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Mumbaiites take SC ruling on Narmada dam in their stride
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Mumbaiites take SC ruling on Narmada dam in their stride

MUMBAI, OCT 20: A peaceful meeting, organised today by the activists of the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) and their supporters to protest against the ``anti-people decision of the Supreme Court,'' failed to melt the average Mumbaikar. Bold posters and enthusiastic singing drew curious crowds and curses from the human traffic rushing back home in the evening. The Azad Maidan police asked the protestors to leave as they had no permission to ``agitate in a public area and create confusion.''

The meeting, outside Eros Cinema in Churchgate, aimed to make Mumbaikars aware about the ``disastrous type of development'' that the government was indulging in. Said an impassioned Perveen Jehagir, activist and spokesperson from the NBA, ``the governemt does not care about the people and it does not care about the environment. The various leaders and bureaucrats only want to ensure that their pockets are full.

However, Jehagir and others are confident that all the official machinery will have to bend when the people take over. ``The power of the people will assert itself. The SC can't just finish off the matter like that,'' says Lyla Mehta, a researcher with the NBA. The SC decision has upset them all and now they await the next course of action advised by the NBA after the meeting of its core members.

``We will not take to violence, don't worry,'' assures Jehagir, ``but we will also not take this decision lying down.'' The SC has asked the Narmada Water Tribunal to finalise plans for the rehabilitation of the oustees within four weeks. ``The Tribunal could not do that in 40 years. What makes the SC think that it will be done in four weeks?'' thunders Jehagir. ``The Madhya Pradesh and the Maharshtra governments have admitted that they do not have any land for the oustees.

Asked what she expects from the government and the judiciary, pat came the answer, ``a little bit of honesty will go a long way.''

Copyright © 2000 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd.


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