Jungle Chatti: Compassionate Daredevilry of Men in Uniform.

The boastful “evacuation of 15,000 Gujarathis” by Team Narendra Modi not only mocked the stranded pilgrims in Uttarakhand, but insulted the valiant efforts of the men in uniform against the daunting odds. What the dare devils of India’s armed forces had to face at Jungle Chatti to evacuate some 1,500 pilgrims stranded without food for 5 days is the stuff legends are made of. Indian Express, The improbable evacuation of Jungle Chatti. “The pilgrims had been stranded in Jungle Chatti — a steep stretch of path between Gaurikund and Ram Bada set in a mountainside looming over a raging river and prone to landslides — for five days without food or water… But as the area lies in a narrow valley without any means of communication and out of the visual range of most aerial sorties, it took search teams four days to find a large number of people stranded on a small stretch of land. Soon after a passing helicopter located a few people in the area, efforts were made to airdrop essential supplies to them. “The valley is so narrow and the gradient of the mountains so steep that all efforts to drop food and water were unsuccessful. The supplies went down in the river,”… Then, the armed forces tried to land a helicopter on the narrow ledge — which is all that is left of Jungle Chatti — but the efforts came to nought, as did the attempts to slither troops because of strong winds and the limited space available. “The narrow valley made Jungle Chatti the toughest place to fly in,”… The army men had only one option left. They jumped down from a Cheetah helicopter on the ledge. It was as dangerous a move as it could get — one misstep could have sent them rolling down into the raging river below. They, however, managed to stand firm and quickly set up a makeshift helipad. The first helicopter landed soon… Then began perhaps the most intense air evacuation operation in Uttarakhand so far. The air force and the army moved at a blistering pace to airlift the pilgrims out to Gaurikund, from where bigger Mi-17 helicopter could operate, because even a slight dip in the weather would have made flying impossible in the valley“. If the words don’t capture fully the edge of the seat drama of compassionate daredevilry of the men in uniform, then perhaps this photo-essay by NDTV may provide the flavour of their valiant deeds. A few photographs of Jungle Chatti evacuation are shared below.
Unlike the mythical evacuation of 15,000 Gujarathis by Team Modi, the Team Armed Forces has evacuated only about 1,500 pilgrims from Jungle Chatti but each one as real as any other. Team armed forces did this too without asking for their caste, creed, or the state to which they belong to unlike the claims of Team Modi of evacuating only Gujarathis. People should judge who are the real heroes to emerge out of this calamity.
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The late Vilasrao Deshmukh, who headed Maharashtra as Chief Minister more than once, had dreams of turning Mumbai into Shanghai. Though he passed away without fulfilling his dream, the dream itself is grotesquely surviving in the hearts and minds of wily and venal politicians, builder mafia, and accommodating administration. The financial capital of India has little land left for real estate construction and land rates are kissing the stratosphere. Dreams of untold riches cloud the better sense, if any is left, by stimulating boundless avarice. Almost sixty percent of Mumbai’s population dwells in slums. The slums occupy only 9.24% of Mumbai’s landmass. That means 60% people live on little over 9% of land giving a population density 15 times more than the rest of Mumbai denizens. It is this 9% land that is held in the covetous gaze of politicians-Builders-Administration in the name of “Slum Rehabilitation Scheme (SRS) to beautify Mumbai”. The bulldozers of the rulers have on many occasions mercilessly destroyed the homes of the poor, often most callously in the face of onset of the Monsoon, while police were used to brutally put down any resistance of the poor to acts that would render them homeless. Medha Patkar and others had to go on life threatening fasts unto death to awaken the conscience of the rulers, and twice succeeded in obtaining promises of fair and thorough inquiry into the problems faced by slum dwellers and illegalities of bulldozing their homes only to be betrayed later. (Below, photo courtesy, Javed Iqbal).  
After one such set of promises given by Maharashtra government in January 2013, the National Alliance of Peoples’ Movements appointed a People’s Commission to Study and Report on Special Rehabilitation Scheme. Its report was released yesterday as per the following press statement.
NATIONAL ALLIANCE OF PEOPLE’S MOVEMENTS 
A Wing First Floor, Haji Habib Building, Naigaon Cross Road
Dadar (E), Mumbai – 400 014 Ph. No-2415 0529 E-mail: 
napmindia@gmail.com
6/6, Jangpura B, New Delhi 110014. Phone : 9818905316
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People’s Commission Report on Special Rehabilitation Scheme Released
SRA Projects full of Illegalities and Irregularities, Demands Cancellation of Fraudulent Projects and Demands implementation of RAY
Mumbai, June 24th : People’s Commission Report on Slum Rehabilitation Scheme in Mumbai was released today by Justice (retd.) B N Deshmukh, High Court, Aurangabad. The Commission was appointed by NAPM in order that a thorough enquiry could take place in to the irregularities and illegalities complained by hundreds and thousands of the slum dwellers included in the Scheme. The Commission was also appointed since the government of Maharashtra went back on its promise to appoint a joint enquiry committee to look in to 15 SRA projects, with Justice Suresh as Chairperson. This promise was given during the nine day fast by Medha Patkar and others while the official notifications were modified giving false reasons of Court’s directive and the enquiry was transferred to High Power Committee. Having no faith in the HPC, the people’s movements, Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan and others decided to continue the struggle, and forcing the State government to finally appoint a Committee under the Principal Secretary, Housing to undertake the enquiry into Six SRA projects in January 2013.
In this context NAPM decided to go in for a parallel enquiry from the eminent experts panel as an initiative from the civil society, under the chairmanship of Justice H Suresh. Other members included Smt Amita Bhide, Prof. TISS, urban habitat policy expert & member of the High Power Expert Group appointed by High Court, Mumbai in 2005; Sh. Chandrashekhar, architect and member of High-rise Buildings Committee, Govt of Maharashtra; Shri S Suradkar, former Inspector General of Police and Simpreet Singh, senior social activist. The panel went through a long process of investigation for months, conducted public hearings, visited the SRA areas and communities, invited and heard developers who appeared before the Commission and referred to the submissions made by the residents, their groups and organisations as well as the developers. The Commission also referred to secondary data and information available in various policy documents and reports. The Commission benefitted from the long experience and research of the panel members as senior policy interveners.
The Report has brought out a number of frauds and illegalities infesting the SRA projects and the serious flaws in to the SR Scheme itself. It indicates how the developers – politicians – bureaucrats together have favoured the builders more often than the residents and permitted violations of laws, rules and the scheme itself. The Scheme’s objective of the rehabilitation is often marred since displacement of hundreds of families without rehabilitation has also been a result of wrong application and corruption in the eligibility criteria and list of beneficiaries evolved thereby. With no registered agreements in the hands of the residents, the Commission has reported a number of cases where they are cheated or kept hanging in the non livable transit camps or the rented houses without the rent being paid regularly. The report brings out the stories of oppression and repression by the residents of decades old communities who are driven out using intimidation and luring tactics, ultimately to dump them, violating their rights. False cases filed against the residents, unrequired questioning of residents by police are used as harassment tactics. The Report exposes the role of the police in favouring the developers, many a times not admitting the FIRs and compelling the residents to run from dawn to dusk and reach the Courts at enormous costs.
An important highlight of the Report is regarding the transfer of the land to the builders which the scheme legitimizes, going against the expected principle and goal of equitable land use in the megalopolis of Mumbai where 60% of population being slumdwellers, resides on not more than 9.24 percent of Mumbai’s land. The allotment of land out of the communities land to the investor builder has attracted the politicians and others to also come forward and become partners in SRA schemes. This, as Report brings out, has resulted in complacency and favouritisim within the sanctioning and monitoring authorities such as SRA and Revenue department with the builders and have left the residents with little or no channel for redressal of their grievances. The Commission has concluded, going beyond the CAG report which shows that instead of 8 lakh houses only 1.5 lakh houses have been constructed under SRS since 1996 till 2011, that the Scheme is more or less a failure in terms of strengthening the Cooperatives of slum dwellers and rehabilitating them at a better standard of living.
The Report goes into the details of 6 SRA projects including Shiv Koliwada, Ramnagar (Ghatkopar), Ambedkar Nagar (Mulund), Indira Nagar (Jogeshwari), Chandivili (Mahendra and Sommaiyya quarries) and Golibar (Khar). These are the very projects which are also being enquired by Principal Secretary Housing Govt of Maharashtra, whose report is also expected soon. The People’s Commission is releasing the Report for the vibrant Civil Society and will submit the same to the Govt of Maharashtra this evening. Expecting serious consideration and prompt action on the recommendations, the Commission would await the official report from the Ministry of Housing and ponder over it, planning its future strategy to bring in the pro people democratic and just housing scheme that would result in equitable distribution of land and protection of people’s right to shelter as part of right to life, under article 21 of the Constitution.
The report’s recommendations includes urgent review of the 6 SRA projects under scanner as also the overall SR Scheme itself. Where the projects are not consented to by the communities those should be cancelled and amalgamation to big chunks of land diverted to the builders under 3k clause of the slum act 1971 or otherwise under some pretext should be withdrawn. The Commission instead suggests that with the people’s consent and readiness the community should be permitted and promoted to build their own housing schemes in truly cooperative way using their own labour force and artisans as also retaining land underneath the slums with their own rights.
The recommendations include alternative housing schemes on the basis of  Public Public Partnership that would include Rajeev Awas Yojana, with due participation and vision coming from the people, and people’s organsiations.
Medha Patkar             Sumita Wajale                      Madhuresh Kumar
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National Alliance of People’s MovementsNational Office : 6/6, Jangpura B, Mathura Road, New Delhi 110014
Phone : 011 26241167 / 24354737 Mobile : 09818905316
Web : www.napm-india.org
Twitter : @napmindia
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After 11 long years, an opportunity has arisen for Salman Khan to taste his just desert in killing and wounding footpath dwellers due to rash driving in an inebriated state. Sessions judge U B Hejib held, “that the offence of ‘culpable homicide not amounting to murder’ under IPC had been made out against Bollywood actor Salman Khan in a 2002 hit-and-run case and rejected his appeal challenging a Magistrate’s order invoking this charge“. Defense counsel Ashok Mundargi pleaded that “…the actor had neither the intention to kill people, nor the knowledge that his rash and negligent driving would kill a person and cause injury to four others“. Session court soundly rejected this defense based on infatilism, which seems to have affected one Bollywood star (Sanjay Dutt) after other; where they don’t seem to know the consequences of their actions. Salman Khan was 36 years old at the time of the accident; just as Sanjay Dutt was 33 years old when he sought and received AK variety assault rifles, pistols, and ammunition from Mumbai’s under world in 1993.
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One Response to “Jungle Chatti: Compassionate Daredevilry of Men in Uniform.”

  1. HIMANSHU SANGURI Says:

    I have put some suggestion work to the government of UK (sent in mail to CM and Governer of Uttarakhand) http://maverickhimanshu.blogspot.in/2013/07/himalayas-do-we-love-them.html

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