Category Archive : News

India Strikes Against FDI Retail

Today’s call for a nationwide strike (Bharat Bandh) by trade unions of street vendors, small traders, and most of the political parties from left to right and including of parties within the Govt.  and parties supporting the Govt. was historical. Millions of retailers and thousands of trade associations observed the bandh demanding rollback of FDI in multi-brand retail. All major markets were closed through out India. Public transport was off the roads and colleges, schools, offices and transport services remain shut in most part of India. Trains were blocked by political activists of BJP, SP and CPI (ML) in many places including Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Orissa and Jharkhand. The station Master of Patna Railway Station was locked. The impact of the strike was also seen in states of the North East. The bandh was total in Manipur. Banks, markets, shops and educational institutions were closed, with government offices recording low attendance in Meghalaya. Railway, road and others services were heavily impacted in Jharkhand. Most colleges reported only 20-50% attendance in Mumbai.
In a sit-in protest organised jointly by our campaign allies prominent national leaders from left to right shared the dais. NDA Convenor and JD(U) President Sharad Yadav asked the Congress to remove Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for this “attack on the bread of butter of 25 core people”, while addressing the protest at Jantar Mantar. Eight parties including left parties and SP took out protest march towards Parliament and Mulayam Singh Yadav, Prakash Karat, AB Bardhan, Sitaram Yechury and Chandrababu Naidu courted arrest in parliament police station. BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu was detained in Hyderabad whereas Yeddyurappa and Ananth Kumar got arrested in Bangalore.
On the other hand, Finance Minister P Chidambaram said to media that the nation-wide strike has caused a huge damage to the Indian economy and the common people. Big Business lobby group, CII reported to media that the nation-wide strike against the government decision to allow foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail have caused losses to the tune of Rs12,500 crore ($2.25 billion) to the Indian economy.
For Photos click:

Dharmendra Kumar

Updates on the Strike

September 19th, 2012

As the Govt. is in crisis after the pull out by 19 members of parliament of the Trinmool Congress in opposition to FDI in Multi Brand Retail, India is all set for a historical Bharat Bandh (all India strike) on 20th September. Our campaign allies including associations of street vendors, hawkers, independent shopkeepers, trade unions are all set for a complete bandh on 20th September to oppose FDI in retail.

All major markets would keep their shutters down throughout India. Markets in Kerala and Himachal Pradesh were closed on 18th Sept to oppose FDI in retail. Markets of both states will again remain closed on 20th September. As per reports of various trade and hawkers associations, there would be total bandh in other states as well including Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Bihar, West Bengal, Assam, Gujrat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Goa and Tamilnadu.

In Delhi, more than 300 trade associations will actively participate in the strike. Delhi Vyapar Mahasangh, All Delhi Chemist Association, Delhi Hindustani Mercantile Association, Kirana Committee, Chemical Merchants Association, Delhi Grain Merchant Association, Khari Bawli Sarva Vyapar Mandal, Chandni Chowk Sarva Vyapar Mandal, Delhi Electrical Traders Association, Federation of Delhi Trade Association, Rang Rasayan Vyapar Sangh, New Lajpat Roy Market Traders Association, Paper Merchant Association, Delhi Wedding and Greeting Cards Merchants Association, Delhi File Vikreta Sangh, Delhi Iron and Hardware Merchant association, Delhi Steel Tools and Hardware Traders Association, Federation of Sadar Bazar Traders Association, Confederation of Sadar Bazaar Traders Association, Kamla Nagar Jawahar Nagar Traders Association, Naraina Iron and Steel Merchant welfare association, Karol Bagh Traders Federation, Ajmal Khan Vyapar Mandal, Delhi Scooter Traders Association, New Delhi Traders Association, General Machinery Merchants Association, Readymade Garments Association, Khan Market Traders Associations, Automotive parts merchants association, Tractor Parts Merchants Association, Peepal Mahadev Traders Association, Daal and Besan Millers Association, Lajpat Nagar Traders Association, Laxmi Nagar Traders Association, Association of Readymade garment dealers, Barna steel metal merchant association, Delhi canvas merchant association, Delhi Tyres Dealers Association, Delhi Building Material Merchant association, Delhi Vegetable Oil Traders Association, Rajdhani Oil Suppliers Association, Gaffar Market Vyapar Mandal, Karol Bagh Dwellers Association, Subhash Road Readymade Garment association, Kutub Road Traders Association, Surgical Traders Association, Sri Niwas puri Shopkeepers Association, Chandrawal Road Shopkeepers Association, Beeranpura Handloom Traders Association, Delhi Glass Bottles Traders Association, Ashok Vihar Traders Association, Shahadara Traders Association and many more have extended their support to the bandh.

Street Vendors and shopkeepers would organize protests and burn effigies of FDI in Retail in over hundred places through out Delhi. Leaders of various political parties are expected to join these protests. National Hawker Federation, Confederation of All India Traders, Bhartiya Udyog Vyapar Mandal etc. would organize protests at the Parliament as well.

Comment on FDI Retail

Comments on FDI in India

Mamata Pulls Out

Trinmool Congress led by West Bengal Chief Minister Ms. Mamata Banerjee pulls out from the Govt. opposing FDI in Retail. Her ministers would submit resignation to the Prime Minister on Friday.

We all have given a call for all India strike on Thursday. almost all political parties are supporting the shut down. Believe me everything in India would be on halt except essential services on Thursday. we would be holding protests as well.

Organizing Reports from ACORN Bangalore

Organizing Reports from ACORN Bangalore for May, June, and July 2012


Weekly Meetings:

Regular meetings were held in Hebbal:.Yelahanka New town, Shivajinagar, Yeshwanthpur and In K.R. Puram:

We had a protest in front of Town Hall along with our member Associations which was organized by NCL.

One more meeting was held on the street vendors issue with the organizations and the logistics and other issues were discussed. Issac from Action aid, Selva from Jansahayog, Maithri from ALF, Vinay from Beedhi vyaparigala hakkothaya Okkoota, Swathi from Equations, Srinivas from AKRVO K.R.Puram , Nirmal from Yeashwanthpur traders association, Zamir from Shivajinagar street vendors association participated. It was also decided that Suresh from ACORN, Issac from Action aid, Vinay from Beedhi vyaparigala hakkothaya Okkoota will meet on 29th to finalize the draft of the study questionnaire.

And again we met on 29th and prepared the questionnaire for the study and it was circulated among the members for suggestions.


Weekly Meetings:

Hebbal, Yelahanka New town, Shivajinagar ,Yeshwanthpur,and In K.R. Puram

Diabetes screening camp was held in Muthyala nagara slum.

Meeting on street vendors issue was held at ALF office to discuss about the study in the issue and the financial participation.

Meeting on the homeless shelter, ACORN, ALF, Action aid IGSSS and other organizations attended. The meeting focused on the issues of allotting the shelters to the NGO’s and the process of the allotment adopted by the government of Karnataka.

Meeting on Road widening and the affected communities. ESG, Hasiru Usiru, and 12 other RWA’s and 2 more organizations participated. A network of the organizations was launched and named as Bangalore Transportation Projects Impacted Communities Network (BATPIC network). It was decided to hold a Press conference on 17th of July.

The registration of the Street vendors union was rejected on the grounds that the methodology adopted to identify the street vendors was not acceptable to the officials and was assured to get it right through a form issued by the Labour Department.

40 street vendors in Vijayanagar got their Identity cards issued by the Department of Labor through which they will be eligible for the various social security schemes from the government.


Weekly Meetings:

Regular meetings were held at Hebbal, Yelahanka New town, Shivajinagar, Yeshwanthpur, K.R. Puram, Vijayanagar, Basavanagudi, and Malleshwaram.

A blood donation camp was conducted at KR Puram Market on 1st of July as a mark of protest. 850 vendors donated their blood. The blood donated was handed over to the Karnataka Health department and a letter to the BBMP commissioner and the Mayor was submitted stating the people at the market would give their blood rather giving up the market for construction of the commercial complex.

A press meet was held at the Bangalore Press club on the road widening and its affected communities under the banner BATPIC network. A joint statement was released to draw the attention of the government on the effect of the projects of the government and also to suggest some of the alternate solutions.

A protest march from K.R. Puram to the BBMP office was organized by ACORN demanding for 50 specific market spaces for vendors all over Bangalore, and to implement the Street vendors’ policy in Karnataka. Over 2500 vendors from different parts of Bangalore participated in the protest. The participation was from, Malleshwaram and Shivajinagar – Bangalore Centre, Hebbal, K.R. Puram and Yeshwanthpur – Bangalore North, Basavanagudi, Jayanagar, Banashankari – Bangalore South. There were other organizations also extending their support for the cause. And 25 organizations also sent their representative to be part of the march.

Follow up of the registration of the Union for the vendors.

In Hebbal verification by the government officials for issuing of ID card was over. Of the 150 vendors 148 vendors will be getting their ID cards by the end next month.


65th Anniversary of Independence Day in India

Homeless citizens hoisted the national flag for the 65th anniversary of Independence Day in India.

Updates from Dharavi


New concrete fence and concertina wire in Dharavi after 10 meters of slums were cleared on each side of sewer pipes.




New ACORN Recycling Center





Our World.



ACORN India’s Mission




One of our recyclers doing a rap about Dharavi for a crew from Panamanian TV — Telemetro.









Signs at our office.



More recycling.



The ACORN football (soccer) team shirts for our 70 players.



ACORN’s English Class draws a crowd.


Corporate Social Responsibility project with us got a wall painted at St. Xavier’s.


Vinod Shetty consults with Laxsma and other Dharavi leaders.



ACORN Dharavi Rocks band practices once a week.




Hot drummer on the plastic drum.


Dharavi Rocks sings together.


All of our instruments are recycled plastic or glass items.


ACORN India and Dharavi Kids Featured in Times of India

Health Camp and Building Informal Workers Union

Bengaluru (Bangalore):  As a way to reach informal workers we are organizing into a union, ACORN organizer Suresh Kadashan set up a “health camp” in the construction workers squatting settlement on disputed land between a private holder and the railway. A doctor volunteered and provided health screenings for diabetes, heart, and blood pressure and then out of his pocket provided some simple medicines, the diabetes strips, and referrals if needed to area hospitals. Over 4 or 5 hours we provided 99 screenings without the doctor and his equally volunteering nurse taking a break.  37 of the 99 tested positive for diabetes across all age groups, which was startling. The culprit seems to be diet and the fact that most the cooking oils are not refined making them amazingly dangerous.


Settlement where workers live is more strongly built by the informal construction workers we organize. 




Pitching the tent for the health camp depends on helpers both tall and small. 




Doctor and nurse set up as Suresh Kadashan lends a hand with checking for ear mites. 




Screenings begin . . . 









Crowds growing . . .






The men await their turn last.



Medications are issued.



Akshardham Temple & Metro Site

Across the flyover or expressway from our oldest site and part of the ITO slum dislocation, is Akshardham Temple and Metro Site #4.  This homeless shelter managed by ACORN India is at the juncture of the Akshardham Metro stop, the railway line (on whose property it is located), a city water station and washing station for the poor, and an easy parking and resting place for auto rickshaw drivers. ACORN India’s 4 centers are among about 85 that are supported by the Urban Board of the Delhi Government.











Pictures of the railroad, the organizing staff with Dharmendra and Wade, the Temple and the Metro.










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