NBA Press Release
  20 December 2007
Save The Narmada, Save Humanity!

Public Hearing held in Badwani - Rampant Corruption Hampers Rehabilitation Process

62, Mahatma Gandhi Road,
Badwani,
Madhya Pradesh - 451551
Tel: 07290-222464
Email: badwani[at]narmada.org

Public Hearing held in Badwani on 15th December 2007

Issues of Corruption and Rehabilitation brought to light

Shri Annasaheb Hazare, Shri Arvind Kejriwal, Shri M.S. Mushrif and Shri Anand Kotadia constituted the panel

Panel clearly admits that officials are responsible for the corrupt practices and incomplete rehabilitation

Thousands of affected persons thronged Jhanda Chowk on 15.12.2007 in Badwani, to inform the panel members such as Shri Annasaheb Hazare, noted social activist against corruption, Shri Arvind Kejriwal, Right to Information activist and Magsaysay Award winner, Shri M.S. Mushrif, Inspector General of Police (former) Maharashtra and Shri Anand Kotadia, senior social activist, not just about the total lack of rehabilitation but the rampant corruption that mars the rehabilitation process and the strong nexus between the dalals and rehabilitation officials as well.

People also clearly demonstrated how, due to corruption, the entire process of rehabilitation was now reduced to a money laundering exercise with the principles of ensuring their being better-off even after displacement being thrown to the winds. At the end of the Public Hearing and visits to submergence villages and R&R sites, the Panel declared, as their interim finding, that indeed corruption is rampant due to the collusion between dalals and officials, and further that clearly, affected persons were still in their villages and not rehabilitated yet.

The panelists then proceeded to visit Kharya Bhadal (M.P.) where they had close interactions with representatives of the submergence villages in Alirajpur tehsil (M.P.) and Akrani tehsil (Maharashtra). Shri Arvind Kejriwal and Shri Anand Kotadia also visited another submergence village, Bhawaria (M.P.) and subsequently had a meeting with Shri A.K. Pal, Badwani district Collector. Shri Arvind Kejriwal, who arrived a day earlier, held interactions with affected persons at Dharampuri and Jalkheda on 14.12.2007 and heard testimonies of affected persons, not just from these villages but other nearby villages including Pipaldagarhi, Khujawa, Nimbola, Sala, Khalghat, Kotada, Shamjipura, Patwar, Malangaon and Jetpura among others as well. Shri Arvind Kejriwal also had long telephonic conversations with Shri Afroz Ahmad, Director (R&R), Indore, in this context.

It is now a well-known fact that several eminent persons including Prof. Upendra Baxi, Sri. Kuldip Nayyar, Smt. Aruna Roy, Swami Agnivesh, Shri B.D. Sharma, Shri Ramaswamy Iyer, Shri Harsh Mandar and others have filed a writ petition before the Supreme Court questioning the legality, legitimacy and practicality of the policy of Special Rehabilitation Package (SRP). While affected persons are entitled to cultivable/irrigable land in rehabilitation, the M.P. government has instead introduced SRP whereby the affected person is supposed to purchase land on his/her own. NBA has rejected SRP as illegal and impractical since affected persons will not be in a position to purchase land by themselves.

Over the past year, affected persons have been defrauded as the corrupt officials and dalals spun the web of fake registries, on the basis of which the government has made exaggerated claims of land purchase in the Supreme Court. Besides these claims being fraudulent, it remains that the affected persons are being denied their most basic entitlement in rehabilitation, land-for-land. The government now seeks to place all the blame on the affected persons and shield the corrupt officials and dalals. Thus adivasis and farmers, entitled to land but defrauded by this nexus face jail, while the dalals and officials who are now crorepatis roam the streets freely. The fraud and corruption has been widely reported by the press and media.

In this context, and owing to the numerous reports about the corruption that mars SRP, the above mentioned eminent persons requested Shri Annasaheb Hazare, Shri Arvind Kejriwal, Shri M.S. Mushrif and Shri Anand Kotadia to visit the Narmada Valley and verify these claims of corruption. Wherever the panelists went they were met with tales of fraud, corruption and deception even as rehabilitation is being reduced to a money laundering exercise for the officials and dalals.

Ashish Mandloi
Umesh Patidar
Kamala Yadav
Medha Patkar