| NBA Press Release
|| 14 April 2006
48-hour warning to government ends today; 7 eminent supporters sit on hunger fast at Jantar Mantar
62, Mahatma Gandhi Road,
Madhya Pradesh - 451551
Fast of Medha, Jamsingh and Bhagwati enters 17th day; health of fasters is getting serious
Actions of support and solidarity continue; actors Rahul Bose and Aamir Khan visit dharna site (separately) to support both the struggles
As the three fasters, Medha Patkar, Jamsingh Nargave and Bhagwati Patidar enters the 17th day, their health is beginning to get serious. Jamsingh Nargave's pain and wekaness continues; he is having severe headaches. Bhagwati Patidar's is experiencing fatigue. Medha Patkar's is having low BP and low blood sugar and her ketone levels are high. However, the fast and struggle for justice will continue.
The dharna entered its 29th consecutive day and also commemorated Ambedkar Jayanti today. As the 48 hour-period of warning given to the government on Wednesday afternoon ends, and no communication has come from the government, 7 supporters of the NBA have announced that they will be sitting on hunger fast for the next 3 days. These include the 70-year old Amarnath bhai, Chairman of Sarva Seva Sangh; Dr. Sachidanand, Secretary of Sarva Seva Sangh; Professor Devendra Singh Yadav, Samajwadi Jan Parishad; Dr. Vandana Prasad, Jan Swasthya Abhiyan; Samar, research scholar at JNU; Bela Bhatia, researcher at Center for Study of Developing Societies (CSDS); and Rajendra Ravi, Convenor of the National Alliance of Peoples' Movements (NAPM).
As the announcement of the Review Committee meeting came yesterday, the BJP's Arun Jaitley issued a statement calling the Central government weak-kneed for announcing the review of the NCA's decision to raise the height of the dam. He criticizes the visit of the Ministers team to the Valley, saying that there was already a Grievance redressal mechanism in place. The NBA severely criticizes this position. Almost 35,000 families live in the submergence area of 121.92 m without rehabilitation, which has now been seen by the Team of Ministers, and most of these families are int he BJP-governed state of Madhya Pradesh. The BJP's statement shows how callous and unconcerned the BJP govt of M.P. is toward its own people. The review must take place and the construction must be stalled right away as rehabilitation is not done at all, and cannot be done within the next 2 months. The governments have taken 25 years to resettle 10,000 families, they are incapable of resettling 35,000 families in two months, except on paper! We also want to inform that Mr. Arun Jaitley has never set foot in the submergence villages of the valley, nor in the resettlement sites in Gujarat and does not understand the ground reality. Even the R&R Sub-Group which gave clearance on March 8, has not visited the submergence areas for over 5 years either; the clearance was given as ignorantly as Jaitley's statement is.
In terms of support for the movement, actor Rahul Bose visited the dharna site today, to express his ongoing support for the movement. Rahul visited the Narmada Valley in August last year, where he saw the submerged areas as well as the areas that are to be submerged. He emphasized that there was gross legal violation by the dam height raise and that the construction should continue only after full rehabilitation as mandated by the Award and Supreme Court judgments.
Actor Aamir Khan also visited both the Bhopal and Narmada dharnas today at Jantar Mantar. He expressed his support for the struggle. The people of the NBA are grateful that he lent his support for the movement, but at the same time, urged him strongly to give up his affiliation and endorsing of Coca-Cola, which carries out. There are peoples' struggles, very much like and aligned with NBA, in places like Plachimada (Kerala), Mehndhigunj (U.P.) and Wadi (Maharashtra) along with other struggles throughout the world, that are struggling against the destruction wrecked by Coca Cola on their communities.
NBA demands an immediate stopping of construction of the dam until all affected families are rehabilitated as per Supreme Court directives; families must be rehabilitated with land and shifted six months before possible submergence.
Yogini Khanolkar Kamla Yadav Ranvirsingh Chetan Salve
Siyaram Padvi Noorji Padvi Dipti Bhatnagar