NBA Press Note

April 5, 2001

Save The Narmada, Save Humanity!

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Badwani, Madhya Pradesh
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Narmada Sangharsh Parikrama Started with Vigour and Enthusiasm

With slogans, songs alongwith colourful floats the Narmada Sangharsh Parikrama started yesterday (4.4.2001) from the village Balgaon of Nimad. The Adivasis and women of Nimad, under the leadership of Medha Patkar carrying the Kalash of Narmada Maiyya's holy water inaugurated the week-long Sangharsh Parikrama.

Taking a vow to face the impending submergence ahead monsoon due to the unjust Supreme Court verdict, the farmers, women of Nimad plain, Adivasis of Narmada Valley and the supporters from various states, such as Maharashtra, Kerala, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh participated in the Parikrama. Senior scientist of Kerala Sasthra Sahitya Parishad, Shri.R.V.G.Menon, anti-nuclear activist Shri.Ashok Kumar along with activists fighting against big dams and globalisation from various countries like Italy, America, Norway, etc. are also taking part in the Sangharsh Parikrama.

While delivering a speech in the meeting, Shri.R.V.G.Menon said that "the struggle going on in Kerala and that of Nimad are the same, as both are against destructive projects, globalisation and liberalisation, which will destroy the traditional cultures, local and self-sufficient agriculture, etc". He added that the struggle in the Narmada Valley is symbolic of the combined struggle of all people, who are fighting against the wrong development projects and policies.

Among the participants Sidiya, the first tribal boy to reach X standard from Narmada Jeevanshala and Kum.Vandana from Nimad without even bothering the ongoing examimation are also present.The public meeting was compired by Dr.Sugan Baranth, Sarvodaya activist from Malegaon and Devrambhai Kanera of Narmada Bachao Andolan. Meanwhile, the Sangharsh Parikramavasis received a warm welcome from the villagers of Balgaon including Shri.Hukumsingh, the Sarpanch, Saritha Kaki, etc. Warm reception was received at village Nimrani, Kuva and Dhavana too. A large public meeting was held at village Chichli, as the last program of the first day.

Parikrama proceeded further with slogans like, "hamere Nimad ka gehu, Keral ka dhan, Is hi liye hamara desh mahan" (The greatness of our nation lies in the wheat of Nimad and the grain of Kerala).

Passing through Anjad town, Parikrama will reach Badwani on 6th April, where a huge farmers meeting (Kissan Sammelan) is planned. Dr.Sunilam, Member of Madhya Pradesh Legislative Assembly, Sunil, Samajvadi Jan Parishad and others will be participating in it. Baba Amte will join the Parikrama on 6th morning at village Taloon. The Parikrama will proceed via Nisarpur, Manovar and Dhamnod, to reach Indore on the 10th for a large gathering. Eminent persons like Arundhati Roy, Surendra Mohan, Mohini Giri, Dr.B.D.Sharma will be addressing the gathering there.

In the auspicious occasion of inauguration, the women, men and children of the Valley resolved their reiteration against the distribution of cash compensation in lieu of agriculural land, shouting "we will not sell our land, will not accept cash compensation". As a part of Parikrama and resolution against the illegal and anti-social distribution of cash compensation, a kalash (pot with Holy Narmada water) is being taken around the villages where each family in each village will immerse coins in it as a symbolic renouncement of cash.