| NBA Press Release
|| 31 December 2005
SSP Affected Persons Expose More Corruption in Rehabilitation
62, Mahatma Gandhi Road,
Madhya Pradesh - 451551
Challenge fake Action Taken Reports (ATRs) prepared by the NVDA offices
It is the 13th day of the mass action of hundreds of Sardar Sarovar affected adivasis, labourers and fish-workers, through a sit-in in Badwani, Madhya Pradesh, and relay fast by 2 women and 2 men. It is also the day for submission of Action Taken Reports (ATRs) by the Narmada Valley Development Authority (NVDA) to the inter-state monitoring body, the Narmada Control Authority. By 31st December, 2005 the rehabilitation of those families who can face submergence in the coming monsoon has to be completed and hence the hasty submission of ATRs.
We hear that officials from Kukshi, Manawar, Alirajpur and Badwani offices of NVDA have submitted their reports declaring almost total completion of Resettlement and Rehabilitation, the ground level reality is exactly the opposite.
The Govt. of M.P. deliberately and in violation of the Supreme Court orders and the Tribunal Award relating to the rehabilitation policy has taken to cash compensation, disbursing cash in lieu of agricultural land as well as house plots. The principle quoted over years in the policy was: ‘In no circumstances will cash payments be made in lieu of actual rehabilitation, except in those transactions that are mandated by the Tribunal Award.’
The farmers and labourers who are cheated and made to sign the affidavits saying they don’t want land which was offered by the Government and are ready to give it up for cash have come forward to explain about how they were fooled, threatened and compelled to accept cash. They were told that if they didn’t accept the cash by 31st December they would lose everything. Also, a large chunk of money they received by cash was taken away by corrupt officials, and this is one of the reasons why people haven’t been able to buy lands. The government officials like Shri Vinod Kumar, Commissioner of NVDA claim, ‘we have only helped the farmers purchase land. We have not paid cash. This is assistance to farmers to buy land of their choice.”
The reality is that cash paid even by cheques is swindled away by a number of agents who are allied with the land acquisition and rehabilitation officers in each Tehsil. Lakhs of rupees are practically looted by agents who have also managed to make false land registries to show land purchases, while in reality land has not been bought. The scams also include giving of compensation for houses which never existed or those built temporarily for the sole purpose of taking out the money. Affidavits made and FIRs filed by one farmer after another have exposed the scandal that has established the involvement of officials who have taken huge bribes as also issued false documents.
All this has further proved that the ATRs submitted - till the latest one for the period ending 31st Dec 2005 - are false and so is the claim that R&R upto 110.64m (present height) and 121 m (proposed by Gujarat) is complete.
The Project Affected People held demonstrations in the hundreds in Kukshi Tehsil on Dec 29th and Manawar on Dec 30th, where they openly challenged the officials by bringing out various examples of falsehood and cheating. FIRs have been lodged; few of the agents are facing inquiry while the officials too are alleged of corruption and inquiry demanded.
It is obvious that the Govt. of India in its statement recorded in the Minutes of NCA R&R Sub-Group, 62nd Meeting on 12th September at New Delhi that the Secretary, Ministry of Water Resources and the R & R sub Group of NCA have clearly taken objections to disbursement of cash compensation in lieu of land, house plots and actual rehabilitation (which the Govt. of MP terms as “Special Rehabilitation Grant”) and asked the State Govt. to stop the same. The State Govt., however, have refused to follow and continued with their strategy, really a conspiracy, against the oustees. The plan is to somehow vacate the villages where the people, lakhs in number, will surely become homeless and destitute, but who cares?
The NCA, responsible for monitoring too is utterly callous and some of the members are clearly for the displacement at any cost.
The situation is grave and people demand urgent intervention by the Govt. of India
The 13 day old sit-in Badwani is being wound up today with the people declaring that they challenge the new illegal policy of cash compensation and they will not rest till the GOI plays it role in protecting the oustees and their interests. The sit-in will end with people taking a large rally to the Collector’s office, followed by a mashal julus at night, to commemorate the year-end.
The agitation has exposed the corrupt system and the sheer contempt of the SC orders along with blatant violation of human rights. The fight continues to save the valley from this tragedy being imposed on it.Dipti Bhatnagar