NBA Press Release
  11 July 2002
Save The Narmada, Save Humanity!

Left to Support Narmada Struggle: Outcome of Narmada March In North
Maharashtra; Joint campaign by Left-Progressive Political Parties and NBA-NAPM

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In an important development, all the Left and Progressive parties in Maharashtra decided to cooperate with the people's movements, including the Narmada Bachao Andolan and national Alliance of People's Movements, fighting for alternative development. Both the parties and organizations will hold a joint programme against displacement, globalization and for the right to life during the monsoon session of Maharashtra legislature. The Left parties have also announced their official policy to support Narmada struggle and participate in its action programmes against displacement and destruction.

This became clear in the Press Conference and the following impressive public rally on Thursday (July 11), in Jalgaon, in North Maharashtra, as a part of the "People's March" of the tribals from the Narmada valley. The march, which was launched in Dhadgaon in Akrani tehsil on July 8, received rousing welcome at every town and village it passed through. It comprises of the villagers on the banks or Narmada, who are resisting the submergence and displacement due to the Sardar Sarovar dam (SSP) and those who have already been shifted to the resettlement sites, but are condemned to wretched existence. The people are proceeding towards Nashik, the divisional headquarters, to register their protest at the illegal and unjust displacement, submergence, and against the politics of making the dam-displacement inevitable.

The state leaders including, Prof. N.D. Patil (Peasants and Workers Party), Prabhakar Sanzgiri, Kumar Shiralkar (Communist Party-Marxist), Com. Bhalchandra Kango (Communist Party of India), Prof. Gopal Dukhande (Janata Dal), Subhash Lomte (Samajwadi Jan Parishad) addressed the press conference. Medha Patkar of NBA and National Alliance of People's Movement (NAPM), Dr. Kumar Saptarshi (Yuvak Kranti Dal), Subhash Waray (Rashtra Seva Dal), Pratibha Shinde (Punarvasan Sangharsha Samiti), and representatives of Chhatrabharati Students Union, other organizations participated in the meetings.

While condemning the unjust submergence and displacement in the Narmada valley, Medha Patkar emphasized the need to fight for the right over the resources like forest, land and water for the tribal and village communities. "The grassroot struggles for the rights and livelihood of the people are related to the larger issue of the dominance of national-multinational capitalism. The active linkage of the struggles on all such fronts is the need of the hour. The struggle in the Narmada valley leads to the larger struggle to save the nation (desh bachao andolan) and the struggle for a new development (desh banao andolan)", she asserted.

Over three hundred oustees' representatives from the SSP-affected villages on the banks of Narmada, along with those from the resettlement sites in Maharashtra, launched the march on July 8 from Dhadgaon. They are on a campaign to expose the reality regarding the dam and the displacement-resettlement to the people outside the valley and garner support for their 17 year long struggle. Hundreds of people and scores of organizations, especially those of tribals, peasants, students, welcomed the Narmada people at Mhasavad, Shahada, Shirpur, Chopda, Jalgaon and adjoining towns-villages.

The Narmada valley tribals appealed the people from outside to join their Satyagraha at Jalsindhi and Domkhedi. If there is a normal monsoon, submergence is inevitable at anytime. There will be three Public Hearings in the valley from July 13-15 regarding the truth about displacement.

Sanjay Sangvai