NBA Press Note

April 6, 2001

Save The Narmada, Save Humanity!

62, M.G.Marg,
Badwani, Madhya Pradesh
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Farmers in Narmada Valley do not accept removal of Quantitative Restrictions on agricultural imports
Large Kissan Sammelan at Badwani:Narmada Sangharsh Parikrama Enters 3rd Day

Hundreds of farmers from the Nimad (Madhya Pradesh) and from nearby areas have condemned the removal of quantitative restriction on the agriculture imports and other imports which would harm the interests of small producers and traders in India, in an impressive Farmaers' Convention on 6th April, on the banks of narmada at Badwani.

Baba Amte, Dr.Sunilam, of Kisan Sangharsha Samtiti and Member of Legislative Assembly Madhya Pradesh, Sunilbhai of Kisan Adivasi Sanghatan and Samajwadi Jan Parishad, R.V.G. Menon Kerala Shastra Sahitya Parishad, Lata P.M. National Alliance of People's Movements, Medha Patkar and others addressed the rally.

Supporters from Bombay, Pune, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Norway, United States, Italy and other places too were present during the program.

The Sammelan was a part of the Narmada Sangharsh Parikrama the week long circumambulation of Narmada, which was started from village Balgaon on 4th April and after covering over 40 villages and towns in Nimad (Madhya Pradesh), it will reach Indore on the 10th April for a large gathering. Arundhati Roy, Swami Agnivesh, Mohini Giri (former Chairperson National Commission for Women), Dr.B.D.Sharma (former Chairman Commission for Scheduled Castes and Tribes), Surendra Mohan and others will address the gathering.

Kissan Sammelan

The removal of Qualitative Restrictions on import on all goods since April 1st has pushed the economy of the country to a crisis. The worst affected due to this is the agriculture sector and the farmer community, since majority of our population is dependent on agriculture for their survival. Even with a capacity of over a hundred thousand mega watts, the farmers are provided with only 8% of it. Withdrawal of subsidies, import of agricultural products and thus devaluing the products in the country and the farmer not getting even the production cost are some of the results of this destructive agricultural policy. The Kissan Sammelan of 6th April at Badwani, organised by the Narmada Bachao Andolan has declared that "We are self reliant to meet our needs, the compromise is done not by the people, but by the Government, and we will not accept it".

Medha Patkar has appealed to all organisations and right thinking people to come together to fight the monster of globalisation and to intensify the struggle.

The octogenerian social worker, Baba Amte, at his age of 87, has inspired the gathering with his illuminating speech. Leading the oath taking, he said, "To protect the centuries' old culture and life of Narmada Valley, we are on Parikrama and this is a part of our fight for a sustainable development". He added that, "not leaving the valley of Narmada is not just a slogan, but a vow".

Addressing the Sammelan Dr.Sunilam said that the war cries against the wrong development policies, imposed upon by WTO-IMF-World Bank, is heard from the nook and corner of the country and the time for a combined attack is not far. Sunilbhai, explained the deliberate attempts of the policy makers to drive the farmer community to debt and destitution.

The gathering strongly condemned the brutal massacre of tribals in Dewas district in Madhya Pradesh, carried out in the name of "Operation Clean".

Suniti S.R.