| NBA Press Release
|| 27 February 2002
Thousands of farmers and adivasis pledge to continue their vigorous fight against the unjust Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP)
NARMADA BACHAO ANDOLAN
B-13, Shivam Flats
62, Mahatma Gandhi Road,
Madhya Pradesh - 451551
More than 2500 adivasis and farmers from Nimad region of Madhya Pradesh gathered in Badwani, on the banks of river Narmada and issued a challenge to the Digvijay Singh government to dare submerge the thickly populated villages in the Narmada Valley, when lakhs of people are determined not to leave their mother land and mother river! Children, women and men coming from four tehsils of Badwani and Dhar districts took out a massive and colourful rally which was also a procession, with a corpse of the government carried on the shoulders of "Reva ke Yuva" (Youth of Narmada). They declared their ruler has dead and hence and hence insensitive to their issues of life and livelihood; vowing to fight all the forces, local to global out to destroy the country. The procession was taken with chants of ^—Ram Nam Satya Hai^“ filling the air.
Bava Maharia of village Jalsindhi narrating the long story of adivasis facing the rising waters and refusing to move while Mahesh Patel of village Kundia warned the people and the government against use of cash to lure the people as they did in Bargi. Reminding all about the other river valleys Bhakra-Nangal to Chambal that are destroyed without even achieving the declared benefits, Devrambhai and Kashiramkaka, Rukmini Kaki one speaker after another, exposed the politics of betrayal that is at the root of pushing Sardar Sarovar ahead. When the dam is stopped at 90 mts and not less than 40,000 families in the submergence area can't be rehabilitated in the situation of 'no land', the valley expressed its anguish at the political push and pull that the government of M.P. and Gujarat are resorting to while sacrificing the lives of the most ancient civilization of Narmada.
The rally was held in the context of the Narmada Control Authority Rehabilitation sub-group's meeting to be held soon to decide whether the dam height can be taken beyond 90 mts. The populated villages such as Nisarpur, Kadmal, Chikhalda or Sondul, Pichodi which are below 95 mts and also those in the Vindhya and Satpudas are, as the rally indicates, in no mood to allow the infamous dam to proceed even after 16 years of struggle.
Mahendrabhai, a Sarvodaya activist, Dr.Sugan Baranth and Himanshu Upadhyay calling the dam as the symbol of serfdom and disparity that has engulfed our water resources, appealed to pursue the alternative decentralised non destructive ways of land and water management.
Ramesh Billore denounced Narmada Sagar Project as more destructive than SSP. Medha Patkar warned the government of Madhya Pradesh against inciting it's non-violent people and exposing real interest in commercialisation of land and water resources against the rhetoric of 'Gram Sarkar'.
It remain to be seen whether the governments of Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat will continue with their exhibition of vulgarly selfish politics besides resorting to false statistics to conceal the true figure of 7000 families whose land could come under submergence this monsoon if they push the dam without land for rehabilitation, and without a financial plan to build and complete the 44000 crores rupees worth dam. People are determined to create history!Ashish Mandloi