| NBA Press Release
|| 27 April 2002
Dharna Continues into the Sixth Day
NARMADA BACHAO ANDOLAN
B-13, Shivam Flats
62, Mahatma Gandhi Road,
Madhya Pradesh - 451551
Today (27th April, 2002) the dharna of more than 300 representatives from the Narmada valley continued into the sixth day with 17 women declaring indefinite fast from today. Meanwhile the Chief Minister, Digvijay Singh has agreed to meet a delegation tomorrow morning.
For the past 6 days people from the valley have been demonstrating in dharna outside the Narmada Bhavan demanding answers and just process with a full stop on the illegal practices in rehabilitation and the threat of unjust submergence. But discussions held over the past few days have shown that the officials are in no position to provide answers, atleast thoughtful ones. The manner in which they have attempted to prevent/sabotage relevant and decisive discussion is illustrative of their dubious role in the rehabilitation process. Also what has emerged is that the government on the whole lacks the courage and character needed to protect the rights of those from whom such tremendous "sacrifice" is being demanded. Instead it continues to deny people their basic rights to appease a fascist Gujarat government with absolute disregard to the fact that this project spells nothing but doom for Madhya Pradesh. Not only will the most fertile lands of Nimad with its famous horticulture, papaya and other crops in thousand of hectares be submerged but also in threat (and already affected now at 90m) are the 100% adivasi villages of Kukshi, Alirajpur and Badwani tehsils. The MP government in a bid to appease the Gujarat government has not only turned a blind eye to the losses but also reduced the rehabilitation process to a number game played on paper in the offices of Narmada Valley Development Authority in Indore and Bhopal. Today when there is a definite pressure to increase the dam height inspite of all the illegalities and blatant violations, the people have taken to the streets and prevent this.
Today in the face of this and the inability, in fact, unwillingness of the officials to provide answers to basic questions raised the people have decided to intensify the struggle today even with the relay fast continuing women have decided to begin an indefinite fasts from today. Meanwhile the Chief Minister has sent a message through Sh. M.L. Gupta, executive engineer (NVDA) informing that he would meet an NBA delegation tomorrow morning at his residence. The people have informed that this meeting could be held in the presence of all NVDA officials and other concerned officials of Revenue, Forest departments. The demands of the people have been put forward and it is now up to the government to respond. Will it continue its unholy alliance with Gujarat government or start caring for its people remains to be seen? The people meanwhile continue their struggle against the Sardar Sarovar Project.Himanshu Upadhyay