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Women victims if water is privatised, says expert
Express News Service

New Delhi: Dr Vandana Shiva, environmental activist and head of NGO Navdanya, today gave the Habitat Talk as a part of the ongoing International Women’s Month on Women, Ecology and Globalisation at The Habitat Centre.

Speaking on water privatisation, Shiva said that this was just another way to clamp down on women’s rights. She narrated an example in this regard. ‘‘For the past two years there was a movement in Kerala, where women were protesting outside the Coke factory. The factory was taking 1.5 million litres of water per day in a place where water was never scarce. Now, water is scarce in this area and women have to walk for miles in search of water.’’

Shiva added that this happened in a country where water providers were ‘‘not five companies who owned and controlled rights to buy and sell water. Even now, in India, the water providers are women.’’

‘‘Since then the high court pronounced that water was not a commodity and doesn’t belong to anyone. It instead has to be preserved as a common public trust,’’ she said.

Speaking against bio-piracy, Shiva pointed out ‘‘every resource of the earth is up for grabs, including food grains which have been developed and are used by women in the country.’’ She called it a ‘‘transfer of knowlegde and power to a handful of corporations’’, and stated: ‘‘Women believe in the economy of inclusion. They believe that by sharing you create more and by exclusion, you get less. But a few corporations believe that exclusion is the way to grow. It is. But just for a few’’.

Shiva also announced that farmers from different parts of India and Pakistan will soon come together for a special Food Festival at Dilli Haat. ‘‘Sanjha Chulha, the festival which will have food cooked by farmers themselves, will go on from March 16 to 30. It will feature a different cuisine everyday and sometimes different grains,’’ she said.

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