NBA Press Release
  15 July 2004
Save The Narmada, Save Humanity!

Narmada Satyagraha in Mumbai Withdrawn

62, Mahatma Gandhi Road,
Madhya Pradesh - 451551
Tel: 07290-22464

The Narmada Bachao Andolan has withdrawn its 3-day dharna in front of Mantralaya upon the government of Maharashtra committing to a time bound action to rehabilitate all oustees. The government has committed to updating and finalizing the list of project affected people within one and a half months, and will hold a rehabilitation planning meeting on July 19th.

Representatives of all adivasi villages in Nandurbar District, Maharastra to be affected by SSP this monsoon withdrew their Satyagraha (their second in Mumbai in six months) at the Gandhi statue near Mantralaya. This was a decision made following a successful meeting held by the new rehabilitation minister Mr. Pathangrao Kadam with the members of the rehabilitation planning committee and the overview committee who include the representatives of the NBA, Punarvas Sangarsh Samiti (PSS), and concerned officials. Mr. Sadashiv Amrapurker the socially committed actor, and Mr.Gangadhar Patni one of the MLCs supportive of people's movements, attended. The non-governmental experts in attendance included Shri Anand Kapoor, Shri. R.V. Bhuskute, Adv. Surekha Dalvi, Pratibha Shinde, and Medha Patkar

The meeting took cognisance of the fact that the decisions of the state cabinet held on 21st of Jan and 28th of Jan were not fully implemented, and were rather grossly violated. The rehabilitation commissioner from Nasik did give a few explanation, especially the election, as a reason, which was not acceptable to the villagers and members of the Andolan. The minister too agreed that the violation is serious and reparation is a must. On discussion on the agenda put forth by NBA and some debate the following decisions were made:

1. The Task Force being official, the list of the undeclared families therein should be taken as more or less the final. Those cases of eligible, but yet-to-be-declared PAFs listed in the Task Force Report, but rejected by the district administration will be reviewed by the NBA activists and PSS at the tehsil level where the necessary revenue documents would be made available to them. Their comments would then be looked into and decision taken by the Commissioner. The minister asserted even one documental proof of a person habituating in the submergence area of SSP should be considered for declaring him as PAF. Examples of no assessment or false assessment of the families' records and ownership status by the district collector and other officials were brought out by NBA activists, Yogini Khanolkar, and others.

2. The minister asked and the commissioner agreed that notices that had been issued to oustees deeming them undeclared and un-eligible for rehabilitation should be temporarily stayed until the final decision is made.

3. It was agreed that the number of all PAFs yet to be declared belonging to various categories such as the tapu affected (the property to be marooned), left out due to age on the age criteria, and others will be finalised and declaration will occur within a month and a half. The compensation of about 950 families for the last years losses due to submergence are not yet paid. The Rehabilitation Minister agreed to pay the same as per the official assessments (panchamnamas) immediately.

4. The Minister reviewed the structure of decision making and rehabilitation planning and gave a verdict that the Commissioner in Nasik will have high powers at the local level and the planning and overview committee, which have participants from the people's organisations, will be provided all support for regular meetings and furthering the process and actions.

5. The Minister committed to come to the Valley at the earliest opportunity to see the ground reality.

6. It was agreed to pay compensation for all the families of those who died due to snake bite, etc.

7. It was committed to purchase all the private lands approved by the NBA and purchasing committee at the earliest.

The detailed meeting of the planning committee on the above terms is planned on 19th in Mantralaya. The PAFs agreed to withdraw their agitation on the assurances given by the Minister that all the PAFs will be rehabilitated before any further increase in the dam height.

Before withdrawing the Dharna, the people from the Valley took a pledge in the concluding ceremony in front of the Gandhi statue-given by adivasi leader Noorji Padvi, in the presence of a number of supporters from organization of textile workers, dalits, dam-affected people, and others-that they would face the rising waters and not leave their homes if they do not receive their rightful land-based rehabilitation.

Medha Patkar
Noorji Padvi