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

Madhya Pradesh government prepares to submerge Man affected villages in cold blood; Closes sluice gates, Adivasi women arrested, taken from Dhar to unknown place.

B-13, Shivam Flats
Ellora Park,
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62, Mahatma Gandhi Road,
Madhya Pradesh - 451551
Tel: 07290-22464

The Madhya Pradesh Administration has begun preparations to submerge the Maan dam affected villages in cold blood today by arresting thr affected adivasi women from the first affected village- Khedi Balwadi, razing their houses and impounding the waters behind the dam by closing the sluice gates.

As per reports, 400 police entered Village Khedi Balwadi today, along with labourers in order to demolish the houses of the adivasis and remove them from the village. As the affected adivasis and especially the women resisted the force, the police arrested a truckful of adivasi women and took them to Dhar. Press people who saw them at the Dhar police station state that the women have now been taken from Dhar to an unknown place. It is also reported that the male police arresting the women in Khedi Balwadi intimidated and beat them up and committed several excesses.

Despite the fact that hundreds of families in the villages slated to be submerged by the Maan Project such as Khedi Balwadi, Bhuwada, Khanpura, Rehtiaon, Gadhaghat, Golpura are living behind the dam, the government began impounding the waters of the dam by closing the sluice gates ten days ago. Because of closing the sluice gates, the waters of the dam has begun to rise rapidly. It may be noted that the rains have almost failed this monsoon, and it is only one night's rain that is being impounded. It is this rain that threatens to impound the villages because of the closed sluice gates. It may also be noted that the canal network has not been completed so this impoundment is meaning less, and seems to be aimed only at submerging hapless adivasis.

It may be noted that this cold blooded action on part of the state government comes on the heels of the week long visit of Shri Prabhash Joshi and Shri B.D Sharma, the experts appointed on the Grievance Redressal Authority for the Maan dam oustees which concluded on the 18th of July after meetings in the villages and public hearing in Jeerabad. During the visit, it became extremely clear that the rehabilitation of the affected adivasis has not happened as per due process and that submergence will lead to sure pauperization. The villagers had demanded before the Experts of Grievance Redressal Authority during their recent visit that the sluice gates be immediately opened and that it be ensured that no submergence takes place before land based rehabilitation takes place.

The NBA condemns this deliberate and cold blooded action on part of the government and demands that the sluice gates be immediately opened, that the women and other adivasis arrested today be immediately released, and that the state ensure that no submergence takes place before rehabilitation is completed.

Failing this, the Maan affected adivasis rendered homeless by the state government both because of the deliberately created submergence and by demolishing the houses of the affected adivasis, will once more have to take recourse to indefinite action.

Alok Agarwal