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PUCL for awareness among people

The Times of India News Service
August 4, 2000

ALLAHABAD: The state branch of the Peoples Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) has stressed the need of people’s participation for `sustainable development of Uttarakhand’, the Bill for which was passed by the Lok Sabha on Tuesday by voice-vote.

Addressing a press conference here on Thursday, the PUCL (UP wing) activists, led by advocate Ravi Kiran Jain, expressed hope that the coming generations of women and youth in the hills would undergo a qualitative change and finally crush the combined might of liquor, land and forest crime groups operating there at the moment.

But to achieve this goal, Mr Jain added, awareness among hill people about their economic, social and cultural rights was imperative, especially about the decentralisation of power to municipal level in towns and Gram Sabha level in villages on Kerala pattern during the last few years.

The PUCL activists claimed that a team toured Garhwal region in June and felt a sense of jubiliation among masses and a creative desire for the new, 27th state, comprising 13 districts of western UP and the hills. Another team would visit the Kumaon region in September.

`The first task of people of Uttarakhand, after its creation, should be to exercise their collective Human right to development as contained in part IX and IXA of the Constitution, under which by 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendment Acts, institutions of local-self governments have been created in rural and urban areas. These institutions are meant for decentralised planning, the activists said.

They also ruled out any divide between the peoples of hills and the plains. They expressed faith in the Constitution of India, but were against the politicians, who were elected by “us” and breached the `promise’ contained in Preamble (of the Constitution of India) and Part IV.

They warned that the Himalayas, one of the world’s major eco- belts, are already in irrevisible danger of damage and this majestic mountain chain can become barren fast unless something is done by the people of Uttarakhand immediately after its creation.

The UP PUCL has been active in protecting and defending the 373 `Civil and Political Right’ of the people of Uttarakhand since 1994. The PUCL is against `reckless’ globalisation of economy and the role of MNCs in domestic market, it was claimed at the press conference.