Save The Narmada, Save Humanity! NBA Press Release                                                                                 August 18, 2000

JUSTICE SACHAR, ARUNDHATI ROY, GIRISHBHAI, VIDYA BAL TO PARTICIPATE IN "SAGA OF NARMADA" ON AUG. 24 IN THE NARMADA VALLEY: SATYAGRAHA CONTINUES

Noted human rights activist Justice (Retd.) Rajinder Sachar, Booker Prize winner, litterateur Ms. Arundhati Roy, veteran journalist Mrs. Vidya Bal and Darryl D'Monte are among the hundreds of prominent persons and activists that would gather on August 24th, in Satyagraha places of Domkhedi and Jalsindhi to express solidarity with the people in the Narmada valley. They are to take part in the "Appeal to the Nation From Valley" Saga of Narmada, a major programme during the monsoon Satyagraha, for reassertion of people's resolve.

Among the participants, are veteran human rights activists Advocate Girish Patel and Haroobhai Mehta (Gujarat), Arjun Raina (Dancer), Colin Gonsalves, Dilip D'souza (Mumbai), artists Anita Dube, alternative filmmaker Jharna Zaveri (Delhi), senior Sarvodayi activist Jyotibhai Desai, noted author and publisher in Maharashtra Ramdas Bhatkal, noted mathematician Dr. Mrs. Mangala Narlikar, pioneer of innovative science teaching, Madhukar Deshpande.

Hundreds of supporters and activists from various parts of country are arriving at the Satyagraha place for this unique occasion of declaration of the resolve of the people in the valley. At the same time the people will be exposing the false claims and machinations of the government and its apologists. A few more of the eminent people will be confirming their participation in the coming days. Many supporters from different parts of the country is expected to come and participate in this program.

Noted Kathakali dancer, Arjun Raina will be performing, based on the issues and struggle of Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) after the program. Films based on the struggle of various people's struggles, including that of NBA (Bargi, Maheshwar and Sardar Sarovar) will be screened on that day.

The people in the Narmada valley, during the past fifteen years, have shown that the people's power can challenge the established political powers and their developmental policies and paradigms. The people have been doing this facing tremendous pressures, repression and thereat to their life and resources. The governments have been trying to misuse every law, institution and machinery against the people. Despite these odds, the spark of struggle in the valley is alive and people are determined to face the submergence and the repression, staying put on their lands.

The Satyagraha which was launched on the July 15th against the illegal submergence brought in by the Sardar Sarovar Project, was with this resolve. At the same time the villagers have undertaken, with the help of their expert friends from other parts of India, the alternative, sustainable and decentralised ways of development. For the first time, the Jeevanshala (school of life) run by the Narmada Bachao Andolan, has published the story book in the tribal language- Pavri and the children are taught the Pavri alphabets. During the Satyagraha, the work on alternative and decentralised energy sources was undertaken. By now, village Domkhedi is running a pedal -powered electric supply and have launched the first even micro-hydel power project. The village is now illuminated. These innovations have been undertaken with the participation and initiative from the people in the valley and their supporters from Kerala and Mumbai, Baroda. The People's School of Energy from Kerala has been in touch with the people of the valley for last four years and has drawn inspiration from the tenacious struggle of the valley. They have designed the turbine and installed with the active participation of the people of the valley.

The Satyagraha period has also once again brought out the designs of the state powers, when the people are being pressurised to accept the displacement under the threat of the impending submergence. It has also highlighted the gravity of the issue of the tribals affected by the 'catchment area treatment; and compensatory afforestation. Hundreds of people from all over the valley, from resettlement sites and from other parts of India have till now visited the Satyagraha.

'Saga of Narmada' will give the people yet again an opportunity to appeal to the conscience of the civil society, to plead them to be with them in the struggle and join hands with the larger struggle of Equality, Simple Life and Self Reliance (Samata, Sadagi and Swavalamban).

Sanjay Sangvai;  M.K.Sukumar