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

Submergence on Sardar Sarovar Dam Reaches 108 m;
Insincerity of Maharashtra Babudom in Resettlement: Canal Damage in Gujarat

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As the heavy rains continued with the increased height of 110 meters of the Sardar Sarovar dam in the Narmada valley, the swirling waters of Narmada reached upto 108 meters on the dam site of SSP by August 5, engulfing several villages from Manibeli, Dhankhedi, Chimalkhedi, Bharad, Domkhedi, Nimgavhan and Bhadal including three Jeevan Shalas (schools). The people in Chmalkhedi were stranded as the village became tapu - surrounded by submergence floodwaters, without any resettlement. Apparently, there was no trace of the officials, neither the people whose crops and houses were damaged due to last years submergence were given any cash compensation despite the assurances by the government.

Meanwhile, hundred of villagers, including the activist Medha Patkar, are continuing their dharna in Shahada (Dist. Nandurbar) on fourth day on Wednesday (Aug.5) against the lethargic atitude of the district administration regarding resettlement. The tribals have launched relay fast from August 2 and took control of the block office on Tuesday. However, the Maharashtra officials are deliberately avoiding to take any cognisance of the gravity of the matter. It was clear as the Divisional Commissioner Mr. Gajbhiye did not see it fit to try to have a dialogue on this issue with the protestors even as he was in district headquarters Nandurbar for the entire day having series of meetings on various other issues except the resettlement.

It was clear that the district level officials are delaying the process of land procurement for resettlement as Andolan started to watch on the process after the repeated complaints of corruption in land purchase on part of officers. " It is shocking the irresponsible and insensitive attitude of the officials that while the large-scale submergence is devastating hundreds of people are devastated; they have made the exposure as a prestige issue." Said Medha Patkar in Shahada.

The administration has been dragging its feet from purchasing even the lands in Jawda, which were chosen by the oustees over a week back. It has been deliberately slothful in declaring hitherto undeclared oustees with minimal necessary evidence and procuring the cultivable land for resettling before the onset of monsoon, endangering the life and rights of hundreds of tribal families. The Rehabilitation Secretary of Maharashtra, Mr. Vatsa, is learnt to have conceded that the land at Jawda could not procured as yet. The administration has also not disbursed the compensation for the losses due to submergence for last five years. All this is being done despite the decision by the state cabinet and orders by Resettlement Minister Mr. Kadam, on June 14-15.

Meanwhile, heavy rains have caused large scale damages in the main canal as it submerged over 700 houses in villages like Bhorda and others. The floodwaters of Hiran river entered in Narmada canal and wrecked it may places.

Yogini Khanolkar
Chetan Salvi
Sanjay Sangvai