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NBA Press Release                                 8th August, 1999

KARNAD, ANANTHMURTHY ASK PRESIDENT TO DECOMMISSION SSP
Narmada Solidarity Day Observed

Eminent writers and environmentalists including Jnanpeeth Award winners Girish Karnad and U.R. Ananthmurthy, Magasasay Award winner theatre personality K.V. Subbanna have sought immediate intervention by President K.R. Narayanan to decommission the Narmada Valley Project respecting the considered views of the Narmada Bachao Andolan.

They have also called for a fresh debate on existing "lethal paradigm of development designed and executed by a bureaucratic vision which ... seeks to establish an inequitable and fractured India".

The other signatories on the letter to the President include actor-director Suresh Heblikar, writers Murariballal, Manu Chakravarthy, Pattabhiram Somayaji, environmental activists Shampa Daithota and Somanath Nayak, among others.

Expressing their anguish over the displacement of the tribals and peasants they described the Narmada Project as the "monster-child" of the nightmarish paradigm of development. They feared that such a development would submerge the people of the Narmada Valley, but also the "dignified democratic process and native wisdom of all the people".

They said that the Andolan is the self-expression of the inherited collective wisdom of India to save itself and its dream for a better future. It also symbolised the strength of the humblest people in their bid to assert their right to exist.

They appealed to the President to ensure the safety of the furture of the country by protecting the "lives, rights, concerns and dreams" of the Andolan activists.

Meanwhile, August 3 was observed as the Narmada Solidarity day in Banglore, Dharwad and at least two other places in Karnataka. In Bangalore,a seminar was held under the auspices of National Alliance of People's Movement (NAPM) and Narmada Solidarity Forum on " Mega projects - Problems and Alternatives". Prof A.K.N. Reddy gave the keynote address and representatives from similar projects in Karnataka talked. The meeting which was attended by over 300 people issued a statement of solidarity with the NBA and have urged the State to take cognizance of the peoples demands it was submitted to the governor.

Sanjay Sangvai