NBA Press Release
  26 July 2003
Save The Narmada, Save Humanity!

Increasing Narmada Waters Submerges Maharashtra Villages; Tribals Forcibly Displaced Without Resettlement

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

As the increasing submergence waters of the Narmada entered the Maharashtra villages affected by the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP), the state government sent police to displace the people forcibly and demolished their houses, without resettling them according to the law. The people in the Chimalkhedi have resisting the attempts by the police to break their backs and the struggle.

The floodwaters have been increasing since Saturday (July 26), due to the increased dam height of 100 meters, at alarming proportions, and there are indications that the submergence level will increase further due to the release of 105,000 cusecs water from the upstream Tawa dam. Water level at Dam site on 26th midnight was 100.29 mts. On Saturday afternoon at 15:00 hours 13 gates of Tawa dames were opened at 5 feet level, which means roughly after 30 hours the increased water flow will be reached at Sardar Sarovar Dam site. On July 27 morning, the discharge from Tawa was 150,000 cusecs.

The water has submerged, and the first villages of Maharashtra have marooned and the people have been forcibly displaced. Village Chimalkhedi got marooned becoming an island. In the morning of July 27, the Police along with hired laborers from Kevadiya Colony demolished the houses in the village. They tried to bribe Noorji, an young activist of Andolan, promising him PAF status and asking him to make people bow down to the pressures and shift. Noorji refused it strongly and said that until the land for land based rehabilitation is extended to all the affected, he will keep fighting tirelessly. By noon, police demolished Dharamsingh's home, while this action was going on, people resisted this brutal attack, staying non-violent. Police also let their cattle loose on their fields. Subsequently they arrested all the people from the village, who resisted and thwarted attempts of police to take them away in barge. Their belongings were seized and removed from their homes and taken to the tinsheds, the silver coloured "relief" camps. In the evening, all were released with a threat that they will have to move as the waters are going to rise dangerously within next few hours.

It is yet another instance and evidence, if that was needed, to show that the governments have conspired to force submergence and thereby the displacement on the people without any proper and lawful resettlement.

As the floodwater is going to increase there will be more submergence and destitution. We consider that Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh governments, along with the adamant Gujarat and Central governments have deliberately precipitated the crisis to make the people flee away, without any responsibility to resettle them. We make it clear that the governments just cannot get away from their responsibility and task. People in the Narmada valley will be resisting all the attempts to make the people destitute and helpless like the displaced people from other dams in the state and country. The Government of India and Maharashtra and M.P. will have to answer to the people of Narmada valley and from the country at large for this terrorism on its own people.

Medha Patkar