NBA Press Release
  13 December 2001
Save The Narmada, Save Humanity!

Adivasis in Satpuda take a pledge to save and harness resources
Mass gathering demand land rights and assert self rule

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

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

Thousands of adivasis gathered in Dhadgaon on December 11th, took a pledge to assert and attain their right to land water forest only to save and harness the natural resource capital. Coming from the banks of Narmada, mountain ranges of Satpuda and the various tehsils in Nandurbar district, the adivasis celebrated the victory in getting the government of Maharashtra to admit before the court (in a writ petition filed by NBA) to grant the long pending land rights to the 73 forest villages in Akrani tehsil as also in commending a survey to approve the adivasis^“ rights to old forest cultivations, farming a transparent and participatory modus operandi. They also asserted their commitment to a united effort to harness and sustainably use the local land and water resources with an appropriate technology without destruction and disparity.

^”Our struggle of last 16 years is to expand and intensify with an extended declaration of our rightful intention to develop the resources and plan for the same, ourselves. We showed a way, humbly, to a multiple front struggle against destruction but our priority now is not just to get our due rights recognised but to work and build our future with human and natural resources^‘, Vanaka Vasave and Harilal Tadvi expressed with utmost sincerity. The Jal-Jungle-Jameen andolan, all those present felt, would prepare a new ground for a larger unity among adivasis and farmers at large.

The attack on the fields and forests, fish and aquatic resources, due to globalisation, can be asserted only if localised mass strength and empowered village communities take preventive action, many speakers including Medha Patkar, stressed.^“Say who is the encroacher? It^“s the government, government, government^“; Voices were raised shouting this and many meaningful slogans.

Amidst an atmosphere of extreme commitment to the pledge that was reiterated and signed on a banner, was the release of a small book, ^—The victims of Sardar Sarovar: 73 Villages in Akrani^‘ by the expert on land rights, ex-member of Jst.Daud Committee on rehabilitation in SSP, at the hands of three adivasi elders from three states, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. The book, mall but full of data and historical analysis, the book brings out the history of the Bhils and Pavaras with their traditional resource-based and also the story of their victimisation at the hands of the State that conspired to avoid granting them the rights so as to reduce the land requirement in rehabilitation. The latest struggle by us has of course compelled the same State to concede granting the same. Jal Jungle Jameen Hakk Andolan is a step ahead of this small battle war towards a war against resource exploitation and destitutionalisation of adivasis.

Kamlesh Tadvi
Geeta Vasave
Yogini Khanolkar