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

Narmada Case in Supreme Court

NARMADA BACHAO ANDOLAN
Jail Road, Mandleshwar
District Khargone, Madhya Pradesh
Tel: 07283-33162
Email: nobigdam@sancharnet.in

The Narmada (Sardar Sarovar) case before the Supreme Court judges Justice Santosh Hegde and Justice Sam Variava was transferred today to another vacation bench, on the ground that there was a difference of opinion among the judges. In a sudden move after more than two hours of hearing mainly on the issue of controversy related to the Government of Madhya Pradesh's jugglery of figures to underestimate the number of 95mts-affected families in the state on one hand and the false claim of rehabilitation of thousands on the other, the two judges not agreeing as to 'whether or not the work at Sardar Sarovar dam should be stayed' took the above decision without passing any order.

During the court proceeding today which involved much more confrontation on the ongoing gigantic dam, Advocate Prashant Bhushan for NBA strongly pleaded that the Government of MP has played with the figures, reducing the number of affected villages at the proposed height from 60 to 30! They are in reality 7000+ PAFs as per their own statistics in the official reports of various meetings between 2000 and 2002. This he could establish was done under the fictitious differentiation between the permanently and temporarily affected families while both the categories fall in the purview of the definition of oustees.

Also referring to various documents, he argued that while the governments are showing no families to be rehabilitated in the underestimated 30 villages, including those in the Satpuda's such as Anjanwara,Jalsindhi,Kakrana as also in the thickly populated villages in the plains,Nisarpur,Chikaldha,Kothatda and others. The field reality is that uncultivable lands offered to a few in Gujarat was not accepted and rejected in writing by the farmers living on the prime agriculture and horticulture and ex-parte allotment itself is certainly in violation of the Tribunal Award, endorsed by the Supreme Court judgement of 2000.

Questioning Mukul Rohatgi who pleaded for all the governments in alliance or how could the action of not rehabilitating anyone(in reality many many) with land/house to be affected this monsoon be justified, the judges went into the issue in depth and the governments seemed to be on the defensive but actually couldn't defend themseleves! Whatever may the officials /and the politicians got out of this, the court didn't rule out the possibility.

Whatever the court could or couldn't do the stark reality is crystal clear. Thousands of villagers who need not prove their continued and age old existence in the valley and their right to life and livelihood will be compelled to face the floods and also to fight! While the matter remains pending in the apex court, neither the monsoon nor the fiery struggle this time can wait! It is on the fifteenth day of fast by Chitaroopa Palit and other representative activists in Bhopal is on that rehabilitation of even a few hundred adivasis has proved to be beyond the State's concern and capacity with no response from the 'Pro-Dalit' CM of Madhya Pradesh.

Life is above law and the present state of democracy in shambles that plays not only with figures but living beings, needs to be exposed! Thousands and thousand of common people in the Valley, across the borders of Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh have to take up the responsibility and continue to challenge even after 17 full years of struggle, as also walk towards revival and regeneration from the same not just the loss to and expropriation in the Valley-the nature, culture but to the country.

Clifton D'Rozario Medha Patkar Ashutosh Sen