NBA Press Release
  06 January 2006
Save The Narmada, Save Humanity!

Narmada Bachao Andolan gets corrupt official removed in Manavar, Madhya Pradesh

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Full scam of corruption unraveling in rehabilitation of Sardar Sarovar dam oustees; this is only due to the illegal distribution of cash instead of land

As the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) continues to uncover the corruption of hundreds of crores of rupees in the rehabilitation of Sardar Sarovar dam-affected families, the news today is that Ashok Kumar Modi, Assistant Rehabilitation Officer in Manavar, Dhar district, M.P. has been forced to take compulsory retirement, in light of all the charges leveled against him of corruption relating to rehabilitation of affected families.

When hundreds of affected families, incensed with the situation of corruption and money-laundering in their rehabilitation, descended on the Manavar tehsil office of the NVDA (Narmada Valley Development Authority) on December 30, 2005, they exposed the officials and persons involved in the scam, and also filed FIRs against the guilty persons. The removal of A.K. Modi from office is proof that the Andolan is correct in exposing this sheer squandering of the state^s exchequers. It is indeed shameful and condemnable that government officials and, even worse, dalals, are making money out of the tragedy of thousands of families. We hope that this unraveling of the scam continues, and we believe that all guilty persons should not only be removed from office, but also that their properties should be seized and criminal proceedings should be carried out against them.

This large-scale corruption is taking place because the M.P. government is illegally, against the directions of the Court, pushing oustees to take cash instead of land-based rehabilitation. Now, Gujarat is planning to raise the height of the dam up to 121 metres, from its current height of 110 metres. This would a conspiracy to submerge people without rehabilitation ^ to expose and oppose this, over a thousands people from the Narmada Valley were here in Delhi on Wednesday. The freezing cold could not dampen their spirits or their quest for justice. In their meeting with Mrs. Meira Kumar, the Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment, the Minister patiently heard all that the oustees had to say. She promised that she would visit the Narmada Valley for herself to see the situation, and instructed her Joint Secretary to prepare her program for the valley. No time-limit, however, was set for this visit.

Later, the oustees had a meeting with Shri Harinarayan, Secretary of Water Resources, who said that he would not accept cash compensation as a substitute for actual rehabilitation. He said the M.P. government cannot give cash instead of land, as this is a violation of the Supreme Court orders. He also said that he would closely examine the ATRs (Action Taken Reports) of the State governments, which are used to justify the raising of the dam height further.

The oustees emphasize again that illegal cash compensation and corruption must be stopped immediately and legal action should be taken against the corrupt officials. In addition, the permission to raise the dam height must not be given at a time when rehabilitation is lagging behind severely and the rights of people are being trampled upon.

Medha Patkar
Ashish Mandloi
Dipti Bhatnagar