| NBA Press Release
|| 25 April 2004
Statement of solidarity with WB fasters and protestors
62, Mahatma Gandhi Road,
Madhya Pradesh - 451551
Dear Friends, Colleagues, and Supporters,
As the people of the Narmada Valley suffer from the World Bank’s destructive legacy, the Narmada Bachao Andolan, the movement of people affected by the Sardar Sarovar Dam on the Narmada River in India, extends its solidarity to the protest taking place in Washington against the Bank’s socially and environmentally destructive practices. The large scale displacement and impoverishment of over 200,000 people in the Narmada Valley is the direct result of the irresponsible lending of the World Bank, which extended support for the 140 meter mega-dam even before environmental studies were conducted and government clearance granted.
As we write, construction of the SSP dam wall is underway again after an illegal and callous decision by the government in March to further raise the dam height from 100m to 110m, in spite of an estimated 12,000 families who remain in the submergence zone at that dam height who have not received their legally guaranteed rehabilitation. When the monsoon rains are impounded behind the new 110m dam wall this summer, it will submerge scores of Adivasi tribal villages in the Valley as well as densely populated towns in the plains of Nimad, along with their homes, fields, forests, shops, markets, temples, and mosques. Acting with utter contempt and disregard for the lives of the people, the government refuses to comply with rehabilitation policies and Supreme Court judgments, as well as the World Bank’s policies on involuntary displacement, which the latter has failed to enforce. As a result, thousands of families will be shoved off from their ancestral lands and communities without compensation or alternative land to turn to for their livelihood. It is only through the NBA’s 19 years of struggle that a fraction of the affected people have so far been rehabilitated.
We demand, along with the rest of our comrades, that the World Bank take responsibility for the human and environmental destruction they have wrought with the Sardar Sarovar, as well as with other Bank funded projects across the globe. We further demand that the Bank stop supporting projects that displace indigenous people and that it abandon its undemocratic, inequitable, and unsustainable paradigm of “development.” . As the people of the Narmada Valley continue to fight with determined resistance for their rights and livelihoods, we are encouraged by the show of support from the fasters and protesters outside of the World Bank in Washington this week. We feel strong bonds of solidarity with our supporters abroad, and with all those who oppose the destructive policies of the World Bank. As we say in the Narmada Valley, “Ammu akkha, ek sa!” (We are all one!).
Yours in struggle,
Narmada Bachao Andolan