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

Large Scale Submergence Imminent Again in the Narmada Valley; Affected Peopled Determined to face Illegal Submergence

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

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

The water level in the Narmada is yet again rising rapidly and is expected to exceed 104 meters mark at Sardar Sarovar dam site. It would be recalled that between 20th and 22nd August 2002 large scale submergence was caused when the water levels at the dam site touched 103m. The waters that caused this submergence is yet to recede and now due to incessant rain in the Narmada catchment and this compounded by the release of over 2,70,000 cusecs of dam water from Tawa dam the water levels are further rising engulfing in its wake more fields and houses of adivasis and farmers. There is no doubt that this submergence will imply devastation for the dam affected people, especially adivasis.

The Satyagrahi comrades are firm on the resolve to face the unjust submergence. Main activists including Keshav Vasave, Dedlibai, Dadlia Karbhari, Medha Patkar and hundreds of others are in Domkhedi to face the submergence. The waters in Jalsindhi are also increasing. Kailash Awasia, Luharia, Bawa and others from other villages affected are there at Jalsindhi determined to face water. The people are challenging the injustice, facing the dam waters and are resolved not to move out even if they are to sacrifice their lives- for the protection of the people and nature in the valley.

The submergence is a result of the illegal, unjust increase in the height of the dam first from 85 to 90 meters and then to 95 meters, violating the provisions of Narmada Water Dispute Tribunal (NWDT) Award regarding displacement and resettlement. About 8000 families in 70 villages in Madhya Pradesh will be affected adversely. In Maharashtra the recently finished Task Force study has stated that atleast 1000 families yet to be rehabilitated below 95 meters height and the number may increase!

This was also in violation of the directions of the Supreme Court order of October 2000. However, the Court did not act against this illegal act, even when the Narmada Bachao Andolan had approached the Court in May 2002. The people also have approached the Grievance Redressal Authority of M.P., Justice (Retd) Sohoni, on August 28, with these ghastly facts. But he chose to buy time. The Narmada Valley Development Authority chooses to ?advice? the affected people that they can approach the Grievance Redressal Authority with their problems!

The Sardar Sarovar and other dams in the Narmada valley are a crying shame for the human rights, justice and sustainable development in India. They represent depraved attitude and fraud by the political leadership in India and a gross failure of other Constitutional agencies to protect the fundamental rights of the depressed people of India. Narmada Bachao Andolan opposes this barbarous game with the lives of the people and with the law and justice and demands for the immediate release of water by opening all the gates.

Ashish Mandloi
Cifton D'Rozario