NBA Press Release
  22 January 2003
Save The Narmada, Save Humanity!

Modi plans another genocide! All out to flood Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat adivasi and non-adivasi villages in the coming monsoon.

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Following a notorious victory in Gujarat using the Narmada card to gain maximum seats in central Gujarat, where water bound for Saurashtra-Kutch were strategically diverted to, Modi and his parivar is all out to push the presently stalled Sardar Sarovar Dam ahead. With thousands of families from Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh and hundreds from Gujarat still in the original villages and no cultivable agricultural land to offer, flooding of the lands and houses of the villages have been illegally allowed over the years. The dam remains stalled even now at 95 mts since even according to the Supreme Court judgement (2000), all Project Affected Families are to be resettled with housing sites as well as agricultural land as livelihood and the same has not been possible as the government has no plan ready, even after 24 years since the Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal gave its award. (1979)

Modi's victory was clearly due to the unholy compromise by Digvijay Singh who changed his position from the initial opposition to the by-pass tunnel (a lower height-90mts-canal) as well as to raising the dam-height from 90 to 95 meters. This on one hand helped Modi tremendously to take Narmada waters into Sabarmati but not much to Saurashtra (even though it was technically possible to do so!) In this process the original water allocation plan was changed. In that plan there was no allocation for any city, Ahmedabad or Vadodara. He used it to boost his image and gain votes.

On the other hand, the congress-ruled states were at the receiving end. The Maharashtra Government had its Task Force report ready and showing that about 2800 families, more than 1000 of these are under 95 meters, are still in the valley, and resettlement would require correction of records, granting of land rights and alocation of land which is a serious and time-taking exercise without which dam cannot proceed further. Thanks to Vilasrao Deshmukh and his cabinet, Maharashtra had to estimate the losses and sanction 37 lakhs, 81 thousand rupees as compensation, out of its own coffers.

Another important impact is on the power generation itself. As pleaded by government of Madhya Prdesh in its submission to the Supreme Court, by-pass tunnel is to affect power-generation since 1.29 MAF extra waters would be suck through the same by Gujarat. While "power" (56% and 27% respectively) is the only benefit promised of Sardar Sarovar Project to Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra, neither of the two governments is taking it seriously while Modi, as indicated from the ongoing efforts, is submitting false reports to the Narmada Control Authority, showing resettlement completed by all the states.

Maharashtra bureaucracy, in the uncertain political situation, seems to have played a game too. The Action Taken Report submitted to Narmada Control Authority, 6 months after the truthful data is available from the Task Force, showed only 64 families between 95 and 100 meters, and those too , resettled. During the visit of Narmada Control Authority Director(Rehabilitaion) Mr Afroz Ahmed to the rehabilitation sites for field level assessment, most of what was reported was proved to be a fraud. The information was partially or fully wrong in the case of 61 out of 64 families. Not only the Task Force Report but the official records made available at the site also vindicated the information supplied by the adivasi families with documentary proofs.

Whether the Government of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh take a truthful position in favour of the affected families and in the interest of the states (which necessitates a review of cost and benefits) or support Modi's parivar who is all out to push the dam with political expediency and genocidal tendency exhibited by no concern for adivasis and other down-trodden or the drought-affected and the unjustifiable costs to the state's finance; not less than 16,500 crores more when the coffers are empty. Will the betraying bureaucrats be tackled and Vilasrao Deshmukh's stance of "no further investment" into and no further construction of the Sardar Sarovar Project, be retained by the new Chief Minister and his cabinet or will Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh governments again face defeat with its own deeds at the hands of the communal forces and face serious challenge during the coming monsoon at the hands of the affected?

Medha Patkar