NBA Press Release
  11 June 2002
Save The Narmada, Save Humanity!

Indefinite Fast Enters 22nd Day; Green Party Leader Appeals to Mr.Digvijay Singh; NBA Condemns the Attack on 'Water Man' Rajendra Singh

Jail Road, Mandleshwar
District Khargone, Madhya Pradesh
Tel: 07283-33162

On the 28th day of the dharna and 22nd day of the indefinite fast by Ms.Chittaroopa Palit, Ms.Ramkuvar, Mr.Mangat Varma and Mr.Vinod Patwa, more and more support from different parts of country and around the world are pouring in. With the steadily deteriorating health of the activists with drop in weight upto 15 kgs and low blood pressure, the activists remain weak and frail. Nevertheless, the morale of them and the hundreds at the dharna is high and their resolve is undeterred.

In an important development, Development and Human Rights Speaker of the Green Party and head of the German-Indian Parliamentarians Association Dr. Angelika Köster-Loßack, in an urgent communication to the Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Mr.Digvijay Singh, has appealed to "take immediate action to ensure that the destroyed property of the Maan communities is restored."

In a letter, which expressed concern about the state of both Maan and Sardar Sarovar dam rehabilitation, she wrote, "... your State has positively impressed the international development community through its Dalit Agenda, the Tribal Self-Rule Policies and Gram Swaraj Programs. It is therefore, inconceivable that you would tolerate the impending submergence of 17 adivasi villages through the Maan project. If land-based resettlement is indeed possible in any of the Narmada projects, it would be Maan. Around 6,000 SSP affected families in the Nimad region of Madhya Pradesh and Maan affected were issued notices to evict their villages by June 5. These families have not been given access to any new agricultural land; in some cases they have not even been awarded sites to relocate their houses. This is also a clear violation of the provisions of the Narmada Tribunal Award, the environmental Clearance..."

Over 300 adivasis from Shramik Adivasi Sangathan, Harda, Kisan Adivasi Sangathan, Hoshengabad and Samajwadi Jan Parishad participated in the dharna at Bhopal today. They reiterated that this is not just the struggle of the Maan affected, but all tribals of the state who are at the receiving end of the wrong developmental policies of the state. Later in the day they took out a rally in Bhopal in support of the demands of the indefinite fast and dharna of Maan dam affected.

NBA condemns the brutal attack on Magsaysay Award winner, 'Water Man' Rajendra Singh at Aligrah (UP) today. He was attacked when he was addressing a public meeting. This is planned and executed by the forces that oppose the decentralised, community owned, water management systems, of which, Rajendra Singh is a vetran since decades. His yeoman efforts to bring water to the water crunched regions of Rajasthan, with the involvement of the local communities, stand as a tall testimony to this. NBA demands immediate arrest and appropriate action against the assailant.

Numerous organisations and individuals from the world community including the United States of America and Germany appealed to the Chief Minister to urgently look into the pressing issues of the Maan dam affected. Mr. Ashish Kothari of Kalpavriksh, Himanshu Thakkar of South Asian Network on Dams, River and People, Girish Sant, member, Advisory Committee - Central Electricity Regulatory Commission, Nuclear scientist Ashok Kumar and others wrote to the Chief Minister, Mr.Digvijay Singh to humanely resolve the issues of the Maan dam oustees.

Alok Agarwal