NBA Press Release
  31 July 2007
Save The Narmada, Save Humanity!

The struggle continues – Indefinite dharna (sit-in) at Badwani begins

62, Mahatma Gandhi Road,
Badwani,
Madhya Pradesh - 451551
Tel: 07290-222464
Email: badwani[at]narmada.org

If the government of Madhya Pradesh thought that, by using police violence and the jail, the struggle of the Sardar Sarovar dam-affected people could be quashed, it couldn't be more wrong. The struggle for land-based rehabilitation from 13th July 2007, which took the form of forcible occupation of government farm land at Taloon (near Badwani) by affected adivasis, farmers, landless labourers, fishworkers and others faced brutal police action, arrest and jail from 25th July onwards. The people in the Narmada Valley responded with total bandhs in more than 50 villages and roadblocks of State Highways for the past 4 days.

On 30 July, THE NARMADA BACHAO ANDOLAN BEGAN AN INDEFINITE DHARNA IN BADWANI reiterating, among others, its demand for land and a stop to the illegal practice of cash compensation. The dharna is also in protest to the decision of the state government to rake up old cases against Medha Patkar and Ashish Mandloi keeping them in jail till 3rd August. Hundreds of adivasis and farmers are on the streets of Badwani determined to snatch their rights. Bail was granted to all the other arrested activists by the SDM yesterday. While the bail for the jailed men resulted in their immediate release, the women are scheduled for release today since the release papers have to be delivered to the jail in Indore where they are presently kept. However, Ashish Mandloi and Medha Patkar will not be released since old cases pending against them have been raked up. This, yet again, exposes the cheap tricks of the government to dent this struggle against denial of rights of affected people. The people in the Valley have sent a strong message that this will not be taken lightly, as those released from jail have immediately joined the indefinite dharna. WHILE PRIME AGRICULTURAL LANDS ARE BEING GIVEN ON A PLATTER TO ANY AND EVERY INDUSTRIAL HOUSE IN AND FROM OUT OF THIS COUNTRY, FACILITATED BY LAWS THAT ARE BEING CREATED, THE RIGHTS OF FARMING COMMUNITIES AND ADIVASIS ARE BEING MADE THE PROVERBIAL SACRIFICIAL GOAT. In the Narmada Valley, even with the law on their side, besides decisions of the Supreme Court, the government of Madhya Pradesh refuses to comply with these even as it forcibly and illegally submerges their lands. How long can this go on? This is the question that the people in the Narmada Valley are posing today. The spirit and the determination is the challenge that the government faces. And brutal police action or detention or the jailing of its senior activists cannot lessen this determination. With another submergence imminent as the monsoons progress, the challenge to the government has been made. At this time, yet again, we hope that you, who believe and have been part of this struggle in your way, must act again. Join this challenge thrown to the government. You can:

- come and be part of this dharna - hold support programmes (film screenings, signature campaigns, letters and faxes to concerned authorities, etc.) – organize street protests/corner meetings in support of the dharna, protesting the arrest of activists. – write/fax to the authorities demanding justice for the affected people(addresses given below)

To Ms. Sonia Gandhi The Chairperson, Indian National Congress Fax: 011 23018651 Email: 10janpath@vsnl.net, soniagandhi@sansad.nic.in

To Shri Saif-ud-din Soz Water Resources Minister Fax: 91-11-23714200, 11-23714663, 11-23711780 (off), 11-23782032 11-23782034 (res) E-Mail: ssaif@sansad.nic.in, minister-mowr@nic.in

Dr Afroz Ahmed Director (I.A.& R.) Ph: 0731-2558603, Fax: 0731-2554333 dir.rehab.nca@nic.in

To, Shri Shivraj Singh Chauhan The Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh Fax: +91-755-2540501; +91-755-2551781 Email:cm@mpchiefminister.com,cm@mp.nic.in To, Shri Manmohan Singh The Prime Minister of India Fax: 011 23019817, 23016996 ® E-Mail pmosb@pmo.nic.in, http://pmindia.nic.in/write.htm

To, Ms Meira Kumar Minister of Social Justice& Empowerment Shastri Bhawan, New Delhi – 110001 (India) Ph: 011- 2338 1001, 2338 1390 E-mail: min-sje@sb.nic.in

DEMANDS OF THE SATYAGRAHA

I. NO SUBMERGENCE TILL REHABILITATION IS COMPLETED AS PER LEGAL MANDATE

•Since there are at least 19,000 declared and a few thousand undeclared families in the submergence area of 122 meters dam height, deserving to be rehabilitated. •Since not one PAF is M.P. is allotted cultivable land by the state government and no land is identified, NWD tribunal's stipulation must be strictly followed - no land, no submergence •No permission should be granted to erect the gates on the Sardar Sarovar dam wall.

2.Water in the upstream dams and in Sardar Sarovar should be regulated in such a way that there would be no submergence beyond previous years, keeping minimum level at the dam site.

3.Those families whose land/house was or will be affected without rehabilitation should be fully compensated. These should include the river-bed cultivators, farmers and with irrigation pumps submerged, fish-workers losing fish and those with lands/houses drowned without rehabilitation.

4.Those at rehabilitation sites, who have not received cultivable land and all other entitlements, should not be declared as "rehabilitated" and they too should be taken into the full participatory process.

II. FULL COMPLIANCE WITH RESETTLEMENT AND REHABILITATION (R&R) POLICY AND SUPREME COURT ORDER

1.Land must be allotted to every eligible family beginning with adivasi families in Jhabua by the Government of M.P. Private land, of the PAFs choice, that can be purchased and denuded forest land should be made available.

2.Special Rehabilitation package, which is illegal cash payment in lieu of land allotment, must be cancelled.

3.Fish workers displaced by the project must be given their right to fisheries in the reservoir without allowing any outsiders, contractors.

4.The massive corruption through SRP by way of fake registries, must be exposed, all registries investigated and declared as cancelled. The accused persons in the FIRs must be arrested immediately.

5.All the complaints regarding names of PAFs, major sons, land holders, widows, excluded houses, affected lands left out; tapu land not surveyed, nor acquired; house plots not allotted; allotted lands/ plots not usable; farmers' amenities and agricultural land in the vicinity etc, should be settled in the Gramsabhas, publicly announced at least 8 days before the date. A task force must be appointed with officials from all departments - NVDA, Revenue, Forest (in the case of forest villages and adivasis on forest land)

6.Number of PAFs affected at various levels and number of PAFs eligible for land is under-represented in the official reports as well as affidavits. This should be re-checked and corrected, correlating various estimates and the ground reality.

7.The PAFs who were allotted land in Gujarat, but were cheated, must be given alternative land either in Gujarat or in Madhya Pradesh, with their consent.

8.Village level committees formed for rehabilitation should be reconstituted based on Gramsabha recommendation. District level committee should be formed with nomination and election from village level committees.

9.Each and every resettlement site must be maintained to the last detail through special teams from NCA and the final certification of the site to be complete and ready as per the policy for those already affected. The categorization of good, average and bad sites are not fully acceptable and plots at each site are not enough for all PAFs in the concerned village.

10.A review of compensation for house to check if replacement value is paid, as per the Govt. of M.P. policy should be carried out (clause 2.4 of policy for Narmada Projects)

11.Wherever only Nazaria survey (survey by sight) was carried out, a re-survey of houses should be planned and executed with participatory approach. This is as per Shunglu Committee Report.

12.Land to become Tapu must be surveyed in all villages and acquired or decision should be taken with the villagers

III. MONITORING:

1.Narmada Control Authority's (NCA) monitoring must improve, be frequent and regular (once in 3 months at least) in each village and each R&R site, through independent, impartial teams who should work in association with PAFs

2.Grievances Redressal Authority's (GRA) camps should be held in the affected areas or at tehsil place and not far off

3.GRA should be asked to give its own directive and not dispose off the case through Narmada Valley Development Authority (NVDA)

4.R&R sub-group and NCA must visit the affected area and R&R sites, every 3 months till the situation is critical and thereafter every 6 months. At least three representatives of Narmada Bachao Andolan, the organisation of PAFs should be taken as members on the R&R sub-group.

5.A full, comprehensive and truthful status report on rehabilitation, in the framework of NWDTA, state policies and court orders, must be prepared by NCA on R&R of all states affected by SSP, which should be detailed and factually correct, and made public as well as submit to the Supreme Court.

6.An independent and capable, experienced, non-profit Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) agency should be appointed for each state immediately.

Umesh Patidar, Gokru Mangliya, Bava Maharia, Clifton, Kailash
Awasya