NARMADA BACHAO ANDOLAN
B-13, Shivam Flats
58, Gandhi Marg,
Badwani, Madhya Pradesh
Narmada villagers stop fake survey;
M.P. police fire in air, beat and injure many;
Chikhalda people block highway
Continuing with the repressive tactics, the Madhya Pradesh police today
(Saturday, April 14th) intimidated and beaten the protesting villagers in
Chikhalda, affected by the controversial Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) and
fired twice in the air. Undeterred, hundreds of men and women from
Chikhalda and adjoining villages have blocked the Khandawa-Baroda Road for
an hour. They have been demanding that the state government must answer
their questions and follow the provisions of Narmada Water Disputes
Tribunal (NWDT) regarding the displacement and resettlement. The officials
and police went away after the partial survey.
The tension started when the officials of Narmada Valley Development
Authority (NVDA) tried to conduct the survey of the households in
Chikhalda (Teh. Kukshi, Dist. Dhar). The village will be affected by the
backwaters of the 90 meters of the height of the dam, though it may be
submerged at 95 meters. However, the government could not resettle anyone
of the 4000 people from the villages. The Supreme Court, in its order in
October, 2000, has also wanted the NWDT to be followed. The Tribunal
clearly laid down that only after the people below the required height
have been resettled satisfactorily for six months, that area could be
submerged. However, the government has taken up the height of the dam up
to 90 meters, when even those affected by 80 meters have yet to be resettled.
The villagers asked the NVDA survey team, whether the government has land
for land to be given to the oustees according to the NWDT, where was the
master plan of rehabilitation? The officials conceded that there was no
master plan of rehabilitation ready and the government has no land to be
given for the project affected people. Despite this confession, the
survey team tried to continue the work next day only in a few people's
house. The people asked that the government officials should give it in
writing that the survey was incomplete as it had excluded majority of
houses. However, the officials were not ready to accept this legal and
reasonable demand and instead the got the police to beat the people with
lathis (batons) and even the women were not spared. They were incensed
when the police behaved improperly with the women protestors. Police
official Mr. Pawar threatened one villager by putting pistol at his
ear. Munna Mansoori and four others got injuries while one of the main
activists, Ashish Mandloi was mercilessly beaten. In protest over 300
people from Chikhalda came out on the adjacent Baroda-Khandwa highway and
blocked it for an hour.
Previously also, in other villages, the NVDA officials conducted only
partial survey in face of the protests and questions from the people. "
They have been collecting false data and estimates", said Ashish Mandloi
and other activists. It again became clear that the government has no land
for the resettlement and yet it is trying to start the displacement people
and in that too it is trying to cheat the people. The officials have been
deliberately underestimating the number of affected households. The Madhya
Pradesh government has been playing with the lives of its own people and
people have resolved that they would resist unjust displacement.
The Chikhalda incident has also shown the continuing repressive tactics
of Madhya Pradesh government has been using against the people's movements.
During last couple of months, the organizations working with the tribals
have been targeted for the arbitrary arrests, firing and intimidation.
While condemning the Chikhalda incident and the government's attempts to
oust the people, we also question the anti-people role of the Madhya
Pradesh government. we call unto the people and the organizations to keep
watch on the developments in the state and ask the state government to
desist from such undemocratic and anti-people ways.