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SARDAR SAROVAR
THE MAHESHWAR DAM
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Press Note 2.4.99

NORTH MAHARASHTRA GROUPS SUPPORT NARMADA STRUGGLE,
HUMAN RIGHTS MARCH IN SHAHADA, DHULE & MALEGAON

Number of organisations in the North Maharashtra joined over two thousands men and women from the Narmada valley from the villages affected by the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) have commenced their Human Rights March from Badwani in Madhya Pradesh on April 1 ( Thursday). The March has arrived in Malegaon in Maharashtra on the second day, conducting public meetings in Shahada, Dondaicha, Dhule . They were welcomed by number of organisations and people of the area. The people reasserted their determination to expose the false claims made by the state and union governments and to face the unjust submergence that is imposed on them. " We will not be cowed down by the attempts of the governments to displace us by the threat of submergence" said Noorjibhai, one of the main village leaders from the tribal area of Maharashtra.


Hundreds of people from the resettlement sites in Gujarat and Maharashtra joined the people from the villages resisting the dam and displacement. Women and men from plains of Nimad, from the mountains of Vindhya and Satpuda along with those affected from the other dams in the Narmada valley have been a part of the rally. Number of activists from Kerala, Tamilnadu, other parts of Maharahtra have been accompanying the march. The March was welcomed en route at Anjad, Palsud, Khetiya in M.P. and at Shahada, Dondaicha and Dhule in Maharashtra before it camped for the night at Malegaon. Mr. Waharu Sonavane, the prominent leader of the tribals and of Adivasi Ekata Parishad said that whatever happens regarding the displacement and dam in the Narmada valley would have profound impact on the tribalsí rights and resources all over India. Expressing his solidarity with the struggle in the Narmada valley he decried the attempts of Maharashtra government to displace the people with the threat of the submergence.


The people at these places have arranged for the food for the marchers and joined with them. The people will be having similar halts and rallies-meetings at Nashik, Then before reaching to Mumbai on 4-5 th April en routre Delhi. The people will, through the Yatra, would appeal the people along their way to rise against the spectre of displacement and destitution.


In Delhi, the people will be protesting against the role of the Union Ministry of Social Justice in facilitating the further construction on the dam when the ground reality was something else.


The people in the Narmada valley have decided to take out a "Human Rights March" to reassert their right to life and to expose the false claims made by the governments of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and the Union government regarding the displacement and resettlement of the SSP oustees. The interim order of the Supreme Court will further inundate 33 tribal villages in Maharashtra and at least 25 villages in M.P. with 1500-2000 families facing the displacement. Those who have been resettled upto the present height of 80.3 meters could not be resettled fully. Even the first few villages near the dam site are not resettled. Those who have been resettled have been facing the problems regarding non-availability of land, uncultivable land, problems regarding drinking water, fodder, fuel etc. The Maharashtra government claimed that it had enough land to resettle the oustees upto 110 meters, when in reality hundreds of those who have been displaced hitherto are left in lurch without land, and other amenities.


Prof. Shyam Patil
Kesubhavu Vasave
Sanjay Sangvai