NBA Press Release
  25 August 2002
Save The Narmada, Save Humanity!

Heavy Rains in the Catchment Area; Illegal Submergence Expected Any Time; Satyagrahis and Villagers Determined to Face the Waters

B-13, Shivam Flats
Ellora Park,
Tel: 0265-282232

62, Mahatma Gandhi Road,
Madhya Pradesh - 451551
Tel: 07290-22464

Due to heavy and intermittent rains in the catchment area and upstream of Sardar Sarovar Project the water level in Narmada, which was receding slowly, has started rising once again in an alarming rate. This time it may cause more devastation than ever before. The determined Satyagrahis, activists, supporters and villagers, including Medha Patkar, Karuna, Shashank, Geethanjali, Gabriele, Rama, Narayanbhai, Luharia, etc. are firm on their stand to face the rising water. Also the release 36000 cusecs of water from Tawa, a dam in the upstream in Narmada will add to the fury.


It may be noted that recent submergence due to the Sardar Sarovar dam (SSP), in the Narmada Valley has caused enormous devastation and destruction of the houses and crops of the tribal families in the Narmada Valley. The people in the valley dared the submergence in Jalsindhi, Domkhedi and other villages, and are prepared to face the unjust submergence once again.

It is only before two days, the unjust submergence has devastated large tracts of standing crop in Mokhadi, Antras, Gadher, Turkheda and Hapheshwar, etc in Gujarat, Manibeli, Sikka, Bharad, Domkhedi etc in Maharashtra and Jalsindhi, Chikhalda, Bada Amba, Dubkheda etc of Alirajpur tehsil of Madhya Pradesh. The ancient temple in Hapheshwar is already half submerged. Many houses in Domkhedi (including the centres of Satyagraha and NBA office) have been submerged and one house flew away in Sikka. In Jalsindhi, Luhariabhai's house went under water, together with the Satyagraha house.

The submergence has occurred under the scandalous indifferences of the Madhya Pradesh government to the fate of the tribals, where thousands of families are still to be rehabilitated. In Jalsindhi, Luhariabhai and his wife from the first house with the youngest child on her arms, braved rising waters till the waters rose to their necks. In Domkhedi, Boliyabai, Dedlibai, Khiyali, stood in the Satyagraha house supported by adivasi activists Jayanti, Shobha, Tukharam as well as Suhas Kolhekar, Pratibha Shinde, Pravin Shivshankar and Jojo John. They offered resistance by facing the rising waters of Narmada in Satyagraha house till late night on 20th, when the villagers broke open the walls of Satyagraha house and moved them out of the neck deep water to the next house. The district administration intervened with about 200 strong police force, arrested 20 people and were sentenced for 15 days judicial custody.


Meanwhile, Maharashtra government released only 10 out of 20 people, who were arrested and kept under judicial custody on 21st, yesterday night. It may take one/two days to get the bail of other Satyagrahis as they were charged with a lot of false sections of IPC. The Collector, Nandurbar imposed unwanted charges without bothering even to listen to the Satyagrahis.


This time the waters may rise even more as there are heavy rains in the submergence area as well as in the upstream of Narmada. The level at dam site at present is 101 meters decreased from 104 meters which caused the unjust submergence. But as the monsoon brings heavy rainfall in the catchment area, there is every possibility of more submergence and devastation including the Nimad villages. About 6500 families of 70 villages to be affected at the present height of the dam in Madhya Pradesh will be affected adversely. Also in Maharashtra the recently finished Task Force study has categorically stated that atleast 1000 families yet to be rehabilitated below 95 meters height of the dam and the number may increase! Narmada Bachao Andolan condemns the callous, irresponsible and inhuman attitude of all the state governments for causing unjust submergence and calls upon for immediate release of water by opening the gates and keep open till proper rehabilitation of all the affected families.

M.K. Sukumar