NBA Press Note

January 28, 2001

Save The Narmada, Save Humanity!

B-13, Shivam Flats,
Ellora Park, Baroda

Narmada Valley expresses solidarity with Gujarat people; Will participate in quake relief; Further investigations needed

We, in the Narmada valley, are shocked and pained at the ghastly earthquake in Gujarat that has taken the toll of over 20,000 of our brothers and sisters, besides injuring thousands others. Several thousands are reported to be still trapped under the debris. The people in the state are overcoming this unprecedented calamity with exemplary dauntless capabilities, coordination, cooperation and a sense of unity. The catastrophe is being considered by every right thinking Indian as her and his own grief and responsibility. The Narmada Bachao Andolan expresses solidarity with the people of Kutch, Saurashtra and rest of Gujarat who have lost their dear and near ones along with their life support. We also extend our solidarity and empathy towards the earthquake stricken people in Sindh in Pakistan and hope that the government and non-governmental efforts there would restore the lives of the people.

Entire nation is rising to the calling from Gujarat as one people. The NBA and its supporters all over India will be fulfilling their national duty of helping ill-struck people in Gujarat. We have discussed the earthquake issue in the village meetings in the valley. From the Narmada valley groups of tribal, non-tribal volunteers would be going to help in relief work. The villagers in the Nimad areas, affected by Sardar Sarovar and Maheshwar Project areas are collecting foodgrains for their brethren of Gujarat. The supporters of NBA from other parts of country would also be contributing their mite for the relief work. This is the first and most important calling at the present juncture. The experience gained in Latur earthquake relief work should guide all of us about the dos and don'ts of the relief and resettlement works.

While we stress the urgency to rush relief materials to the worst hit calamity in Gujarat, to avoid further human tragedy, the authorities should heed to the warnings given by many scientists. We will have to explore more accurately the extent and magnitude of the areas prone to the seismic activities in India. After the Latur earthquake, many organisations and experts have insisted on the fresh mapping of the earthquake-prone zones in India. Over 500 scientists are reported have prepared a report on hazards after 7 years of research; this has to be converted into the risk areas and definite measures need to be taken. This has yet to be done. For averting the disaster, the retrofitting of the urban housing and proper housing technique in rural areas will have to be utilised and people be trained.

It is reported in some sections of media that Dr. Harsh Gupta, Director of National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI) said that the extension of the fault zone of NarmadaSon lineament may be responsible for present catastrophe and it has released 900% more energy than that in Latur quake. It is also reported in media that Prof. R.S. Negi of NGRI said that the Gujarat earthquake is likely to trigger off tectonic activities in the Narmada-Son Lineament. In light of this, there is an urgent need to make an in-depth investigation about the present earthquake and the related issues like preventive and remedial measures in the geologically vulnerable zones in our country to avoid any such occurrence in future.

No doubt, all such things will have to be considered and acted upon. But, at the present moment nothing is more important than to come to help of our quake hit Gujarat people in urban settlements and rural hinterlands. We from the Narmada valley join in this national endeavor with all the empathy, compassion and camaraderie with the Gujarat people.

Medha Patkar