NBA Press Release
  24 August 2001
Save The Narmada, Save Humanity!

Top Official Meets Jeevanshala Children: Promises Prompt Response
Delhi Accords Warm Welcome to Jeevan Yatra

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A twelve member delegation of the children of Narmada Valley, who are on Jeevan Yatra, met Mr.S.K.Sharif, Joint Secretary to the President, who was deputed personally by the President (who couldn't meet the children as he was indisposed) to hear the grievance of the Children of Narmada. They talked with him for more than half-an-hour explaining their condition and the compulsion to take to such a kind of action. Mr.Sharif gave a very patient hearing to the delegation and promised them that he would bring them a reply before they left Delhi.

The delegation included Seediya Pavra, Dursingh Vasave, Bayli, (Jeevanshala students), Giridhar Pavra (Jeevanshala Guruji), Shobha Wagh, (NBA activist) and supporters.

The children, affected by the Sardar Sarovar and Maan Dams in the Narmada Valley, presented a handmade get-well card as well as a hand painted tapestry and conveyed their wishes to the President, also prayed and sung songs for his speedy recovery. The children presented 'the basket of life' containing symbolic of all that the valley holds dear and may lose forever.

Separate memorandums with their grievances, representing SSP affected and Man affected villages and Jeevanshalas (11 of them, run by NBA in the tribal villages) were handed over to. In the memorandum, the children declared their right to childhood and happiness and requested his timely intervention to save their schools, their land and houses... and their future. They invited the President to visit the valley and see for himself the truth.

Two more memorandums signed by people from all walks of life in Delhi including Shri.V.P.Singh, Shri.Surendra Mohan, Justice Sacchar, and others were also entrusted to the Secretary.

Simultaneously, the rest of the children along with various people from Delhi took out a huge human chain near Cannaught Place area / Parliamentary Street and demonstration at Janpath Market with street plays, songs, etc atleast about 2 hours.

Earlier on 21st, the Jeevan Yatra, with over 70 children of Narmada Jeevanshalas (Life Schools) got a rousing welcome at the India Gate in New Delhi. About 400 people belonging to all walks of life, including students from different colleges in the city, children, intellectuals, teachers/professors, activists, politicians, trade unionists, artists etc were present. Among the dignitaries, Kuldip Nayyar (Member of Parliament), Arundhati Roy, Swami Agnivesh, Justice (Retd) Rajendra Sacchar, Smt.Mohini Giri, Smt.Arundhati Roy, Surendra Mohan, Smt. Kamla Bhasin, Praful Bidwai, Shri.Schin Vinayak, Amarjeet Kaur (All India secretary - AITUC) spoke and welcomed the children with small momentos (of books). They expressed their solidarity to the struggle in the Narmada valley against the SSP and other dams. Though physically not present, Shri.V.P.Singh, former Prime Minister of India warmly welcomed and extended his solidarity and support to the children.

Various organisations and groups like the NAPM, PUDR, PSU, AITUC, Ankur, Jagori, Nirantar, Aksahar Abhiyan .....Jan Natya Manch were represented. The programme ended with a play by Jan Natya manch exposing the fraud of the present political state and society where on the one hand the government is selling out the country to multinationals and on the other hand talking of 'swadeshi'.

Jeevan Yatra left the banks of river Narmada on 16th August (from Kasarawad near Baba Amte's residence), went through various cities and villages like Indore, Bhopal, Shivpuri, Gwalior, etc conducting programs. Through street plays, dances, songs, speeches, they appealed the people for support for their struggle. They also interacted with the school children of various places, sharing their woes and struggle. Jeevan Yatra will proceed through towns and cities in Rajasthan like Jaipur, Deoli, Udaipur and meet various project affected people and children especially those affected by Bisalpur dam (Rajasthan), before returning to the valley.

Girdhar Guruji
Shobha Wagh