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

Medha, Bhagwatibehen, Jamsinghbhai break fast on the promise of further struggle.

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

- GROUP OF MINISTERS REPORT IS PUBLIC AND VERY DAMNING!

- SUPREME COURT DOESN'T STAY DAM BUT ISSUES NOTICES FOR REPLIES WITHIN A WEEK

Medha Patkar, Bhagwati behen and Jamsingh bhai ended their fast this evening, on a battle-cry to continue the struggle into the Narmada Valley and around the country.

The Group of Ministers report was made public early morning. The report full text is available at the Hindu newspaper website, at the following address:

http://www.hindu.com/2006/04/17/stories/2006041705231100.htm

The report gives an account of all the places the Team of Ministers saw and visited and clearly states that, "The complaints from various quarters that the Rehabilitation and Resettlement of oustees of Sardar Sarovar Dam has not taken place in consonance with the orders of the Supreme Court have been found to be correct."

It further says, "The reports of the Rehabilitation and Resettlement Sub Group and the GRA on the basis of which Narmada Control Authority (NCA) granted permission for raising the height has been largely paperwork and it has no relevance with the situation on the ground."

It is great that the Group of Ministers' report on the situation in the valley is truthful, and indeed it finds the very lapses that we point out. The position of the NBA on rehabiltiation stands vindicated.

The application filed by 48 project-affected persons of Madhya Pradesh in the Supreme Court came up for hearing today, after its initial hearing date of 3rd April was pushed back. The first hour of the hearing saw Additional Solicitor General, Gopal Subramanium (representing Union of India, UOI) taking a completely anti-people stand. He submitted an application on behalf of the UOI, in which the prayer was that the Centre proposes to set up another committee/ Authority to do rehabilitation on a war footing. Completely violating the time frame for rehabilitation, he said that submergence would come in end-August and the Authority would do the rehabilitation before then. When he was countered saying that monsoon comes in July and submergence can happen anytime afterwards, he replied that he was instructed to say that submergence would come in end-August!

In any case, the hearing continued in the afternoon, with the state of M.P. denying all the contentions of the applicants and stating that all rehabilitation in Madhya Pradesh had been completed. This was countered by the counsel for applicants, Shri Shanti Bhushan, Shri Sanjay Parikh, Shri Muralidhar, Shri Prashant Bhushan and Mrs Indira Jaisingh. Finally, the Chief Justice ordered that the states must give their responses within a week, after which another week has been granted for rejoinders to be filed. THe next hearing has been set for May 1st. Though the SC did not immediately stay construction, they clearly stated that if they found rehabilitation had not been done, they would be forced to stay the construction. They also stated that while the applications are pending in court, this would not prevent the Prime Minister from taking a decision in this regard, which power is actually bestowed on him by the Supreme Court by its verdict of 2000.

Hirdaram Bavliya, Clifton Rozario, Yogini Khanolkar, Dipti Bhatnagar, Kamla Yadav, Sevalia, Bawa Mahariya, Rumaliya, Gaindalal Mukati,
Kailash Awasya