NBA Press Release

12 July 2001

Save The Narmada, Save Humanity! NARMADA BACHAO ANDOLAN
B-13, Shivam Flats
Ellora Park,
Baroda-390007
Tel: 0265-282232
Email: baroda@narmada.org

62, Mahatma Gandhi Road,
Badwani,
Madhya Pradesh - 451551
Tel: 07290-22464
Email: badwani@narmada.org

Justice (Retd.) Daud Committee Report on Resettlement of Sardar Sarovar Project Oustees in Maharashtra Comes Down Heavily on the Government
Exposes the Lapses in Supreme Court Judgment; Vindicates NBA's Position

Indicting the Government of Maharashtra's position on the rehabilitation of Sardar Sarovar Project oustees and the Supreme Court judgment of October 2000 in the matter of Narmada Bachao Andolan, Justice S.M. Daud Committee has stated emphatically that the resettlement of those affected at 90 m. is yet to be completed due to the non-availability of land. It has recommended that the Government should not accept any proposal to raise the height of the dam beyond its existing height of 90 (ninety) meters until all problems are solved. It has further strongly recommended for a Master Plan for rehabilitation to be prepared in consultation with the oustees and for a fresh survey to be undertaken ascertaining the actual number of families to be affected by the project before any further increase in height of the dam. It also recommends that the Government should clarify to the Narmada Control Authority that resettlement at 90m is still due and that there is no land available.

'Committee to Assist the Resettlement and Rehabilitation of the Sardar Sarovar Project-Affected Persons' (Jst. Daud Committee) was formed in the wake of a three day dharna between January 2-4, 2001 by Narmada Bachao Andolan demanding that the government of Maharashtra undertake an independent review of the present status of rehabilitation, the plight of those already relocated to the R&R sites and those in the original villages, all within the framework of the NWDTA, rehabilitation policy and the order of the Supreme Court. The government had also agreed to the formation of a second Committee to review the cost benefits of the Sardar Sarovar project for Maharashtra.

The Committee was formed under the chairmanship of Justice S.M. Daud (Retired). The members include Shri Manikrao Gavit, Member of Parliament, Barrister Sharad Palav, Shri R.V. Buskute, Shri Nandalal, Principal Secretary (Revenue and Forest Department, Government of Maharashtra) and Shri K.S. Parab, Section Officer (Revenue and Forest Department, Government of Maharashtra). The Committee also consisted of Special Invitees, Smt. Pratibha Shinde of Punarwasan Sangharsh Samiti (PSS), Shri More, Joint Secretary, Irrigation Department, Government of Maharashtra and Shri Mali, Joint Secretary, Revenue and Forest Department, Government of Maharashtra.

The Committee has finalized its Report and submitted it to the government on 29th of June for further action.

The findings of the Committee thus expose the failings of the Supreme Court judgment in allowing the Govt. of Gujarat to further add 5 meters (2 + 3 mts humps) to the then existing dam height. NBA time and again warned that the rehabilitation of those tribals who are affected up to the already built height of the dam is far from complete, and any further construction with jeopardize the lives of thousands of more families. Up to 5000 families in the three affected States of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, almost entirely tribal, will be facing submergence (depending on the rainfall) this monsoon, without rehabilitation. In Maharashtra alone more than a 1000 tribal families will be faced with the possibility of losing all their property and assets this monsoon itself.

The findings of the Committee have clearly proven the claims of NBA in regard to the sorry state of resettlement being carried out by the State. We demand that the report of the Committee be published and made available for public consumption by the Government immediately. It is imperative that the Government accepts the recommendations of the Committee in toto and act on them immediately. Those already affected, by submergence and dam related works should be resettled right away. The Government should also appoint the second Committee to review the cost - benefit of the Sardar Sarovar project for Maharashtra as per its promise.

As the Committee has already suggested, until the recommendations are implemented no further construction of the dam should be approved of by the government of Maharashtra.

However, the people in the valley are willing to challenge the callousness of the State and its machinery and are on Satyagraha at three different parts of the Valley, to oppose the illegal and unjust submergence being brought upon them by the already built dam.

The truth is crystal clear. The dam as it stands today is illegal and is in total violation of all legal provisions and human norms. The challenge is whether the governments and judiciary can admit their folly and take a bold and truthful position that the lives of thousands of people will be protected.

Clifton D'Rozario
Report of the Committee to Assist the Resettlement and Rehabilitation of the Sardar Sarovar Project-Affected Persons (Government of Maharashtra)
A free translation of a letter in Marathi addressed and delivered to the Honourable Chief Minister of Maharashtra