| NBA Press Release
|| 03 July 2007
Sardar Sarovar Rehabilitation: The Biggest Land Scam Exposed
62, Mahatma Gandhi Road,
Madhya Pradesh - 451551
Land deals worth crores of rupees are investigated and found to be fake, in the case of rehabilitation work with Sardar Sarovar Dam affected families. A lobby of corrupt officials, some local advocates and a few villagers has conspired with support from the politicians to empty the state exchequer over the last few years. This has cheated the affected farmer families and expropriated the money exchanged in the name of rehabilitation.
At least 150 registries are located and investigated by Andolan members, farmers who have stuck to principle & remained faithful & truthful, to find the horrifying story of fake sellers, fake survey numbers and false deeds signed by registrars with even fake witnesses. In the village of Udaipur, tehsil-Jhirnya (district-Khargaon), a non-adivasi seller who is neither a resident nor even existent, as appears to be. In some cases, Government land is sold out as 'private' & in others, the survey number is itself false & hence land is non-existent. (DETAILS PREPARED ON EXCEL FILE CAN BE SEND ON REQUEST BY E-MAIL)
The Narmada Water Dispute Tribunal Award (NWDTA) has provided for land-based rehabilitation of every farmer family who is to lose more than 25% of land due to Sardar Sarovar Dam. M.P. Government never offered any cultivable land, violated the law and instead passed orders under newly introduced policy measures that cash may be paid in lieu of land. While Gujarat & Maharashtra Government have been compelled to offer & allot land to the oustees, even if after much struggle, M.P., the state with maximum submergence and related displacement, has absolutely refused to follow law. The Illegal payment of cash was used as a tool to lure people to sign off their right & claim – 'land for land.' The indebted farmers in the plains of Nimad were also told by the 'agents' that they can get pure cash without even actually buying land; no doubt one or two lakhs out of 5.5 lakhs compensation per person was pocketed by them. Moreover, when the odd rule of the Government required that the family purchased 5 acres of land with only half of the cash due to be paid and then collect the second installment, the families could never do it.
On the other hand, those who paid a signing amount as advance couldn't get the second installment & hence lost the amount when the conditional time limit put forth by the seller got over. This was seen as an opportunity by the corrupt officials, their agents-advocates to pull the family into resorting to false registries with no land in hand & only getting cash, to be expensed soon. The Project Affected Families are thus losing and much of cash in the same and will come out a pauper.
Moreover, they would be proved criminal when the real owner didn't desire to sell his land but same was undertaken with false photo and signature put up by the agents. A few of the affected families were also jailed to save the real culprits following which a few FIRs are filed by the cheated farmers.
When Shunglu Committee, 2006 (appointed by Prime Minister) chaired by the former Comptroller & Auditor General of India was assigned the task of investigation into R&R in Sardar Sarovar, he was briefed by none else but Prof. Upendra Baxi, Advocates Sanjay Parikh, Prashant Bhushan and a team of NBA activists along with affected people, giving few examples. But OSG Report (By Shunglu and others) kept mum. Moreover, the NCA, Central authority too didn't take up the task of enquiry, nor did GRAs take cognizance of our complaint. This encouraged the expropriators to continue the open loot.
The Government of M.P. and the Narmada Valley Development Authority (NVDA) has been reporting to the Centre as well as the apex court that out of about 4,000 farmers who accepted the special cash package (SRP), about 2,500 farmers have purchased land and hence SRP is proved to be successful. They sold this argument to Shunglu Committee as well as the Grievance Redressal Authority chaired by a former judge. NBA AND THE AFFECTED PEOPLE CONTINUED TO BRING OUT THE FACT THAT THERE ARE STILL MORE THAN 40,000 FAMILIES (2 LAKHS PLUS PEOPLE) IN THE SSP SUBMERGENCE AND NOT LESS THAN 10,000 FAMILIES WILL BE ENTITLED TO LAND. When there is no land available and private land is not purchased by M.P. Government; Maharashtra too has left out more than 1,000 adivasi families till date; Gujarat is refusing to change uncultivable lands allotted, thousands of families are to face landlessness against the law and judgments.
The tragedy, however, is that the apex court also does not question the illegal policy of SRP and stop the practice with urgency. Today, the falsehood of data, based on false registries, presented in affidavits, also brings in the charge of perjury against the State authorities. Through the pending petitions by the affected people, including the contempt of court petition against Chairpersons of NVDA and NCA, legal action will have to be taken further. One more petition before the Supreme Court is filed by ten eminent persons as concerned citizens questioning SRP, which is being pleaded by Prof. Baxi himself. The petitioners include Sri. Kuldip Nayyar, Smt. Aruna Roy, Swami Agnivesh, B.D. Sharma, Ramaswamy Iyer, Harsh Mandar and others.
Having exposed the massive corruption and the illegality leading to serious violations of human rights, the farmers themselves have now begun filing FIRs against the betrayers.
•Will there be an immediate and impartial enquiry into the scandal?
•Beyond 39 officials-employees were suspended for corruption, will others-Land Acquisition & Rehabilitation officers, Bank officials, Registrars to Collectors and Advocates, who all are involved, be put behind bars?
•Will the illegal policy of paying cash instead of land be withdrawn?
•Will the cheated farmers and adivasis, who remained untouched by lure and scare be provided land?
•Will the Centre and its authorities and also the Judiciary realize that they too were cheated through false reports and affidavits and take due legal action?
•Will there be realization that big dams, whether Tehri or Narmada, are monuments of corruption more than a progress and look up to the alternatives?
We hope all our supporters and conscientious citizens, media persons will raise the issues and help us to get the guilty punished.