NBA Press Release
  23 December 2005
Save The Narmada, Save Humanity!

Gujarat Money Swindled in Rehabilitation Scandal

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

A large sum of rupees about 1200 crores which Gujarat is paying the Govt. of Madhya Pradesh for compensating the farmers, labourers, residents in the Sardar Sarovar affected is being swindled away day in and day out. Out of 400 and more crores of rupees, which are being released as a first instalment, a big chunk have been already eaten away. Inspite of the families of farmers losing more than 25% of their agricultural landholding and so being eligible for land based rehabilitation they are made to sign the mechanically printed forms of Narmada Valley Development Authority and Land Acquisition which requires the oustee to declare: “I disapprove and reject the land offered to me and hence I desire and demand cash in lieu of land.” Obviously false documents, as these are, are used for disbursing cash which is going mainly for the corruption which the officials are involved in, taking away a large amount of money out of the money allotted for the purpose of compensation. This is an open secret and discussion on this issue is commonplace in the region of Badwani and Dhar, and since December 17 the hundreds of men and women, farmers and labourers, most immediately affected below 110 metres of height of the dam but not rehabilitated are on a sit-in in front of the office of NVDA, Badwani, M.P. demanding land and exposing this unprecedented corruption

Its is clear that the NVDA officials are in alliance with the Revenue officials on one hand and a few local advocates and villages working as agents to manipulate records, to extract cash. The normal ways of doing this, apart from paying cash and avoiding land allotment, is by adding a false list of families to the list of affected in any and every village who became “eligible” and don’t mind paying a part of the compensation received for nothing. Similarly, houses of those who have come to reside much after land acquisition and those who have left village years and decades ago are also paid for. Apart from violation of the policy of rehabilitation and the statements made in all the affidavits of the Govt. of M.P., NVDA as well as NCA (interstate monitoring body) the most courageous act is corruption, which is supported, as is openly talked about, by the political leaders as well. It is, therefore, no surprise that no authority or leader in spite of repeated complaints in writing has taken any action until now.

The Government of Madhya Pradesh may be thinking that it would compel 40000 families still in the SSP submergence area to have their land and homes, without rehabilitation as it happened in Harsud ( Narmada Sagar dam affected township). However, there was no people’s movement in the Narmada Sagar area, while the 20 years long struggle of the SSP affected continues till date and all of us are determined to assert our rights including the right to life and livelihood. The concerned governments and the authorities, therefore, should know this and stand warned that eve if the State exchequers of Gujarat and M.P. are emptied the villages will not be vacated.

The governments of the 3 states and the Centre, therefore, has to come forward and decide here and now whether or not they have adequate and appropriate cultivable and irrigable land (at least 15000 hectares of such land for sure) for rehabilitation as they have been claiming all the while including before the SC in their affidavits without which the dam cannot be allowed to proceed further, whatever may be the rhetorical claims by the Chief Ministers of - such as the one recently held between Narendra Modi and Shivraj Singh Chauhan - that 14000 and more familes will be rehabilitated in Gujara tone should not forget that thousand of families of Gujarat in Gujarat are themselves cheated, demanding change of land and hence cannot be considered as rehabilitated.

Medha Patkar
Ashish Mandloi