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Narmada Bachao Andolan Press Release
26 June 1999

Arundhati Roy Donates Booker Prize Amount to the Narmada Bachao Andolan

Noted author Arundhati Roy, winner of the prestigious Booker Prize for her work "The God of Small Things" donated the entire amount of the Booker Prize to the Narmada Bachao Andolan (Struggle to Save the NArmada) in April 1999. The Prize is worth around 1.5 million rupees.

In late April, Roy visited the Narmada Valley and saw first hand the struggle of the people in the Valley and the issues raised by them. Subsequently, she published her essay on the Narmada Valley struggle titled "The Greater Common Good", which was published in the leading Indian magazines "Outlook" and "Frontline" in May 1999 as cover stories.

Roy has now initiated and is engaged in a campaign called "Free the Narmada Campaign" in which she has appealed to the people at large to come to the Valley and see for themselves the struggle of the people. She will also be touring various major centres in India for the same.

This is a significant contribution to the movement. The Andolan will be using the money not only for the regular activities of the Andolan, but also a part for the various "re-construction" activities that it has initiated in the Valley like health, water management, education, and so on.

The NBA, which is one of the leading social and environmental struggles in India, has been fighting against the gigantic Sardar Sarovar Dam on the Narmada river since last 14 years. Since last few years the struggle has spread to other dams in the Valley, including BArgi and Maheshwar. The struggle has entered a critical stage this year with several thousand villagers deciding not to move out but face the submergence that will come in this monsoon (June - July) with the additional construction of the Sardar Sarovar dam.

Shripad Dharmadhikary