.

"The adults somehow managed to survive the ill effects of the poisonous intake, but the little children were unable to tolerate the poison and succumbed to death," PVCHR says.

After the NHRC's intervention, food was distributed to the affected families on Wednesday. Lenin stresses though, that the Ghasia people need land for survival.

Only land distribution and agrarian reform can stave off deaths, he says.

Lenin states that 40 nongovernmental organizations in eastern Uttar Pradesh have launched a movement to press the demand for land for the Ghasia people.

The organizations plan to hold demonstrations and launch a signature campaign for this.

Struggle against Hunger is going on..
After agriculture, weaving is the lifeline in the eastern part of Uttar Pradesh. There are an estimated 5 lakh (million) weavers in the district of Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh. As a result of a slowdown in the weaving industry since the last four to five years, several weavers have lost their jobs, are on the look out for alternative means of livelihood and are barely surviving. Being illiterate, over half of them have been forced to take up menial jobs like pulling rickshaws. Several have opened tea stalls and other small shops. Some have migrated. But not all have been able to find an alternative means of livelihood and source to feed them. They depend on the public distribution system (PDS) for their survival.

The public distribution system is made up of ration shops across the country through which grains, sugar, cooking oil and so on are sold at subsidized rates. Depending on the type of card allotted a person is entitled to subsidised items from the ration shops. There are mainly two types of cards available. APL (Above Poverty Line) cards for the families of Above the Poverty Line and BPL (Below Poverty Line) cards for those families belonging to Below Poverty Line. Other cards coming under the BPL category were the AAY (Anthyodaya Anna Yojana Scheme) cards for the poorest families among the BPL families and ANP (Annapurna Scheme) meant for the senior citizens above the age of 65 in BPL families. The PDS is not without flaws. Prices of items in the PDS are sometimes too high not affordable to some of the poor who as a result starve to death. The process of identifying the poor is flawed as many a times the poorest do not get identified as AAY recipients. In addition the PDS is ridden with corruption worsening the situation of the poor.
Vishambhar son of Ram Nandan aged about 35 yrs belongs to a landless scheduled caste family of village Shankarpur under Chiraigoan Block, PS-Chaubepur in district Varanasi,UP,India.
He is a weaver. He took loan of Rs. 6000 from kashi Gramin Bank in 1991 and established a handloom at his home and used to earn livelihood for his 7 members family by weaving. There were total almost 5 lakhs weavers in the district of Varanasi. As a result of slow down in the weaving industry since last four to five years, most of them have lost their jobs. Vishambhar was one of them. Vishambher lost his job as a weaver but he had no land or any other source of income. Then he resolved to continue weaving at the house of his Gaddidar in Varanasi city but after some time his Gaddidar was also forced to close down his own loom.
Due to this Vishambher once again lost his job and could not be able to get job of weaving for himself again and there appeared imminent apprehension of starvation before his whole family.
Vishambher’s wife Jigna Devi joined Satyam Self Help Group (SHG), which was promoted by a NGO named HUMAN WELFARE ASSOCIATION. Jigna Devi took a loan of Rupees two thousands from SHG to give the bribe to village secretary for allotment of land. But land allotted to them was unfertile and un- productive and they could crop up nothing from that land. They got indebted but their family forced to go through the starvation.
Here it is to be noted that what the role of SHGs is for the poor people who need entitlement for their rights to right- livelihood? Therefore it is quiet clear that this type of self-help group is good for nothing. SHGs have no vision to ensure the entitlements in favour of poor people, so that they could earn their livelihood with dignity.
Vishambhar’s starving family suffered from acute malnutrition and hunger related illness. Despite facing starvation his family was not given a red ration card under the AAY and not identified as a beneficiary of subsidized food grains from the public distribution system. Due to the dereliction of duty on the part of village panchayat secretary and gram pradhan Vishambher wife Jigna died on April 16, 2005 and his 16 years old daughter Soni died on April 21 due to starvation and hunger related diseases. But it was not the end of agony. On May 21 his two-month old son also died of hunger and malnutrition. Due to the help of Lok Chetana Samiti three children of starving weaver family were sent to SOS children village at Caubeypur, Varanasi.
People’s Vigilance committee on Human Rights (PVCHR) taking the matter up of starving family filed the petitions to NHRC, Supreme Court’s Commissioners, DM and Chief Minister of UP.PVCHR raised the matter before the AHRC and FIAN international, then both human rights organizations launched hunger alert letter campaign to appropriate authorities. In the case of hunger deaths after the intervention of AHRC and FIAN international, BDO had given 20 kg rice, 50 kg wheat and 3 litres kerosene oil, but all that has finished very soon. He received AAY red card after a long battle about it.In spite of the fact that district administration has given Rs. 25 thousand for housing and 10 thousand under national family benefit scheme, but it is matter of great regret that village secretary has not handed over the money to Vishambher till today except the half installment of hosing scheme . United Nations Human Rights Commission in its Asia Pacific Daily News Review (10th June, 2005) has reported Vishambhar’s case from hunger alert of AHRC.This case of hunger deaths was published in so many newspapers from local level to national level.Vishambhar met with Mr. Jean Ziegler,UNCHR Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food on 22 August 2005 in New Delhi and reported him about his miseries and told him that there were total 400 weavers families in his village were facing imminent starvation. There is a weaver named Kanhaiya who died on 18 September 05. His plight of starvation and death has been published in Times of India, Lucknow edition. In spite of the so called expenditure of rupees 1.36 lacs under the scheme of SGRY during 2004-2005 but most of its inhabitants have been seemingly kept away from scheme and Vishambhar and family of Kanhaiya have been forced for begging. Under the scheme of food for work there is a pond near temple has been dug. In the digging of pond rules and regulation of food for work was totally ignored and machines was used in digging work.
Having met with Dr. Lenin from PVCHR,Vishambhar told about the starving families of his village. He told that nobody wanted to come forward from my village to take the matter before appropriate authority because people from upper caste and neo feudal backward community fear that they would be disgraced to take the actual condition of weaver’s family up before the society or civil society and therefore they are following the policy of silence. He told Dr. Lenin on 5th September 05 that he had begged ten rupees and hope that he would manage to get food for one time after two days.
Trade union working in Varanasi named as Boonkar –Dastkar Adhikar Manch(forum on rights of weavers and crafts persons) took up the issue of hunger death of a weaver family seriously and has decided to organize convention on the rights of weavers and has decided to launch a nation wide campaign for the rights of the weavers in era of globalization.
Convenor of PVCHR,Dr. Lenin and a member of district food and supply advisory committee, Shruti Nagvanshi filed petition on 19 September,05 with DM, Supreme Court’s Commissioners and NHRC on hunger death of Kanhaiya. It was demanded that enquiry should be made immediately about hunger deaths, social audit on SGRY,to provide the assistance to widow of Kanhaiya under the national family benefit scheme,and village secretary should be ordered to hand over the cheques to Vishambhar.
Despite so many ambitious schemes and programmes conducted by Indian Government and directions given by Supreme Court to implement these schemes, it seems that there is a little change at gross root level and incident of hunger deaths are on increase without any effective resistance. Almost whole population of scheduled cast and scheduled tribes work hard to earn their livelihood and are involved in all sorts of menial jobs but they get very meager returns for their hardworking and it becomes impossible for them to live a healthy life and as a result earning members of such SC/ST families become very soon an easy prey of malnutrition and if they once fall ill, they can hardly recover from illness and ultimately die a painful death leaving behind their whole family to die a tragic hunger death.
AHRC issued hunger alert and again issued update on it. FIAN International also issued an urgent appeal and again launched the hotline campaign on this case on 16 October 2005 (World Food Security Day).AS a result of this wife of Kanhaiya and Vishambhar were given AAY-red card and Kanhaiya’s wife Sheela was given ten thousand rupees by District Administration under the National Family Benefit

Saturday, November 05, 2005

UPDATE (India): Updates on death threats to human rights activists working with dalit and marginalized group in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh

UPDATE (India): Updates on death threats to human rights activists working with dalit and marginalized group in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh


Update on Urgent Appeal

19 August 2005

[RE: UA-138-2005: INDIA: Human rights activist facing death threats for working with Dalit and Backward Community]
UP-100-2005: INDIA: Updates on death threats to human rights activists working with dalit and marginalized group in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh

INDIA: Intimidation of human rights defenders

Dear friends,

The article below includes the updates regarding the death threats to human rights activists working with dalit and marginalized group in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India (UA-138-2005). It shows how your support gives an impact to improve the protection of the poor and encourage them to participate in the movement regaining their rights.

We could vote after twenty seven years

"It was like getting some water and food after a long starvation. It was like a rain after long drought…" says Ms. Bhagawathi and Ms. Kalawathi. They could not hide their happiness after being able to cast their vote in Belwa Village for the Village Panchayath election held on 17 August 2005.

For the last 27 years the dalits and the backward community in Belwa Village in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India were not able to cast their vote in any election. The upper caste dominated village in Varanasi District of Utter Pradesh never allowed the lower caste community to enjoy their right to vote. The reasons are manifold. The lower caste and the backward community is a source of free labour and faced all sought of exploitation. The caste Hindus were afraid that if their slaves were allowed to vote, they would capture power which might eventually put an end to their exploitation.

For the Village Panchayath election which just concluded on 17 August 2005, Mr. S. N. Giri, an accepted figure and human rights activist working for the dalits and the backward community filed his nomination as a candidate. Mr. Rajendra Thiwari, the former Village Headman who held the post unchallenged for about 25 years immediately realized the threat to his unchallenged power. He had contested the election formerly through his wife when the seat was reserved for a woman candidate. Mr. Thiwari and his men threatened Mr. Giri and told him that if he did not withdraw his nomination he and his colleague Mr. Lenin Raghuvanshi of People’s Vigilance Committee for Human Rights (PVCHR) and their family members would be assassinated.

On receipt of the threat Mr. Lenin of PVCHR contacted the AHRC seeking for help to intervene in the situation. The AHRC immediately issued an Urgent Appeal through its urgent appeals network (See further: UA-138-2005) and also contacted various other local and international organisations, including the UN bodies calling for immediate protection of Mr. Giri and Mr. Lenin. The UN responded through its Special Procedures Branch for Human Rights Defenders. The AHRC also contacted various government bodies and foreign consulates in India seeking support.

Due to the immense pressure from various corners, including from local and international organisations there was a response from the state government. The person who called Mr. Lenin and threatened him was arrested and later released on bail. There was a huge police presence during the immediate days prior to election and during the day of election. The following statement by Mr. Lenin itself would show how elections were held in the past and how it was held on 17 August 2005.

I am Dr. Lenin, and I work with the PVCHR, an ngo working for the dalits and the backward community in Utter Pradesh. This 17th was the election at Belwa. During the last years no other person were allowed to file nomination here other than those approved by Mr. Rajendra Thiwari. This time we asked Mr. S. N. Giri to file in his nomination. We thought he could give a fair contest since the majority of the people in this place are dalits and members from the backward community. They never had an opportunity to participate in the democratic process. So we thought there should be somebody whom the members from the dalit and the backward community could trust and could make their voice heard at places of authority. This would also help to break the servitude.

Form the day Mr. Giri filed the nomination; we started getting threats in various forms. Finally when somebody called me over my telephone and categorically said that all of us involved with the work of PVCHR and Mr. Giri would be dealt with and that Mr. Giri and myself would be assassinated, I realized that things have gone too far from what we could manage. I called up the Asian Human Rights Commission in Hong Kong and updated them the situation. Later I came to know that they have issued urgent appeals on our case calling in for support from various corners.

Support did come in. many people contacted me over telephone and inquired about the situation which in itself was a great relief. I mean to say that when you understand that one is not alone, that itself is a motivation to continue the work. The next day to all of our surprise the person who contacted me over telephone was arrested by the local police which had never happened in the past. Those who said that the police would never dare to touch them and that the police is with them found that the same police coming up against them. I am sure that it is not because the police wanted to do so, on their own, but because that they realized that if they did not do anything they would be exposed.

The police did something which never happened in the past. They came with public address systems and announced at the upper caste Hindu areas that if anyone would create confusion and commotion preventing the dalits and the lower caste from casting their vote they would be immediately taken into custody according to law. Similarly they went to the lower caste houses and announced that they are free to cast their vote and that every protection would be given for them to exercise their right. This continued for two days immediately prior to the election.

The day of poling was interesting. The dalits and the backward community started pouring in from the morning. But initially many stood behind and watched and once they were sure that no one would attack them as in the past they formed long queues and cast their vote. One another interesting element is that the women from the upper caste also came in huge numbers. Probably Mr. Thiwari was convinced that unless he let their women to exercise their right he would fail the election. The District magistrate also came to the place early in the morning and announced that anyone who disrupts the election proceeding would be immediately taken into custody and those who attempt armed attack would be shot.

At about 1 pm some people, whom we suspect are the aides of Mr. Thiwari tried to cast vote on false names and tried playing fraud. To our surprise they were arrested and taken into custody. To my memory, but for this election, never was there an election here which could be anywhere called as an election. On the election day people employed by the upper caste candidate would come, take all the ballot papers, fix the seal of the candidate of their choice and the put it back in the ballot box and the entire election would be over within a matter of few hours and those who challenged this never could live in Belwa anymore.

But this time it was different. I do not know how to thank all those who made this possible for us. Now the question is to maintain the same calm and peace for the counting, which is coming up next week. I hope things will go smoothly. This is the result of a collective work.

Dr Lenin Raghuvanshi

The whole example shows when the protection of the poor improves, they spontaneously participate in the democratic process.

Urgent Appeals Desk
The Asian Human Rights Commission

Posted on 2005-08-19

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Sunday, October 30, 2005

A breif history of struggle against hunger in UP

A brief history of struggle against hunger in UP

Shiv Prasad Singh (Adv.) and Tanweer Ahmed Siddiqui (ADV.)

Chief secretary of UP Sri V.K. Mittal formulized some rules under DO No. 4426/29-6-2004-146/2004 dated 22 December 2004 for the disposal of complaints in relation to deaths caused by hunger and malnutrition. This formulation is result of ongoing strenuous campaign against hunger in UP. It is also mentioned in the rules, “. ----- In spite of that this fact has been brought into the knowledge of the Government that the cases of hunger and malnutrition, occurred at village level, are not attended within time and redressed. Such incidents of hunger and malnutrition are publicized by media / news papers and brought into the knowledge of supreme court commissioners by NGOs and due to this state government has to face unpleasant situations.” Thus it is clear that the rules dated 22-12-2004 have been formulized due to the initiative taken by and pressure created by media and various social organizations. Before the formulization of the rules dated 22-10-04, Special secretary of UP Government Sri Prabhat Chandra Chaturvedi had sent a letter (letter No. 3872/29-6-04) dated 9 Novermber 2004 to supreme court commissioners Mr.S.R. Shankaran and Mr. N.C. Saxena and in this letter UP Government had explicitly stated about the formulation of aforesaid rules dated 22Dec.2004. Let’s make a review of this.

On the complaint of Dr Lenin of PVCHR about the cases of malnutrition of children in Varanasi, and on the complaint of sri BD Rawat of social development foundation about starving people of Ghasia tribe of village Raup in Sonbhadra and on the complaint of a woman for not to get the benefit of state family benefit scheme, Hon’ble commissioners of supreme court issued notice on 22-9-04 to chief secretary of UP Government. A high level committee was formed under the chairpersonship of state commissioner of food and supply to make an enquiry in respect of aforesaid complaints. Enquiry committee made a visit of concerned places from 4-10-04 to 7-10-04. Enquiry committee visited to the office of PVCHR and met with children Chandan ,Malka and their father Mr. Umashankar, who had been suffering from IV Grade malnutrition due to prolonged hunger. Convener of PVCHR Dr. Lenin had a talk with the members of enquiry committee and pleaded that there was a need of emergency fund and accountability mechanism at village level to fight against hunger and malnutrition effectively. Dr. Lenin and Smt Shruti raised two main demands in their complaint dated 28 August 04 illustrating the case of Malka and Chandan. First demand was made that if information was not provided to district administration within time in the case of hunger and malnutrition then action should be taken against village Pradhan and village secretary. The other demand was to reject the registration of Manav Vikash Evam Uthan Samiti, which boasts to work for the welfare of children. It should be noted that village head Lalman Pal of village Rassipatti was associated with this samiti and which had its office at the distance of 100 metres from the house of the hunger stricken family. This incident of hunger and malnutrition was reported to AHRC in Hongkong and AHRC issued an appeal on his website which has a worldwide network of 2 million people and exerted pressure on state government of UP. On the other hand newspapers gave wide publicity to this case. Especially a journalist named Surojit Chetarji of Hindustan’ created pressure on district administration by continuous follow up of the case. And thus as a result of long battle UP Government got awakened and took initiative to formulize the rules of historical importance. Chief secretary Prabhat chaturvedi in his letter dated 9-11-04 to the commissioners of Supreme Court, promised to make an action plan to check the incidents of hunger and malnutrition. He commented “The incidents of hunger and malnutrition are taking place at village level. District administration and Government do not get the information of these incidents of remote villages within time. Therefore serious consideration is being made to give appropriate rights to the village level officials and to fix their accountability in this respect”

He further said, “At present sufficient fund has been made available to every district magistrate to provide help to needy people and direction has been given to them to provide instant help to avoid incidents of hunger and malnutrition.”

Thus due to continuous and effective advocacy done by PVCHR based on the facts, first time UP Government accepted that there had been problem of hunger and malnutrition in the state and had also identified slow down in handloom weaving industry and problem of unemployment among weavers. PVCHR thinks that it should be made an effective tool to protest the policies of WTO, World Bank and IMF. PVCHR has been campaigning against the policies of WTO and World Bank since 1996. On the initiative of PVCHR Colombo declaration was made on 30 May 2004, Banares declaration was issued on 26 June 2003 and in January 2005, South Asian People’s Conference was organized and a South Asian People’s Declaration was issued against the policies of Free trade and WTO, which are milestones in the struggle against hunger. On the death of 18 children caused by hunger and malnutrition, belonging to Ghasia Tribe who having displaced from Marcuri got settled at village Raup in district Sonbhadra, Dr. Lenin prepared an extensive report and complained with NHRC. NHRC expressing his serious concern over it, issued notice to chief secretary of U.P. government.

After that National Television & Media gave much publicity to this incident of children’s death and attracted the attention of various National & International Organization and inspired them to take initiative to stop such incidents. PVCHR has been working hard to organize the people of Ghasia Tribe. 70 Red Cards and 10 Annapurna Cards were distributed and an ICDS center was opened and now many children are joining school. PVCHR by developing cooperation with AHRC and VOP and by the help of MISEREOR (Germany) has advanced in the direction of making this Ghasia ghetto of Raup into an ideal village, which would be free from hunger and malnutrition within three year and Ghasia Tribe would be the center of establishment of people’s right against hunger and exploitation. The land on which people of Ghasia Tribe have been livings since 2000 belongs to Forest Department. PVCHR has been strengthening the struggle to ensure the possession of Ghasia Tribe over the land under section 122 B (4f), ZA&LR Act, and has also been struggling to ensure their right to vote.

Meanwhile PVCHR taking the matter of Ghasia Tribe of Raup village up sent a letter to NHRC on 7 September 2004,in which 62 hunger and malnutrition cases of death were reported in Eastern U.P. and a copy of this letter was also sent to the Commissioners of Supreme Court. Supreme Court Commissioners issued notice to Chief Secretary of U.P. Government and stated that Musahar, Nut, Kanjar & Weavers were in pitiable condition and deprived. Supreme Court Commissioner also proposed to setup an enquiry committee taking representatives of social organizations and civil society, to look in to the cases of deaths occurred in UP.

After this Musahar Vikas Pahal highlighted the hunger death of Nagina Mushar of Doghara village in Kushinagar District. On its report Ashok Sinha of Action Aid complained with Supreme Court Commissioners (SCC). SCC issued notice to Chief Secretary of U.P on 25 Nov.04. Government. Soon after this under the Right to Food campaign of UP, PVCHR, People’s Forum and Musahar Vikas Pahal having made a visit of Kushinagar prepared an elaborated report and sent it to the Supreme Court Commissioners and NHRC. NHRC in this respect issued notice to District Magistrate of Kushinagar. Dr. Lenin complained that Maharajgang District administration had cooperated with Musahar Vikas Pahal and had done good job for the upliftment of Musahar but Kushinagar District Administration had not been cooperating. After the notice of NHRC, District Administration of Kusinagar cooperated with Musahar Vikas Pahal, which has been symbol of people’s movement. To collect facts, to develop people’s movement and to increase the participation of victims have been strategy of PVCHR and Musahar Vikas Pahal in struggle against hunger and malnutrition and it has been very helpful for marginalized communities. This booklet based on critical study is being published with definite purpose to organize struggle against hunger and malnutrition and being requested to use it for people’s mobilization at large so that any official, responsible for hunger and malnutrition could be exposed and punished.

Thus on the basis of the facts as above mentioned it is clear that right to food is very much linked with the rule of law.

Brief of ruling of UP state dated 22 Dec. 2004:

Ø UP Government has accepted that there are cases of Malnutrition and Hunger in UP.

Ø An emergency fund has been established to provide immediate help to the hunger victims at village level.

Ø Rights have been given to Village secretary and village pradhan to provide the emergency help up to 1000 Rs. Per victim to all hunger victims in village.

Ø There has been established accountability mechanism from Village level to state level.

Dr. Lenin
Campaign Coordinator
Right to Food Campaign,UP
SA 4/2 A, Daualtpur, Varanasi-221002

Friday, October 21, 2005

Varanasi Weaver Trust

On behalf of the Silk Weavers of Varanasi please allow me to congratulate you on endorsing and setting in motion the Varanasi Weavers Trust on the lines of the Reports we have submitted to you, viz. the Concept Paper of 16 July 2004 and the Project Document “Bringing The Capital market Home To The People” of 01 June 2005.

The Union Government Minister of Textiles recognized the importance of this area and methodology and has launched this as a solution for the traditional industries, especially in textiles, facing problems in India. We would be grateful if the Honorable Minister would launch the concept and overall program as an Indian Solution. We believe the name “Social Investment Trusts” would be a suitable name for the scheme.

The Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, and his Government, has acted swiftly to make the Varanasi Weavers’ case the first test case or pilot project of this scheme. It would create a model and real experience to guide the application of the scheme by other authorities in India. We would be grateful if the Honorable Chief Minister would launch this specific Varanasi scheme within the overall concept of the Union Minister of Textiles. We believe that the name “Varanasi Weavers’ Social Investment Trust” would be a suitable name for the scheme.

We suggest that a simultaneous launch of the Government of India program for “Social Investment Trusts” and the UP program for the “Varanasi Weavers’ Social Investment Trust” be held at a convenient early date. Please be kind enough to consider and approve 15 January 2006 and to appoint a co-ordinator to assemble the necessary launch documents and events.

Friday, 16 July 2004




Dr Darin C Gunesekera

Chapter 1 OBJECTIVES 3
Chapter 2 The Present Situation 3
A High Growth 3
B Weavers 4
Chapter 3 The Concept 5
A System of Trusts 5
B Industry 6
Chapter 4 Implementation 7

1. To improve and bring to modern development the Baranasi Saree Industry
2. To implement the Master Plan for Varanasi District
3. To re-house in decent housing the workers and the poor registered as residents of Varanasi
4. To enable the craftsmen to become artisans or artists in the weaving of sarees or skilled workers of the weaving industry.
5. To recognise the Rights and Economics of the combination of home and workplace of Varanasi weavers.
6. To create share financing and trust financing of the business.
7. To develop business specialisation and competitive trade in the industry

Chapter 2 The Present Situation

A High Growth
The city of Varanasi and Varanasi District is growing rapidly owing to its role as a transportation hub, to the growth of domestic agriculture and industries and to the growth of tourism and specialised visitors to the Holy City of Benares, Sarnath and the Universities of Varanasi.

These are major growth factors. Owing to this, there is a transport plan for the District that has been implemented in part providing for new roads and bridges. There is in fact a need to revise these plans for greater than planned growth that is clearly happening.

It is also clear that the airport will have to be improved and a greater volume of air traffic planned for.

There is a master plan for Varanasi District that includes consideration of these factors. The master plan features the situation of Varanasi as a historic and holy city.

There is a growing possibility that the Master Plan under estimates the future growth pressure on Varanasi as there is greater pressure of inflows of people from the countryside and other less developed urban areas into Varanasi than has been imagined in the past. The reason is that the opening of India to tourism has been under estimated and also the pressure on population to migrate to urban centres of growth as a result of the policy of globalisation. One may speculate but cannot say for certain.

However it is clear that Varanasi is a growing urban area that may expect growth in its low income as well as middle class income population.

It is recognised that this will place great pressure on the social infrastructure of Varanasi District. That is, its water supply, sewage, drainage, electricity and phone services that are strained at present will have even greater strain. There will be greater demands on the education and health systems. There will be greater pressure on the road network, even though the major roadways are being built.

The Planners have taken these into account.

The Master Plan calls for a relocation of population away from the crowded city centre and the creation of new commercial/ business centres. A re-distribution of population and commerce is required. In general the familiar need in Indian cities for re-development, re-housing and re-generation is recognised.

B Weavers
India is a nation growing rapidly in modernisation and technology. It is not surprising that the cities of India, especially those that are transport hubs, will be of high urban growth. They have common problems, now compounded by the impact of globalisation.

However Varanasi has a further situation that is unique. It is the home of Baranas Silks. This has been its pride, joy and source of commercial wealth for many centuries. As a result it has a population of nearly eight lakhs of weaver craftsmen of whom 3 lakhs have taken up other employment and substantial others are leaving the industry daily.

Varanasi has the greatest name in sarees in India and its most famous tradition of artwork silks. It has most of the export market for craft silks of India. But this industry faces what experts suggest to be “certain” ruin. It has domestic rivals. It has its master craftsmen being spirited away to Nepal and China to develop new industries there. With China joining WTO, an end in 2005 to all systems of textile trade restrictions and China’s growing need for exports, under a centrally planned industrial strategy, the threat to Varanasi from China is very real.

The Varanasi silk industry faces collapse due to Chinese expansion into silks and sarees. The Varanasi industry also faces ruin due to cost increases in its input silk material from domestic producers protected from Chinese or other import competition under recent decisions. The industry also faces collapse due to competition from power loom and industrialised systems of saree production in other parts of India.

There is little doubt that the state of the industry as it exists today from an earlier industrial age is no longer tenable.

This creates a serious problem as the livelihoods of the largest number of persons in Varanasi are under threat of closure. Rather than being a growth city with a population of growing economic strength, Varanasi faces a prospect not unlike the ghetto ridden cities of America. The city has strong growth prospects. But at its core is an inner city population facing prospects of low income employment or unemployment.

Varanasi has a master plan. But the plight of the weavers threatens it, as it may destroy the economics of the plan at the core.

This is the ticking economic bomb at the heart of Varanasi.

Chapter 3 The Concept

A System of Trusts
The geography of Varanasi may be placed into a system of Trusts.

A Trust is defined for a geographic area that may be a few blocks of land and a few buildings or a large area. The lands need not be contiguous.

The Trust is a statement of intent for this area that will be a matter of commercial and residential and social development. It can become operational only if ALL the landowners and the persons possessing encumbrances or rights on the properties join the Trust. They will do so by surrendering their rights to the Trust and accepting Certificates stating their new beneficial rights under the Trust. The ONLY beneficiaries of the Trust shall be these Certificate owners and new Certificate owners who enter through cash investment. All the rights and beneficial interests shall be defined fully in the Trust Deed and explained, with responsibility, to all.

In particular, the self employed and those who may become self employed shall be members of the Trust.

Weavers, with full description of current status, shall be within the Trust. The purpose of the Trust is to act as a co-operative for their work and also as custodian for their property.

Where property is concerned, it is very much more commercially viable to act under the Trust format than any other. It corporatises the interests of all concerned and its Articles enshrine their interests and beneficial outcomes.

B Residences
The Trust must have a bare buildable land to start with. This will be built to a design that the members agree to move into. They give up their land and buildings that are to be replaced in the dense city area and agree to a new location. The land value that is given up in total will compensate for the cost of the new residences.

This is a market transaction. Where the weavers are concerned it is envisaged that they will be able to move into residences that provide workplace facilities. They will congregate around a centre for the trade. The Trust will build the trade centre as part of its regeneration of the lands. This will be an attractive trade building to best market the produce of the weavers. It will provide for warehousing.

As this commercial regeneration is needed. The current businesses that do the business of the weavers will also be asked to participate in the Trust and so secure their accustomed position in the value chain of the business.

C Industry
The Trust shall reconstruct the value chain of the industry with the introduction of IT/ ICT (Computer and Internet Access technology) and markets into the industry.

Basically it is envisaged that the marketing and production will be enhanced by the use of
1. Computer aid in design (production of the punched card)
2. Placing artwork items on a computerised exchange system for bidding and sale
3. Placing of skilled work (not art) production runs on a bid and sale by lots basis.

The current businesses will graduate to be a modern management business acting as brokers and dealers as well as in the financiers and buyers categories.

Businessmen will recognise that what is being suggested is a variant of the system type used for Sri Lanka tea, French fine wines, American signed artworks, etc, in countries of their finest production, which shall be adapted to Varanasi by interaction with ALL participants.

D Finance
It will be recognised that the object of the Trust system is to overcome the well known lacuna of the Planning system of urban Master Plans. That is the integration of the economic side, jobs and incomes, with the residences plan.

It is NOT the ambition of the system to replace planning. We wish to make it effective and certain by building in the economic factors, in a situation where the economics is very uncertain.

Financially, a certain institution gets created. This is an investment market. The investment market is two fold. One is the investment in the silks. That is a commodity exchange or auction system. The other is investment in the properties. The housing, the commercial space and infrastructure need to be invested in. This is a capital exchange. In other words the Trust will call into being a new investment market in Varanasi.

This shall be a very modern form of the traditional stock exchange. It shall be a market for investors and also residents and industry stakeholders and owners. They may acquire and exchange their stakes in the whole Trust and its commodity and capital components.

The reason for an exchange is that the redevelopment of Varanasi is a long term matter. It will have ups and downs. It will have a time frame that may be much longer than that of individual investors, even residents. So a method by which a person can make an investment and then sell it must be provided for. The Trust will be required to go public and be in this market.

This incidentally ensures transparency. For if the projects under the Trust require market investment, the information of the day to day status of the finances and prospects of the Trust must be provided. This will automatically create transparency and accountability.

Chapter 4 Implementation

The situation of the Weavers is deteriorating daily. The businesses also face very severe financial reckoning. There is no luxury of time for reflection and controlled experimentation. The ruthless global trade machines are at work. China is not going to go away. The competitive pressures will not let up.

Further, even though five lakhs of workers are involved, it is not reasonable to tell them to wait for several years for phased operation. Elsewhere in India, there was a successful five year programme of computer design introduction for thirty thousand weavers. But it does not seem that the Varanasi situation can survive that time frame.

A programme that will implement the re-housing and re-generation in Varanasi so that the 5 lakhs are covered in 3-4 years is needed.

Can the State afford it?

It is beyond the means of the State, even of a Union Government programme. Further for the State to undertake it, the planning period before anything is started will be of the order of the implementation period required.

But if the programme is effected through the stock exchange, the Trusts will raise capital based on rising land values, rising residence and commercial space values and rising values of silks marketed in a modern manner.

In fact, instead of needing a State expenditure budget, the programme will bring new revenue to the State.

This will be by providing ratepayers and payers for utilities provided newly. There will be an enhancement of any State or Corporation (municipal) lands in the Trusts or vicinity. There will be a reduction in the costs of handling the very poor.

It will however be in the interests of the State as the final beneficiary to grant this plan its blessings, some seed capital and Government regulatory and service support.
______________________________Dr Darin C Gunesekera
Wednesday, 01 June 2005

The Varanasi Weavers Trust:

Dr Darin C. Gunesekera

(Preface ……….4)
Chapter 1 VISION & MISSION.. 4
A Vision. 4
B Mission. 5
C Ownership. 6
A The Project Strategy. 7
B Phases of the Project. 7
Chapter 3 Phase 1 A: Set Up. 9
A Project Team.. 9
1 Project Team – High Level 9
2 Project Team – Executive Management 10
B Methodology/ Administration. 10
Chapter 4 Phase 1 B: Persons Registration.. 11
A Work & Challenge. 11
B Survey. 12
C IT. 12
Chapter 5 Phase 1 C: Land Registration.. 12
A Work & Challenge. 12
B Survey. 12
C IT. 13
Chapter 6 Phase 1 D: Trust Creation.. 13
A Format. 13
B The First Bargain. 13
C Launch of Pilot Project. 13
1 Plan. 13
2 Construction. 14
Chapter 7 Phase 1 E: Selling Methodology.. 14
A Work & Challenge. 14
B Business Selling Methodology with IT. 14
C VWT Center. 15
1 Plan. 15
2 Construction. 15
Chapter 8 NEXT PHASES. 15
Chapter 9 PROJECT BUDGET.. 15
A TIME. 15

This plan is based on a novel concept that I developed in 1998 and implemented in one completed cycle within three years within 1998-2001 in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

When exposed to the Varanasi Weavers’ situation, I used this concept and further ideas developed for a project in London in order to make a suggestion for this situation. This Plan was presented earlier and called “The Plan for the Varanasi Weavers’ Trust”. You are referred to this document for the background, concepts and substance on which this project document is based.

It should be realized that Varanasi Weavers and their industry are a valuable commercial resource of India, a country undergoing globalization. Therefore the structure of this industry and its details constitute a valuable commercial asset. The Plan of its future also has considerable commercial value.

Influence over its future, obtaining of details and use of the information in other rival sites and countries is a considerable risk. Part of the crisis in Varanasi is that many persons have moved out of Varanasi including moving abroad taking the technology of the industry with them. They have been producing small volumes. Volume in Bangladesh however is growing and not insignificant.

At this time of globalization, it is important that traditional and current knowledge and industrial secrets and plans be kept secret. So it is advised that the circulation of this Report be controlled.

However difficult this may be in the reality of obtaining funds and approvals, this need to deal with this project as an industrial and commercial one must be kept in mind foremost. It is true that the objective is social and a matter of peoples’ upliftment. But this will not be possible unless the status of Varanasi Weavers as an industry is maintained and developed further. Similarly some amount of confidentiality is needed on development plans for housing where lands have not yet been purchased or negotiated. It is clear that there are business negotiations of price that will be involved in bringing in business to the scheme. So it is necessary that despite the public nature of this process, the need for confidentiality in matters surrounding the business side is respected.


A Vision
Modern India is well on its way to take its rightful place as one of the largest nations and economies of the world. This India is truly part of the World. The Indian economy, including the livelihoods and economic lives of all of its peoples, is being integrated within India and also without India with the world.

Varanasi is the ancient spiritual heart of India. Its people demonstrate the values and ethics of India. Varanasi is important as a model and reflection of India.

Our Vision is that Varanasi, in this modern India, shall not become degraded into long term poverty nor into losing core cultural productions nor the values of its several cultural communities. The vision of the economic program being embarked upon by this Trust is to use the economics and social mechanisms available at the most advanced level so as to reverse adverse globalization economics and international social impact that we can see advancing into the Weavers Industry.

We envisage that our plan and Trust shall use the economics of our situation to create a new industry that shall command global respect and place our weavers and the communities of Varanasi at a higher economic plane such that they may hold their own against any economic forces of the world.

India and the global public shall come to deal with the Trust’s Varanasi Weaving Industry through the most advanced marketing techniques and located in advanced modern selling premises. The weavers shall live as befits persons who are leading producers of a world recognized high quality product. The Varanasi community will in their economic life show the standard of life of a high quality community in India and the world.

B Mission
The Mission of the Varanasi Weavers Trust is to reach the following Objectives:
1. Improve and bring to modern development the Varanasi Saree Industry
2. Implement the Master Plan for Varanasi District
3. Re-house in decent housing the workers and the poor registered as residents of Varanasi
4. Enable the craftsmen to become artists in the weaving of silks or skilled workers of the weaving industry
5. Establish the Rights of Varanasi Weavers as to their Homes, Workplaces and the Economics of their Trade or work activity
6. Establish share financing or equity financing of the weaving industry through the Trust’s Certificate financing on Stock Exchange lines
7. Develop business specialization and competitive trade in this industry.

It is part of the mission to accomplish these objectives with the blessings of the State and Authorities. Although the initial owners of the process are the People involved, that is the weavers, there are many other stakeholders who are brought in through the Trust. The Trust has in its mission the furtherance of the interests of all stakeholders that is the Varanasi District.

From the point of view of financing, it is the mission of the Trust to create a self-financing system where the State shall have no net cash outflow on the project. That is the value generated will enable re-payment of any State funds.

It is an important mission of the Project to create new value in the City of Varanasi and to create a steadily increasing value for land in the Varanasi District.

The following may then be added to Mission objectives:
1. Provide financing for regeneration construction and development through the market
2. Such financing should be with risk capital, preferably market risk capital, as then the investors would also provide more sophisticated analysis of the projects and the people would ride with them
3. Bank loan capital places heavy burdens of interest schedules and penalties and guarantees or mortgage on the promoters and people and so should be minimized or eliminated
4. The State should facilitate the process
5. The plan should provide the people with an asset that is market priced and related to their home development.

It should be noted that some market institutional development, by public – private co-operation, shall be necessary. These will not emerge of themselves but need Trust sponsorship. So the creation and development of the relevant stock exchange and capital markets shall be part of the Mission of the Trust.

Further, we are involved in creating a financial service to enable the re-housing and re-development (industrial) program. This is more over a mass based, all weaver involving, process. So further financial processes as IT cards will be necessary to achieve the Mission. We may term the whole of the Mission in regard the bringing of these financial services to the mass of the City of Varanasi as the Mission objective,
“Bringing the Capital Market financial services home to the People”.

C Ownership
It would be useful to observe that this paper provides an outline of a plan to be considered by policy makers. It is not how the Plan under implementation will arrive to participants.

A Key issue is that the Trust must be adopted by the Weavers. The mobilizer of the ideas of this paper, PVCHR, has begun the process whereby the Plan markets itself very simply and easily to the Weavers. In doing this PVCHR has emphasized what everyone understands and instinctively, ownership. The scheme here is based on enhancing OWNERSHIP.

The alternative is a Cooperative of Weavers. We have selected the Gandhian notion of Trust and combined it with the simple and wide spread notion of ownership so as to arrive at a Trust with shares so as to ensure a process that shall be understandable and also authentic with our people and nation.

The Trust is one for Regeneration. To be realistic it must have a location and then a specific plan within that location. Developing this for each location is one of the tasks of the Trust.


A The Project Strategy
In order to arrive at the Mission and Vision above, it is essential to set up the Trust and take it forward to the point where it is self sustaining. A brief description of the strategic aspects of this development may be useful at this stage. It will immediately give way to the essential phases of the project.

The strategy is to create a Trust that incorporates all stakeholders as beneficiaries.

Then the following exchanges involving financial paper created within this scheme take place.
1. The exchange of Community Persons rights of occupation, tenancy, ownership or leaseholds for Trust Certificates.
2. The exchange of landowners, amenity or rights owners rights for Trust Certificates.

B Phases of the Project
The Phases of the Project are as follows:
(A) Phase One - The Trust is set up and the project office set up. The dimensions of the project in terms of persons and lands must be established. Further the sales enhancement and industry detailed survey needs to be undertaken at this time so as to prepare for modern commercialization. Within this Phase the pilot project will also be launched which will mimic the next two phases in experiment form. Several activities as detailed below shall be pursued concurrently in this Phase. This is the most extensive Phase where all officers and others connected with the scheme will realize the practical meaning of the scheme. It is training on the job, and this must not be wasted. It is important that committed personnel who will learn and be retained in the scheme be employed from the onset.
(B) Phase Two is the commercial launch phase. This is the phase of launching the Trust open for investment and commercial development. Thereafter the Trust will move out of Project stage to being a self-sustaining Trust.
(C) Phase Three is the extension of the pilot scheme to the whole community.

VWT Trust
Redeem & SALES


Invest-ors (6)

REIT Stock Market REIT Certificates

2-3-1 and 3-4-5-6 :The cycle from Trust Certificate issue against value transferred to Trust TO extinction at Trust against value transferred out of Trust.
(1) Trust Certificates exchanged for project needs
(2) Trust Certificates exchanged for Holder’s agreements
(3) Trust Certificates exchanged for REIT Certificates.
(4) REIT Certificates exchanged for Money
(5) REIT secondary market .
(6) REIT extinguished at Trust for building unit or cash.
All those involved in contractual processes as Community Persons, Developers, etc., are members of the Trust so that they use the arbitration/ tribunal processes of VWT to resolve disputes/ market deals.
In particular, Community persons who want more than what they give the scheme, their Certificates are related to the vacant possession or other rights they give up, can go in for arbitration on what they get from the trading bargain. Similarly Developers having design or tenant or sale arguments shall be required to solve their problems at the arbitration process only, with no further recourse in terms of the agreements.
These safeguards are essential for financial viability and fairplay.

Chapter 3 Phase 1 A: Set Up

In accordance with our Strategy, the first Phase of the project, after it is cleared by Authorities and is launched, shall have the following elements.

A Project Team
The Project to set up the VWT or The Trust must be kept separate from the Trust itself. The latter will be composed of stakeholders and their employees. The Project on the other hand is a matter for a team put together for effective and speedy executive decision and management. The Project Team must never lose sight of this and that they are operating in a different capacity from their regular official or private positions.

The project consists of setting up and creating the Varanasi Weavers Trust and moving it to self sustained operation. The team shall be disbanded and replaced by the Trust management and parties upon the launch of the Trust into self-sustaining operation.

It is proposed that the Project Team shall be set up as follows.

1 Project Team – High Level
1. Commissioner/ Chairman VDA, Chair
2. Joint Director, Industries (Eastern UP, Varanasi), CEO/ Secretary
3. Nagar Ayuth
4. Chief Development Officer Varanasi
5. District Magistrate
6. Secretary VDA
7. Dy Director Bunkar Seva Kendra
8. Dy Director, Weavers
9. Dy Director, Handicrafts
10. Dy Director, Tourism
11. Dy Director, Culture
12. Sant Vivek Das, Acharya Mahant, Kabir Chaura Math
13. Dr Lenin, Convener, PVCHR
14. Advisor, VWT project

These persons will delegate an official to represent him or her fully with full responsibility whenever they are not available for a decision.

The team is not a Committee and so shall not meet like one. They are a team for the purpose of meeting an objective. They shall act with this goal in mind.

The project impinges on many other developments besides the VWT. So the town planning of Varanasi, the electricity, water supply, drainage and sewerage of the district will also be impacted. Under the circumstances, it would be wise for the team to form with other relevant personnel a Committee for developing Aid and Donor Finance for these other issues. A Full time donor relations office could be set up within this project to prepare needed reports and provide servicing to get and keep financial assistance especially for these ancillary essentials.

2 Project Team – Executive Management
1. Joint Director, Industries (Eastern UP, Varanasi), CEO/ Secretary
2. Personnel seconded from institutions in the Project Board
3. Advisor, VWT project

As the team cannot spare much time for the project day to day work, they will utilize (outsource) some persons from their offices for the purpose of managing and effecting the project. These persons will be on secondment.

Additionally the Project will hire or contract more staff and personnel as required. The CEO will be responsible for contracting of personnel and firms subject to procedures that will be laid out within the project. As the project represents a partnership of public and private interests, it is expected that the most efficient methods will always be used and the project freed from usual Government procedures and requirements.

B Methodology/ Administration
The administration of the Project should not be allowed to become cumbersome as then it would be easy for its simple requirements to be overshadowed and delayed.

The Project has been outlined in the document “The Preliminary Plan for the Varanasi Weavers Trust” dated 16 July 2004. It is an urgent project and must be fast tracked as once started it is essential to serve the entire Weaver population within three to five years so as to prevent discontent due to the feeling of delay.

In our present age where media create instant dissemination of news, there is a similar impatience with results. This fact must be borne in mind. The project has a high level team so as to ensure fast action.

For this reason we suggest further that a simple and efficient modern office be centrally set up immediately.

The functions that his office shall have to perform are as follows.
1. Mobilization of the Weavers and ancillary persons
2. Awareness and mobilization of other stakeholders
3. Awareness & mobilization of investors
4. Survey of existing equipment, land and buildings and those of potential stakeholder members of the Trust
5. Creation of the Trust
6. Initial urban design and architectural plan to accompany Trust
7. Initial commercialization buildings and computer system
8. System of continuous information flow and public decision making in relation to Trust Activities.

It is expected that the Project Office will be small and efficiently designed for rapid decision taking. The surveys and mobilization activities will be coordinated by this office. However the recruitment of personnel and supervision of these activities should be done by contracted civic organizations and other specialist organizations. The same shall be true of the professional work required.

Legal matters should be handled within existing legal parameters and through the personnel available through the organizations mentioned and locally. It is always desirable to have better legal foundations, but this sort of program has been done elsewhere within our type of legal system as it currently exists and we should do the same.

Chapter 4 Phase 1 B: Persons Registration

A Work & Challenge
A basic parameter that must be fixed at the outset for purposes of expenditure control is the extent of the scheme in terms of persons.

As a matter of fairness, it is necessary to enter all Varanasi Weavers into the scheme.

The work is then to register all the Weavers and associated and ancillary businesses and trades persons. These are the traditional manual and power weavers.

The difficulties compounding this task are that firstly there are persons who have moved out of Varanasi in reality to better themselves and who may still wish to have their names on the lists for any benefits that may accrue.

Secondly, this is a traditional art and craft. Persons pride themselves in the length of their family association with the business. So persons who have no real current work in this business, whop are completely lacking in practical knowledge but have family affiliation may claim Weaver status.

The challenge is to design a fair registration process that meets the objectives of a good and thriving industry and social fairplay with means of redress through a tribunal within the process.

Certain clear administrative discipline will be needed and must be enforced.

B Survey
The need is to have an administrative survey that will register once and for all the persons involved. This will be gazetted or administratively displayed and confirmed by due process.

As the survey therefore needs to be done in a matter of a few months, a large number of persons, perhaps university students or recent graduates, will have to be organized to implement this task.

The persons will be registered through questionnaire and photograph of persons, families, house and workplace that shall be permanently filed electronically.

This is an IT exercise that will be combined with the IT exercises needed below.

Chapter 5 Phase 1 C: Land Registration

A Work & Challenge
The other basic parameter that must be fixed at the outset for purposes of expenditure control and planning of the project and of the industry is the land involved. This is the current housing, workplaces and business premises of the persons registered above.

It is also necessary to ensure that data of the entire neighborhoods of these persons be obtained or gained form existing sources within the District administration.

The extent of the “land” registration is exactly that pertaining to all of the persons registered above plus planning information of the lands in their neighborhoods.

This is not a simple matter.

Varanasi is an ancient city. It has ancient disputes and lands and businesses involved in legal or socially recognized dispute. This is the challenge of this task.

It is essential that in order that the Trust and scheme be workable that all these be known and resolved for purposes of the scheme to whatever extent possible.

B Survey
The need is to have an administrative survey that will register once and for all the lands and fixed assets and business assets that will be part of the scheme and Trust or Trusts. This must be gazetted or administratively displayed and confirmed by due process.

As the survey therefore needs to be done in a matter of a few months, a large number of persons will have to be organized to implement this task. However these must be persons who will show some mature judgment in the finalization.

This is an IT exercise that will be combined with the IT work on registering people.

It has to be emphasized that this survey and data entry must be done as part of this project and there can be no resort to existing lists or plans except as a guide. The project must be able to state with due diligence that the facts on persons and fixed assets are true, verified and confirmed by the parties concerned.

Chapter 6 Phase 1 D: Trust Creation

A Format
The format of the Trust is that of a Trust by Declaration of avowed and thereafter set detailed purpose. The Trustee Company shall be the team core of the project and other stakeholders who pro-actively want the desired result or goal declared by the Trust. The Trust shall appoint managers to actually do the various needed activities, as set out by the Trust and supervised by the Trustee Company.

So the actualization of the Trust shall be in rounds of bargains and work that shall be the work programme outlined in the Varanasi Weavers Trust document.

B The First Bargain
The first bargain is between the Trust, the Authorities and the first pilot group of Weavers. It involves the complete re-development of the Weavers into a model situation and done at market valuation of their condition. The Weavers give up into the Trust and receive from the Trust. The medium of exchange is the Trust Certificate.

C Launch of Pilot Project
In the pilot area the Trust will open sites for bidding for reconstruction or new construction.
1 Plan
Within the overall master plan of the trust, developers will place their bids for redevelopment that will satisfy housing, workplace and business needs.

Those persons within the pilot project shall then choose by voting the plans that they would be willing to settle in. Single plans and developers for each site will be thus chosen with the core clients who will be moving in.

Further units that will be sold or rented to investors in the Trust will also be planned and constructed.

2 Construction
Using the seed capital of this scheme, the Trust will award the contracts on behalf of the voting and affirming groups and also appoint the supervisory bodies. The Trust will oversee the construction as final arbiter.

The investors and Weavers will compensate the Trust through their immediate release of assets and pledged earnings or sales through the Trust selling system.

Chapter 7 Phase 1 E: Selling Methodology

A Work & Challenge
Simultaneous with the construction programme there must be an industry selling or marketing programme that shall be launched.

The work is to bring the marketing of the industry to an advanced state worthy of the product and proposed new products. The Trust shall be a coordinating and umbrella body with teeth, as it shall act itself as the prime mover.

From marketing requirements, the production and distribution, selling and shop services, shall also change and improve.

The challenge is to bring this industry to the forefront of globalized industry inclusive of IT system for production and sales and advanced selling, while retaining the numbers actually employed and improving the traditions of the art and craft. The result will be more artistic and also securely quality rated.

The Trust shall work through and with existing businesses and channels of commerce.

B Business Selling Methodology with IT
The Trust will create a subgroup of the selling persons in the industry and develop the new methodology.

There will be a strong IT basis for selling as sales must be global in final end user customers but production and export point is Varanasi. There shall be individualization to the maximum of sales. At the same time there will be central channeling through the Trust, which shall issue the Secure Quality Certification.
C VWT Center
As the iconic center for the IT system and the super-modern emblematic sales point, there shall be a VWT Center at a central location in Varanasi. Sales will be done in many places but this will be the symbolic spot of demand and supply price creation and supply trends display. It will be the “Stock Exchange Building” of the Varanasi Weavers’ industry. The exchange market of VWT Certificates shall also find display there.

1 Plan
The team of the project will gain stakeholder approval and develop a plan for the VWT Center and parking and delivery facilities with architects of its choice and under its direction. The final building must meet the esthetics and needs of all stakeholders. An iconic structure is recommended.

2 Construction
Construction of this center must be started at once, as it will house the IT center that is the core of the money earning capacity of the system.

When the success of the pilot project begins to unfold, it will be possible to gain more persons to enter the scheme and to sell investors certificates to raise the needed funds. The Trust must as soon as possible, start on this expansion.

What we are doing is to create a specific market and method to handle risk. We take out a lot of the risk normal in these projects. We really create a Capital market which the People can appreciate and participate in from Home and with and for their Homes. We have brought the Capital Market Home to the People.

The situation of the Weavers is deteriorating daily. The businesses also face very severe financial reckoning. There is no luxury of time for reflection and controlled experimentation. The ruthless global trade machines are at work. China is not going to go away. The competitive pressures will not let up.

Further, even though five lakhs of workers are involved, it is not reasonable to tell them to wait for several years for phased operation. Elsewhere in India, there was a successful five year programme of computer design introduction for thirty thousand weavers. But it is not likely that the Varanasi situation can survive that time frame.

A programme that will implement the re-housing and re-generation in Varanasi so that the 5 lakhs are covered in 5-7 years is needed.

This is a cash flow budget inclusive of first year Capital Commitments and recurrent expenditure.
Phase One (Capital plus one year recurrent)
Approximate Cost
(Lakhs of Rs)
Trust Set Up
Registering Persons
Registering Lands
Registering Workplaces
Selling IT wireless System with hardware
Sales Center
Pilot Buildings for weavers
Crore 26.40

The pilot scheme could be doubled (that is plus another 10 Crores) and thus generate greater impact. However the enthusiasm of landowners and weavers may be limited at the pilot stage.

Estimate total is of a cash outlay of 26 Crore 40 lakhs, all of which will be returned with profit by the end of the scheme.


This budget will take the scheme to the point of commercial launch.

The programme will from the start be geared to Stock Exchange financing creation. So the outlay is to be recouped by the sale of the shares to investors and business and the resale and rental of developed properties through the Trusts. The Trusts will raise capital based on rising land values, rising residence and commercial space values and rising values of silks marketed in a modern manner.

In fact, instead of needing a State expenditure budget, the programme will bring net new revenue to the State.

Further, the programme will be providing new ratepayers and payers for utilities and the municipality. There will be an enhancement of any State or Corporation (municipal) lands in the Trusts or vicinity. There will be a reduction in the costs of handling those entitled to relief and handouts from the State.

It will however be in the interests of the State as the final beneficiary to grant this plan its blessings, some seed capital and Government regulatory and service support.






Authorize Trusts (VWT)
Approve VWT concept Plan
VWT mobilizes Communities, firms.
Approve & Regulate Stock Market
Each REIT proposed & entered
REIT Plan clearance
REIT marketing/ if accepted by primary & secondary market
REIT completion of Building – approval.

The person is rewarded in terms of securities to the extent that his household occupies space or amenities. By increasing household members he does not gain. As the reward available for the community is fixed once the contract is determined, it is not to their advantage to import others and swell numbers. At the same time their final reward is determined by the value of the total development in attracting outside buyers and leaseholders. So it is in the community interest too to have an increased development in the area. Progress as measured by wealth increase is what favours the poor as well as the rich and this is direct and visible and measurable. People like it as the ownership and reward is clear and value by price quotation is tangible. This tangibility is important. Then it is appealing.

Landowners have proverbially felt cheated in the real estate game. Land unfortunately acquires value by its own actual usage. Yet sale has to be by a process of valuation which is based on what has been going on in the area and nationwide. Now the landowner basically can get a clawback of the actual property profit, or realised value, through participation in the Trust. It is now a fair process.

They will find their role initially unusual. However the Plan meets the many complaints of the Developers and their buyers with respect contracts. Now the Developer is relieved of what is not his specialty, Finance. Instead he is able to concentrate on marketing his product and improving production delivery. He does not have to be tearing his hair trying to meet financial problems in the longest production time period industry in the country. Finance sourcing is concentrated in risk taking investors and not banks.

They will find that the opportunity to buy at an early stage when prices are low and yet to be relieved of the risk of advancing money on a construction, owing to the intermediary function of a financial Trust, very useful. They will also have greater choice and ease of purchase/ sale and taking up or not of an investment.

Investors have always been wary of real estate considering it a specialised field. Someone with no involvement in the company nor expertise in stock trading would buy a share in Escorts or Reliance, directly or indirectly through an investment scheme, guided by a lot of hearsay and accounts which have never prevented serious surprise. Yet he or she would be wary of taking a share in a real estate investment, even in the neighbourhood, usually ignoring the fact that the bulk of wealth that he owns is in any case in real estate, his own home. This is because the market is not especially transparent. Now a method of investment with safeguards, powerful investors with the same ends and an easy way of determining value (sale price of units) is available. It is welcome to most investors.

Lenders are actually not property operators nor developers. They are persons whose speciality is the determination of the repayment capacity of the individual borrower. It is a great improvement for him to have his asset to be a market security and later a market price quoted title. Mortgage lenders like the scheme.

The Planning exercise work is increased as to detail examination. However the situation of pious resolve, and even contracted resolve, of developers vanishing into thin air when it comes to social benefits is ended definitely as the Trust commits; and contracts the developer for itemised work. The Planning control is more but yet simplified. Where the Planner is also committing public land or resources, he has clawback on profits and much greater clarity of the overall picture and much less worry. The old problem of being pushed by developers claiming extraordinary benefits to be given to the community, economy, etc., and the Planner being unable to make up his mind is solved by the need for market investor acceptance and proposal acceptance by those directly affected. Decisions of choice are handed over to those involved socially and privately and not incumbent on the Planner to work out economic scenarios, except if wished as advisory.
“It has appeared to me that the difficulty with the tenements is not that the persons are ignorant or that they do not know how to find their place in the sun. Rather they seem to be having the difficulty of facing a failure of market or not having access to the marketplace. The solution, I thought, was to replicate the market mechanism, that is the institutions through which people come into the market, for these persons. The key elements of markets are reproduced faithfully for the poor as for the rich. It is just to give all the benefits of markets, warts and all.
The small timer will then be able to exercise individual choice of purchase and not be alienated from what they have. It is necessary that they have a budget to spend which can provide enough to cover the identified need of workplace and housing. They shall face the financial and choice parameters that the middle class also face. That is, they will purchase housing which moves with actual costs, asset market prices and interest rates on relevant finance and other features of the housing and building construction markets. “

Trusts have traditionally been used by well to do persons with substantial property to secure their property. It is important to appreciate that Trusts enable clear beneficial ownership. Consider a landowner, say Mr. Landrich who owns a city property Landrich House that he wishes to preserve for his immediate family of himself, wife and two sons.

Landrich Trust is formed with say Bank of Baroda Trust Department as Trustee, Asset Managers Ltd as managers and Mr. & Mrs. Landrich and their two sons as beneficiaries, perhaps equally. Then Landrich House is transferred to it. Mr. Landrich is no longer the owner of the property but he, his wife and two sons will be the sole beneficial owners of the property. Asset Managers Ltd will rent out the units of the property and also spend money on maintaining it, paying dues and so on. The net income they will pay to the beneficiaries or Landrich family members equally. If Mr. Landrich passes away the remaining three persons will share the property and income equally. If the Trust is terminated, for instance under a clause that terminates it if the family members migrate, then the property will be transferred to the living members of the Landrich family. The Trustee is simply an umpire who ensures that the clauses of the Trust operate. The managers simply manage the property. Ownership ultimately resides with the beneficiaries.

An REIT is a Trust by declaration. It has beneficiaries but they are holders of its Certificates. It has a purpose, in our case of constructing a building on a property. Let us expand the Landrich case to his developing a field he owns.

Landrich Fields REIT is a Trust with a Manager Asset Developers Ltd, a Trustee Baroda Bank, and a Trust objective or purpose to develop and sell a real estate housing project on the site called Landrich Fields. Mr. Landrich its owner transfers the property to Landrich Fields Trust and receives Trust Certificates of face value equal to the market value of the land. He has lost direct ownership. But he has beneficial ownership of the Trust Fund, including the land and any building on it, to the extent of his certificates.

Others will also buy Certificates in Landrich Fields Trust by giving the Trust Fund the money purchase price. They will be beneficial owners of the Trust Fund to the face value of their share of the Trust Fund.

Suppose Mr. Landrich transferred 2 Crore Rupees worth of land and that 1000 investors put in 100,000 Rupees each paying face value. Then the Trust Fund would be owned by the Holders of Trust Certificates of face value 12 Crore Rupees. Mr. Landrich would be the beneficial owner of 2/12 share of the Trust fund or property and money in the Trust. Each investor/ buyer would similarly be the beneficial owner of 1/1200 share of the Trust Fund.

If the Trust were terminated while construction is going along they will share in the property as it stands and in the moneys still unused in that proportion.

The Trust is fair in that contributors to the project have ownership interest in proportion to their contribution in the project. As it is a project of a building on land, it is even clearer as the Trust assets are simply land and buildings and what is in the Trust bank account.

For public sector landowners especially it is useful as it allows them to retain an interest while releasing land for a project.

The REIT assures investors and the landowners and rights owners contributing their ownership that the Certificates they get in return for their contribution will be listed for quotation on a specialised Exchange. This means that they can buy and sell these Certificates in a market.

Actually it means more than just that. It opens out the insides of the project for their information at any time. Because any Exchange is required to protect investors in its listed securities by requiring the issuer to make timely information available.

When an investor books an apartment or a landowner hands over his land for a project in some form of profit sharing, these investors in a development typically hand over their value to a developer and simply wait for the final result.

Under this Exchange based system, the developer has to provide information on progress or lack of it through an independent agency, the Exchange, to the investors.

If the security or Certificates were listed in a normal stock exchange, the reporting requirement would be too onerous. A Construction is a matter of many contracts. Each of these cannot be submitted to General Meetings of shareholders or the like. Within the project’s larger scheme, the contracts, buying and selling are normal business. However the reports of that business must be made available to the investors.

Especially where there is a public interest or public land or asset use, this is a tremendous advantage. There is oversight in a natural and business like manner.

In the traditional system, the landowner and any right owner giving it up for the sake of the development has to extract an upfront payment. Development projects are of long gestation and money upfront is really revenue discounted at bank loan rates across that long period. So the cash value is definitely less than payment at the end.

Therefore sometimes owners, especially public sector owners or rights possessing authorities as Planning Authorities (Planning Gain, Conditions), specifically tie down developers with conditions on their sale of land. However it is difficult to enforce such conditions at the end of contract, especially where the project company may be a single project company.

Under the REIT in a Stock Exchange system, these difficulties are minimised. The project can afford to recognise the full value of land or rights and to pay a share of profits as well to them. Further information on activities will be released as a normal matter of observing the Exchange Rules. Investors and liquidity will be available for the project if the Rules protect interests and at the same time do not impede actually doing a project.

Housing must be affordable to sell. What is meant by the idea of affordable housing is that neighbourhoods and towns need the services of many persons and these persons must all be able to house themselves in the neighbourhood or town.

Our REIT system is based on prior planning in concept of the elements in an area. It is important that the Planning incorporate the concepts of needed housing and other spaces. The REIT will then have different elements in its own development plan. The housing required for nurses, teachers, public servants, workers and so on have to be planned in. Everyone likes to construct apartments for the rich as the profit rate is higher per unit. But the plan must set out different concept areas yet without attempting architectural prescription.

Basically, one has to manufacture Morris Minors or Minis as well as Mercedes Benzes or Rolls. One achieves this by making the cars each fundamentally and in features different. Yet the cars are indeed each reasonable cars which will excite and give service and happiness to owners.

The REIT plans must have such differentiation by design of blocks and units. Differentiation which tends to occur without planning which is often by area address will not enable a vibrant community.

It is true that bringing down the cost of labour and materials brings down the cost of housing. This is the most obvious aspect and one that tends to be flogged to death in discussions. It may not be the major factor however.

Finance costs, selling costs and address premium or land premium are probably equal to the cost of pure production. In urban areas round the world, house building men and materials cost is supposed to be only a third of costs.

So our plan attacks the other costs more substantially. It eliminates the bank loan and replaces this with risk talking capital funds. This is a major saving as it eliminates the effects of Penalties. Location premia are reduced by the planning component for overall design taking into account variations in the income of local persons. By combining investment and saving, costs of selling are greatly reduced.
______________________________Dr Darin C Gunesekera