NBA Press Release
22 July 2001
Save The Narmada, Save Humanity!

Maharashtra Satyagrahis Confront Collector On Displacement

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

While the Satyagraha in the Narmada valley is continuing against the unjust and illegal displacement, the Madhya Pradesh administration has tried on Saturday (July 21) to intimidate the people and the NBA activists at Kasaravad near Badwani who were questioning the government process to disburse the cash compensation in violation of the laws and rules.

The Madhya Pradesh administration and police are trying to lure away some people in the Chooti Kasaravad to accept the cash compensation in violation of the Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal (NWDT) award. They went in the village Chhoti Kasaravad and started to conduct survey of houses. When some families wanted to raise issues regarding the displacement and resettlement, the officials created unwarranted scene. The police and officials tried to create a division among the villagers and intimidate the villagers questioning the propriety of the survey and compensation..

The government could not resettle 1944 families who are affected at the 90 meters of the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP), as the Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister has declared that the state has no land for resettlement. Out of 33 affected villages during this monsoon at the height of 90 meters, the process of Land Acquisition Act is not completed in 31 villages. Previously some people were given the compensation but they could not buy the land. To camouflage its failure to resettle the people, the state government is now bent on compelling the people to oust by giving cash compensation. The survey and 'divide and rule' in Kasaravad has been one such instance.

The people from Kasaravad and adjoining villages opposed the intimidatory tactics of police, administration and have lodged the police complaint. The officials also have lodged fictitious complaints against the protestors. The state government had tried to similarly intimidate the people of Chikhalda on April 14, in similar situation. The NBA condemns the attitude of the Madhya Pradesh government of illegal and divisive policies, instead of addressing the basic issue of the non-availability of the land and illegality of the construction on the dam.

Domkhedi: Collector Retreats

In the Satyagraha place of Domkhedi ( Maharashtra), the villagers once again exposd the tall claims of resettlement by the Government of Maharashtra as they confronted the Nandurbar District Collector Mr. Assem Gupta. While Maharashtra government claimed that only 65 families below the height of 110 meters remain to be resettled, the people gave him the list of over 1000 families below 90 meters who are yet to be resettled. The Collector assured the agitated people of verifying the list and to respond within 10 days.

The Collector, who came in Domkhedi on July 19 with about hundred police was made to beat a retreat by the people. The village leaders Dadlia Karbhari, Veljibhai, Dedlibai and others opposed the 'drama' of saving people from the submergence when the government claimed that " the people have been living unauthorisedly in the villages and the government is not responsible for that". They made the police to leave the village.

The villagers demanded that the Maharashtra government must make its position clear on the report of the Daud Committee regarding the displacement and rehabilitation in Maharashtra and provide the Master plan based on ground reality of displacement and resettlement by restoring the land rights of the people. Otherwise they will be compelled to confront the rising water of submergence. " We are struggling for Life; but have been fighting with staking our lives", the villagers declared.

Ashish Mandloi
Alok Agrawal
Sanjay Sangvai