| NBA Press Release
|| 24 June 2002
Inability to Rehabilitate the People Exposed Again:
NARMADA BACHAO ANDOLAN
B-13, Shivam Flats
62, Mahatma Gandhi Road,
Madhya Pradesh - 451551
In one of the most shocking revelation by the Chairman of the Grievance Redressal Authority Jst.G.G.Sohoni, he expressed his inability to address the grievances of the people affected by the already built dam stating lack of infrastructure and secretarial assistance. Grievance Redressal Authority is the only forum the affected population of Sardar Sarovar Project can put their cases of no rehabilitation and in many cases poor quality of rehabilitation, with the governments and the Courts repeatedly asking the oustees to find resolution to their problems with G.R.A.
Over 800 representatives of adivasis and peasants affected by SSP by the already built dam - whose houses and lands will be submerged this monsoon - met him in his office at Indore and had hours long interaction. When people raised the issue of poor quality of land which is offered by the government (though is not sufficient for everybody affected by the dam this year) his suggestion was that each of those families should cultivate the land for an year and should prove that those are of poor quality. If the oustees are right, he suggested, he will allot yet another land!
It was because of the false reports filed by Jst.Sohoni and the Narmada Control Authority that the dam height is being raised to 95 + 3 metres. After raising the height of the dam, flouting all legal and human norms, like blind man searching for a black cat in a dark room, the Grievance Redressal Authority is looking for land which the governments have repeatedly said, is not available.
People also tried to meet the Narmada Control Authority officials asking where should they go once the water flood their houses and lands. But instead of coming and talking to the people - scared that the officials will be further exposed of their false and corrupt reports - they locked themselves inside the office. It was after hours of persuasion that they came out. All they had to say was that the matter is sub-judiced.
The meeting with Jst.Sohoni was disappointing with he refusing to use his authority to ensure proper rehabilitation of the oustees by saying lame excuses.
One may remember that on 17th May the decision to raise the height of Sardar Sarovar dam, by further 5 metres, was taken suddenly by the Narmada Control Authority. This in spite of the fact that Maharashtra government by accepting the demands of the andolan, set up a joint team to investigate the number of families affected at 95 mts which bought out the number at more than 1000,subsequent to which government opposed the decision to raise the height of the dam to 95 mts. But due to the nexus between Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat governments all rehabilitation norms were thrown to the wind, which today is going in to usher in this fearful submergence. Water is now set to enter populous areas of Nimad, villages like Chikaldha, Nisarpur where today hundreds of families, in the absence of proper rehabilitation sites and alternative agricultural land, have shown their determination to fight for their right to life by deciding to stay in their original villages.
People continue to be in Indore and tomorrow they will compel the Grievance Redressal Authority again to take cognizance of the magnitude of human tragedy to occur in the Narmada Valley and take appropriate actions to avert it.Clifton D'Rozario