NBA Press Release
  02 April 2006
Save The Narmada, Save Humanity!

LARGE PUBLIC HEARING HELD AT THE NARMADA DHARNA SITE TODAY: EMINENT PEOPLE COME TOGETHER TO CONDEMN THE ILLEGAL HEIGHT RAISE AND
SUPPORT THE FEARLESS ANDOLANKARIS

62, Mahatma Gandhi Road,
Badwani,
Madhya Pradesh - 451551
Tel: 07290-222464
Email: badwani[at]narmada.org

As the indefinite fast continued into its 5th day, and the health of the three Andolankaris: Jamsingh Navgave, Medha Patkar, and Bhagwatibehen Patidar worsens, a large public hearing was organised at the dharna at Jantar Mantar to protest against the unjust and illegal displacement and lack of rehabilitation inflicted on the families affected by the Sardar Sarovar dam.

The Public Hearing was attended by over 500 people including those of the Narmada Valley who have now been here for 17 consecutive days. They were joined by people fighting against unjust displacement and brutal slum demolitions in cities like New Delhi and Mumbai. Experts, supporters, academicians and activists came in full force to take part in this Public Hearing. The panel consisted of eminent persons such as Arundhati Roy, CPI National Secretary D. Raja, noted socialist Surendra Mohan, Shri B.D. Sharma, human rights activist S.A.R. Geelani, actress Nandita Das, JNU Professor Jayati Ghosh, journalist Praful Bidwai, DU Professor Achin Vinaik, film-maker Sanjay Kak, writer Jai Sen, Nandini Sundar, CPI(ML) leader Kumudini Pati, Anupam Mishra, Ramaswamy Iyu, Kamal Mitra Chenoy, Prashant Bushan, S.P. Shukla, Kavita Shrivastava, Prabhash Joshi, Anil Chandhary, Bharat Ghandhi, Rajni Tilak, Retd. Jst. Rajindra Sachar, Prem Kishen Sharma, Prabhir Purakayastha from the CPI(M), and many others.

Shri D. Raja, whose party has extended support to the UPA government, clearly stated that the CPI supported the government based on its promises in the Common Minimum Program (CPM), which clearly state that eviction and displacement will not be done. He has promised to talk to the Prime Minister immediately.

The testimonials of the people exposed the injustices constantly perpetrated on the families affected by Sardar Sarovar, detailing the violations in the current clearance to raise the dam height, NBA^s struggle for the past 20 years. What cannot be denied is the clear message delivered people that we will not sit quiet as democracy and peoples^ rights are trampled on.

Speakers, including displaced people from the Narmada Valley, raised the following issues: In Maharashtra, contrary to state government claims, over 3000 families have yet to be rehabilitated, according to the report of the monitoring & evaluation body appointed by the state of Maharashtra. The M.P. government has not distributed even one inch of land to those who are entitled to it. Instead, illegal cash compensation is being rampantly distributed, which is a violation of Supreme Court orders. The Gujarat affected families face a host of problems at the resettlement sites, with serious violations such as bad land allotted, land not allotted to many eligible families, and lack of proper amenities at the sites. All in all, the situation of rehabilitation in all three states is appalling, with 35,000 families affected under 122 metres who have not been rehabilitated! Hence the construction of the dam should be stopped right away and people rehabilitated.

Today marks the 17th day of the indefinite dharna to protest against the illegal decision to raise the height of the Sardar Sarovar dam to 121.92 metres in complete violation of the Narmada Tribunal Award and Supreme Court judgments, and of the constitutionally-guaranteed fundamental rights of the people. Each step of further construction of the dam is in direct violation threatens the lives and livelihoods of thousands of families.

Dipti Bhatnagar Clifton Rozario Kamla Yadav
Bawa Mahariya Pinjaribai Pavra Yogini Khanolkar
Kailash Awasya Ashish Mandloi