NBA Press Release
  06 June 2007
Save The Narmada, Save Humanity!

Indefinite Hunger Strike of Narmada Oustees Begins at Khandwa

2, Sai nagar, Mata Chowk,
Khandwa,
Madhya Pradesh
Tel/FAX: 0733-2228418, 09425394606, 09425928007
Email: nobigdams[at]sancharnet.in

Fight for Just Rehabilitation, Livelihoods and Land

Shocking Arbitrariness and Malafide in R&R and Acquisition

Today, the dharna of the oustees of the Indira Sagar dam and Omkareshwar dam entered its third day, with over 5000 people sitting in protest against the complete failure of the R&R process in the two dams, and to protect their right to productive livelihoods and the right to live with dignity. Five of the oustees and activists of the Narmada Bachao Andolan also began their indefinite fast and satyagraha today with a resolve not to leave their struggle till all the affected people get their due rights. This includes Krishnabai and Surajbai from the Indira Sagar areas, Ashok Chaturvedi from the Omkareshwar area, and Bhagwan Mukati and Chittaroopa Palit from the Narmada Bachao Andolan.

For the last two days of the dharna, the oustees of 20-30 villages inspected the survey records of the NVDA and found that thousands of houses in the submergence zone had been arbitrarily excluded from the process of land acquisition after the houses had been surveyed and valued before Section 4 Notification had been issued in these villages. Their subsequent exclusion was in clear violation of Section 24(7) of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 that requires that all properties existing prior to Section 4 Notification should be acquired, and also of the fundamental rights of the oustees. On the 25th of April 2006, the District Collector Khandwa ordered that around 3000 houses falling between FRL and MWL and also falling under FRL which had been excluded from the acquisition process should be acquired. However the same was never done. In 2007, fresh surveys were carried out. After the surveys, when land acquisition proceedings began, by letter No. 3108 dated 13th March 2007, the Collector Khandwa directed that all records of 45 villages should be frozen, and it must be ensured that the oustees who had been previously excluded should be excluded once again.

Similarly, properties of several thousand more families were excluded and land acquisition proceedings not continued after serving notice under Section 9 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894. This is both unconstitutional and illegal. Both of these above -mentioned exclusions minimize the expenses of the NHDC. However the oustee whose home is submerged without compensation and R&R would be on the streets without a roof over her head and with no resources to make a living.

The main demand of the dharna is that all farmers and landless families displaced by the two projects as well as their adult sons and daughters should be given land. Krishnabai of Village Bichola Mal affected by the Indira Sagar dam said " If our lives are required to be given away to attain the rights of the displaced people, we are ready to part with them happily. Ashok Chaturvedi from Village Gogalgaon from the Omkareshwar area said " We have suffered a mountain of injustice, we are not ready to take it anymore. Bhagwan Mukati from NBA said The entire Narmada valley stands unied in its demand for justice, and the government will soon have to answer each and every displaced person."

Over 5000 persons all affected and facing impending submergence and displacement continue to sit in at Khandwa with a firm resolve to carry on their peaceful struggle till their just demands are met.

Dharamraj Jain
Alok Agarwal