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

SARDAR SAROVAR: OUSTEES ASSERTING THEIR RIGHTS THROUGH LAND OCCUPATION

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

SATYAGRAHA DEMANDS LAND-BASED REHABILITATION

Farmers affected by the Sardar Sarovar (Narmada) dam have occupied 100 acres of government land reserved for seed farm, in Badwani district, Madhya Pradesh as an expression of a well known principle: expropriators must be expropriated, Narmada Bachao Andolan [NBA] announced today.

Hundreds of affected adivasis and other farmers, including river-bed cultivators, have started cultivating this land as their right, since theirs is already destroyed by or acquisitioned for the dam, with no alternative land given. They will stay on the land, plough and sow it, plant trees and hold dialogue to exchange vision and views as also to strategize further, NBA said.

“It's obvious that in spite of special packages land for 11,000 families, 90 resettlement sites, right to 5 acres of land for each major son of affected family, that SSP-affected could seek through long struggle of past 22 years, much remains to be done and attained,” Medha Patkar said. “No appropriate and sufficient land is in sight and hence the adivasis in the hilly areas who are determined to get land for land as their right, including mostly those who led the struggle with commitment and vision that is known to the world and all of us. The fight has to be on”, she said.

Sardar Sarovar is getting filled (a massive water body, even though partial) with water flowing through the vast catchments as well as large dams upstream. The threat of submergence looms over 2 to 2.5 lakh people, residing in the submergence area till date. With the illegality and injustice continuing to be imposed, the farmers to fish workers will commence Satyagraha from tomorrow, since there has been no response to the honest and reasonable demands and their life is being drowned and doomed.

Satyagrahis made a nation-wide call to initiate different actions to ensure that the State does not evict the people forcibly and repression is not resorted to. They warned that they would not be cowed down by the State’s pressure tactics and asserted that national and international human rights organizations would be keeping an eye on the developments in the Narmada valley.

Ashish Mandloi (09993449644), Yogini Khanolkar (09423944390), Kailash Awasya

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.

URGENT APPEAL

WE EARNESTLY APPEAL TO ALL SUPPORTERS TO GENEROUSLY CONTRIBUTE IN CASH OR KIND. WE WELCOME DONATIONS OF CLOTHES, UMBRELLAS, TARPAULIN SHEETS, FOOD GRAINS AND CASH. FOR DETAILS, PLEASE CONTACT THE PERSONS GIVEN BELOW.

Contacts: Mumbai – Pervin Jehangir - 09820636335, 022-22184779 Pune - Suniti S R – 020-25211404, 09422048967 Shahada - Shyam Patil – 02562-246419, 09423496020 Indore – Chinmayabhai, Sarvodaya Press Service – 0731-2401083, 09893278855 Vadodara- Rohit Prajapati – 0265-2320399