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

Narmada Villagers Warn Against State Terrorism in Madhya Pradesh; Govt. Has No land, Eviction with Illegal Means and Brutal Force

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

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

Hundreds of men and women from the villages in the Narmada Valley were out on the roads in Badwani on Monday, December 3, to protest and warn the Digvijay Singh government in Madhya Pradesh against the doublespeak, continuous repression and the inhuman policy of displacing the people by threat and force. The protest in the Narmada valley coincided with the 17th anniversary of Bhopal Gas Tragedy, the largest industrial disaster in India and the government's insensibility towards its own people. The wayward and heinous method followed by M.P. government in the villages of Nimad, in the name of surveying the villages, for past two months was condemned by the people and they resolved to fight against this state-terror and unjust policy.

The People were angry with the police brutalities in various villages, including those recently in Chhota Barda, Pipri, in which number of villagers suffered grievous injuries and scores of them were jailed in unjust manner. Such forcible surveys are being conducted from April this year onwards. The Madhya Pradesh government has been intimidating villagers affected by the controversial Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP), to displace, that too with the cash compensation in violation of the Narmada Water Dispute Tribunal (NWDT) provisions. People expressed their anger through the impressive rally, the reasoned speeches and the slogans like, "Digvijaysinghji hosh me aao" ( Digvijay Singh, beware).

Increased Submergence, No Land

The people questioned the propriety of the displacement when the government itself has admitted that it has no land for resettlement. After the Supreme Court judgement in October 2000, the area coming under submergence due to the SSP has increased by 13% and as shown by the NBA on number of occasions. The number of affected persons has also increased in thousands. It is clear that even today there are atleast 40,000 families affected by this controversial dam, who are living in the submergence area. It is also proved that there is no agricultural land necessary for rehabilitation not only with Madhya Pradesh but with Gujarat and Maharashtra. In this situation, the Madhya Pradesh government is following a mean policy of using force and putting people in fear, distributing cash and trying to remove them. For this purpose, the M.P. government is even trying to change the NWDT's provision of land-based rehabilitation and is trying to introduce cash compensation in the name of resettlement.

The work on the SSP has been in stand- still for the last one year due to non-availability of land and non-completion of rehabilitation. The village leaders pointed out this and made it clear that, it is not in the interest of nation to follow unsustainable development methods and displace people. About 20-25 lakhs people will be rendered destitute throughout the Narmada Valley with all the ongoing and proposed projects. People questioned the government about all these issues and also warned the government to desist from changing the Tribunal. The rally ended with a collective resolve by the people to intensify the fight against the injustice.

Devram Kanera