NBA Press Release
  25 April 2009
Save The Narmada, Save Humanity!

Hearing on Corruption in Rehabilitation of Sardar-Sarovar Affected proceeds at Jabalpur High Court

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

INTERIM ORDER STAYS PAYMENTS OF LIVELIHOOD GRANT BY CASH / CHEQUE

The High Court of Madhya Pradesh has once again began hearing the Narmada Bachao Andolan on other aspects corruption in the Sardar Sarovar (Narmada) Dam rehabilitation of the project affected affected families (PAFs). In the same case, the Chief Justice of M.P. had ordered a Judicial Commission of Inquiry under the chairmanship of Justice Shravan Shankar Jha on 21st August, 2008 covering two areas of corruption: fake registries in alternative land purchases and corruption in construction of civic amenities at the resettlement sites. While this Commission has started its invedstigation, including hearings and field visist, in a new application filed in March 2009, NBA has brought forth many more concrete cases of corruption in there other areas of rehabilitation of the PAFs.

a) ineligible properties and families being declared as eligible and unjustifiably paying them crores of rupees compensation

b) distribution of house plots where change of plan and resale of plots allotted to the poor, dalits, widows and others is on

c) Corruption in 'Special Financial Assistance' (SFA) paid to be landless labourers for alternative source of livelihood.

NBA submitted a number of exampleS with data and documents that showed how in one village like Chhota Barda alone, 13 properties are found to have been paid 40 lakh rupees illegal compensation and the official inquiry has concluded involvement of 13 officials in the same, with each village having a similar misappropriation of not just lakhs, but compensation worth a few crores rupees !

The allotment of house plots is another area in which direct involvement of officials and changing of the plan is clearly linked with with the purchase and sale of the plots depriving the needy PAFs of thier legal entitlements. The example of villages Dhanora, Segawa and Chhota Barda were presented by NBA. It was also argued on the basis of official information of the alternative livelihood to the landless in the case of villages like Bhavaria (Dist Dhar), Dhanora (Dist Badwani) , Pipri ( Dist. Badwani ) and others that there was no procedure followed towards planning the source of livelihood and instead, similar to fake registries and land purchases, fake documents are submitted and accepted by the officials for paying the cash compensation by cheque, from which a share is being taken away by the culprits.

NBA, therefore, conclusively argued that the nexus of officials and touts has resulted in the looting away of a huge chunk from the state exchequer, thereby not just cheating the PAFs and funneling away the amounts meant for the affected families into thier pockets, but also depriving them of their legal, just and fair rehabilitation.

The Respondents did not submit a reply to the Application till date, giving a reason of the elctions related work and hence the Chief Justice heard Medha Patkar on behalf of the petitioners. Advocate Abhijit Bhowmik assisted in the pleadings.

On hearing the case and looking into the documents and detailed data provided, the Bench of Chief Justice Shri A.K. Patnaik and Justice Ajit Singh passed an Interim Order directing the Government of M.P. and NVDA to suspend the distribution of SFA (alternative livelihood grant for productive assets) till the next decision.

The Respondents have been asked to file a reply and the next hearing has been fixed on May 12th, 2009.

Ashish Mandloi, Bheeluram Yadav, Rajkumar Sinha, Shrikanth