NBA Press Release

16 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

MAJOR FLOODS IN NARMADA VALLEY IN NEXT 24 HOURS FEARED
SATYAGRAHIS TO FACE SUBMERGENCE, OPPOSE 'SHAM RESCUE OPERATION' BY GOVERNMENT

As the submergence water of the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) is expected to rise menacingly by early hours of Tuesday( July 17), due to the large scale releases from the Bargi dam upstream, the villagers and activists camping at the Satyagraha places of Domkhedi and Jalsindhi are determined to face the submergence once again. In a statement Medha Patkar made it clear that the Satyagrahis are opposed to any 'sham act' of rescuing them by the government through police action while refusing to address the basic issues regarding displacement and resettlement, raised by the people.

There is an imminent danger of the large-scale submergence in the Narmada valley area affected by the SSP, due to the large volume of water releases in Narmada from the upstream Bargi dam near Jabalpur. According to the information in the evening of July 14 (Saturday), all the 21 gates of the Bargi dam were opened with the release of volume of 3.63 million cusecs water in the riverbed. It is expected that the river level at the dam site would increase from present 95+ meters to 97+/98 + meters. The large volume would reach the Satyagraha place in Domkhedi and Jalsindhi and, there is a possibility that the Satyagraha place might be under the submergence water at least upto one and half to two meters ( around five to six feet ), till the late night of July 16, early 17 (Monday or Tuesday). The villagers and activists including Geeta, Pravin, Devrambhai, Medha Patkar and others^ÅThe Satyagrahis are prepared to face submergence with the determination and resolve not to succumb to the injustice.

According to the Satyagrahis, this unjust submergence is caused by the order of the Indian Supreme Court, allowing the unfettered rise in the height of the dam upto 90 meters in its judgement and subsequently paving the way for the humps of 3 meters.

" Also, the Maharashtra government is a party in this crime, as it has been endorsing the Gujarat's pervert insistence for raising the height at the dam at any cost. The Justice (Retd). Dawood Committee has exposed the myth of rehabilitation, in which the Indian Supreme Court had believed unquestioningly. The Committee has pointed out that the oustees in Maharashtra upto 90 meters have not been resettled and the submergence hitherto has been without rehabilitation."

Medha Patkar, in her statement from Domkhedi has come heavily down on the persistent falsehood by Maharashtra government, even at this critical juncture. The authorities have asked the people in the submergence zone to move out as they " have been living there unauthorisedly". She pointed out that these tribal families have been living and farming on the banks Narmada for more than last 20 generations. They have fought against the British. And now they are fighting for their rights against our own rulers.

The statement made it clear that " The authorities have been humiliating the protesting people through the tamasha (sham act) of ' rescue operations', thus burying and evading the basic issues of the people's Satyagraha. The people have undertaken to do away with such 'rescue centers' in a peaceful manner, without harming anyone, as tribals feel humilated by such treatment and references of 'unauthorised settlers'. "We are prepared to take up the non-violent struggle against such injustice to the ultimate, staking our lives by facing the submergence waters", the Satyagrahis expressed the resolve.

Joe Athialy
Ashish Mandloi
Clifton
Sanjay Sangvai