| NBA Press Release
|| 01 January 2007
Urgent Appeal: Two lakh people, adivasis and farmers, from the Narmada valley cry halt to destruction
62, Mahatma Gandhi Road,
Madhya Pradesh - 451551
It is more than shocking that Gujarat, in connivance with the other states- M.P, rajasthan & maharashtra, and with no monitoring from the centre, has raised the height of Sardar Sarovar dam to 122 metres. They are also building a foundation for the gates to be put up between 122 & 138 mts, even when there are at least 35,000 families ( 1.75 lakh people) still residing in the submergence area of 122 mts & more than 40,000 families (2 lakh people) in the area to be affected at 138.68 mts, the full height.
The struggle of the last 21 years and the long battle in Delhi (march to may 2006), the much trumpeted survey by the PM appointed shungulu committee (oversight group), our critique of it, is known to you all. When the shungulu committee's report was submitted to the supreme court, the prime minister himself had stated through a report that dam construction (stopped at 119 mts, in july) would not commence without a review of resettlement and rehabilitation, in October.
No real review of the ground level situation was ever carried out. The R&R subgroup of Narmada Control Authority (inter-state) has not visited the valley since 2000, till date. The NCA chaired by the secretary, water resources, at the centre, does not monitor R&R. All false reports, fake registries showing land purchase, incomplete record of oustees; betrayal & criminal act of submerging adivasi lands & houses in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra till 2006, is neither truthfully reported, nor taken cognisance of. Both Madhya Pradesh (with thousands about 10,000 families eligible for land) and Maharashtra (at least 1000 and more adivasi families) not rehabilitated with cultivable, irrigable land, is violation of law, sc judgements, promises, propoganda and affidavits on oath. These governments do not even offer good, cultivable land and hundreds of adivasi families in Gujarat stand cheated due to bad, uncultivable land allotted.
It's a total betrayal and a clear message for all adivasis, farmers, fishworkers, labourers and urban poor to traders; all who are being promised rehabilitation only to be ousted, forcibly evicted in the name of development. While the lakhs of people in narmada valley who continue to stay put in the area to be flooded and already flooded, when the dam waters are far from being effectively utilized to satiate the thirst of the needy, when 40,000 crores worth sardar sarovar project is not proved to be the solution to Gujarat's water or M.P/Maharashtra's power crisis, when crores of rupees worth compensation and R&R funds are pocketted by corrupt officials and leaders, the struggle has to continue, challenging no rehabilitation for sardar sarovar affected, asserting no more displacement.
Before all adivasis, large and small villages, townships, houses - pakka & kachcha, schools, dispensaries; temples & mosques; shops & markets; lakhs & lakhs of trees of neem, teak, mango, anjan, mahua, chironji, amla, ber, what not; best of agricultural land in nimad with record agri-produce (wheat, cotton, soya, sugarcane, papaya, banana, oranges & lemons, all fruits ) and in satpuda-vindhyas with jowar (millet), makkai (maize), sesame, hilly millets; everything in this oldest of the civilisations in the world, narmada valley, is drowned.
The submergence, you know, would be up to 214 kms long area (i.e. Mumbai to nashik or delhi to agra & beyond) & will bring devastation, not rehabilitation.
Do act with the urgency & commitment as ever
Plan demonstrations, link with actions, including 'no more displacement' day january 2nd, the day of kalinga nagar killings. Write strongest possible letters to the PM, sonia gandhi, Mr. Soz, minister of water resources, challenging the criminal act, illegal decision & the project with uncertain benefits - 10% of the promised, unjust distribution against needy & thirsty, which must be stopped. Join us in action: jan 2nd - at new delhi. Question violation of law, rehabilitation policy & value of justice; impingement upon right to life and livelihood; distorted water management. Write articles in the wider context too
CONTACT NO: YOGINI KHANOLKAR 09423944390 RAJENDRA RAVI 09868206316 ASHISH MANDLOI 09993449644 MEDHA PATKAR 09869446684
YOGINI KHANOLKAR, KAILASH AWASIA, ASHISH MANDLOI, MEDHA PATKAR