Friday, November 17 (New Delhi):
The report of the World Commission on Dams has come as a great boost to the fight against the Sardar Sarovar Project. Narmada Bachao Andolan activists today took their struggle off the streets and into the rooms where policies are made. Delhi's corridors of power were taken over by activists of the Narmada Bachao Andolan.
The targets of their ire were those in power who NBA activist think are not listening to the people affected by the Sardar Sarovar Project. The Power and Water Resources Ministry in Delhi was echoing adivasi protest songs.
The NBA is struggling to get the governments of the four states involved in the SSP to rehabilitate and compensate all those being displaced by the mega dam project. With no minister or secretary willing to see the activists at first, a potential stand-off threatened as the police was called in. Finally, a series of meetings and a promised appointment with all concerned politicians and bureaucrats tomorrow cooled off frayed tempers for the moment atleast. Vimal Bhai, activist, NBA stated, "All of us here will drown if the project goes ahead. No one has been rehabilitated. The Supreme Court asked the government to tell them about all the schemes for rehabilitation within a month. Nothing has happened."
The World Commission on Dams' report vindicates what critics of mega dams have been saying for a while and opponents of the dominant developmental model are now using that shot in the arm to reinvigorate their fight against cruelly disastrous social and environmental costs of big dams.