NBA Press Release
  31 August 2004
Save The Narmada, Save Humanity!

Illegal Submergence Due to Sardar Sarovar Reservoir Causes Severe
Destruction in Alirajpur Villages of Madhya Pradesh

62, Mahatma Gandhi Road,
Badwani,
Madhya Pradesh - 451551
Tel: 07290-22464
Email: badwani@narmada.org

Several Acres of Standing Crops and Villages Flooded

Affected People Forced to Live Sub-Human Existence, Lack of Relief in Relief Camps Exposed.

Reservoir Level of Sardar Sarovar Dam(110.64m) Has Reached 116.95 m

Due to heavy rains in Madhya Pradesh in the last few days as well as release of water from upstream overflowing Bargi dam, the reservoir level of the 110.64 meters high Sardar Sarovar Dam reached a height of 116.95 meters (as on 27th Aug). This caused the destruction of several acres of standing crops as well as several homes in the submergence zone of the dam.

This destructive human made submergence by Sardar Sarovar happened in many villages of Alirajpur taluka (Jhabua district of M.P.) and Akrani and Akkalkuva talukas in Maharashtra. 13 houses were affected in Jhandana, 3 in Kakrana, 2 in Jalsindhi, 1 in Sugat, 5 in Anjanwara, 2 in Bhitada and in Badwani district 4 houses in Dhajara and 4 in Kuli. In addition crops were lost due to submergence in Kharya Badal, Dhajara, Ghongsa, Kuli (Badwani district) and in Jhandana, Anjanwara, Bhitada, Kakrana, Sugat, Sakarja, Nadi Sirkhedi, Bada Amba, Doobkheda, Akaddia, Chilakda (Alirajpur). On the Maharashtra side, hundreds of hectares of crops were destroyed and several homes submerged in Manibeli, Dhankhedi, Gaman, Domkhedi, Badal, Danel, Chimalkhedi, Bamni and other villages.

This submergence due to Sardar Sarovar Reservoir was expected since the dam, whose full height is 138.68 meters, was forcefully built to 110.64 meters prior to this monsoon, violating all the laws and regulations as well as the Supreme Court^s verdict regarding complete rehabilitation. Today there are nearly 10,000 families in Madhya Pradesh affected at 110.64 meters. They are still waiting for their fair rehabilitation as mandated by the Supreme Court verdict and the Narmada Tribunal. Project Affected Families have approached the Grievances Redressal Authority as well as the Supreme Court itself continuously. In spite of this, these affected people have got submergence instead of rehabilitation.

This phenomenon of submergence without rehabilitation is true not only of Sardar Sarovar but also of all other dams built in the Narmada valley such as Bargi, Narmada Sagar, Man, Omkhareswar etc. In Narmada Sagar, thousands of families in Harsud town as well as in 129 villages were made targets of greed, fear and state terrorism and have been devastated in the process. Moreover in some villages submergence was brought on to people without even the government following land acquisition procedures!

On one hand, Madhya Pradesh and the other states claim that all families under the present height have been rehabilitated already. Yet, on the other hand, to save affected people from drowning , government has set up relief camps, arranged for tin sheds for displaced people and claims to be spending crores of rupees on relief such as Food, health, Drinking Water, Fodder for animals and other basic needs! For affected people of Badwani and Jhabua relief camps have been set up in Kakrana and Chilakda. Existence of these governments camps prove that the norms set by Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal Award as well as Supreme Court order have not been met. Ironically these relief camps were not able to provide relief, as was painfully obvious when submergence hit.

At the time of submergence the rescue and swimming teams did not reach villages and the lack of tin shed construction means that people who have lost their homes are living with their kids as well as cattle under one measly tarpaulin sheet. To complicate matters more, the officials have their way and are discriminating among affected people as a result of which relief supplies are not getting distributed properly.

In spite of claims that they have been rehabilitated which they clearly are not, the families are not even getting much needed relief, causing them to live a sub-human existence. In these circumstances, Narmada Bachao Andolan demands that tin sheds be set up immediately, with separate space to tie animals. Each affected family should be given food supplies for at least one month and all property affected to be surveyed and recorded and damages to be paid for the same.

Clause II sub-clause 4 (6) (2) of the Award prohibits submergence without rehabilitation. Hence these damages must be paid. We further demand that the dam height not to be raised further without rehabilitation of all those remaining at 110m as well as those to be affected at the next height. The M.P. government and the Narmada Valley Development Authority (NVDA) are responsible for this inhuman submergence without rehabilitation.

Ashish Mandloi