NBA Press Release
  09 June 2009
Save The Narmada, Save Humanity!

Justice Jha Commission visits Narmada Valley: PAFs expose rampant corruption

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Madhya Pradesh - 451551
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Justice (Retd.) Shravan Shankar Jha's two day visit on the 4th and 5th of June to the Sardar Sarovar affected areas in Badwani and Dhar districts brought out the massive scale of corruption which has seeped into each of the rehabilitation related work and infested the same. Justice Jha Commission appointed by the High Court of Madhya Pradesh by its order dated 21-08-2008 in the case of Narmada Bachao Andolan versus Government of Madhya Pradesh, Narmada Valley Development Authority, Narmada Control Authority and others has now taken up the work of in-depth inquiry in a full-fledged manner receiving complaints and now paying field visits.

The Commission visited 5 rehabilitation sites in Badwani and 2 in Kukshi tehsil of Dhar district, wherein the horrifying conditions of civic amenities startled everyone, including the officials accompanying the Commission. In each of the 'Vasahats', there was water shortage to such an extent that even the touring team couldn't get its bottles filled!

Most of the hand pumps were dysfunctional and water tanks were erected but not connected, showing wastage of funds. It was due to the fear of seepage and bad works that connections were tried but not started, many oustees reported. In Amlali, people proved that there was a well-looking tap set up on the ground with no water pipe below! At the Jamda vasahat for village Pichhodi, there were some landless families found staying and working in the rooms built for either a school or a dispensary which shook and shocked the Commission!

The only seemingly better site was of Nisarpur, where about 150 houses are built and 25 families shifted, while 25,000 families continue to stay in the original village, which is like a township, with dharamsala, schools, large wells, wedding halls, temples, mosques to a big market and everything in the original village is not even planned nor ready to be shifted while all while all the families have not even been allotted house plots! Many dalit women came to meet Justice Jha and narrated the fact of they being excluded due to no other reason but corruption which they can't afford to practice.

Fake registries unearthed: An open nexus of touts and officials:

Agents of whom? A number of poor persons, Shafibhai and Krishna of Chikalda, Laxman Chamar and Shankar Sharma of Khaparkheda, Bhagabhai and Ranvirbhai of Semalda in Kukshi and Manawar Tehsils raised this question and answered themselves by deposing before the Commission during an open public hearing held at a packed Panchayat Bhavan and again at the Official Rest House in Manawar. They described with vividness how they were approached by the agents or directed to them by the officials whose agents they were.

The late night parties and almost offices opened, and the residence of officials too were the spots of conspiracy. No work could be done without paying bribe and hence those who are eligible have been left out, while the ineligible families have been brought onto the record. Registrar's office, Patwari and revenue officials, police and bank officials are part of the nexus, but the Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation Officers of NVDA and the higher ups were specifically named for their leading role by small and marginalized farmers like Navalbhai or a widow like Shannobhabhi.

"No complete rehabilitation' is the result of no land, illegal payment of cash in lieu of land, (as a package) and the white ant of corruption eating away the state exchequer and hence resettlement itself ", people asserted.

Justice Jha Commission would also receive complaints and applications related to fake land registries which is betrayal of PAPs till June 16th and after further technical and crime-investigation, through the special investigation team of revenue, Police and PWD officials associated with it, submit its Report to the High Court of Madhya Pradesh by September 2009.

Apart from no finalization of back water levels, no land available for allotment, to incomplete resettlement sites, it may be noted that there are not less than 40,000 families i.e 2 lakh people residing in the 'to be affected' villages in Madhya Pradesh and the already affected adivasi communities in the mountain ranges. Serious violation of law has result in no further permission being granted to the raising of the dam height with 17 mts high gates, beyond 122 mts (the present height) to its full height (i.e 138.68 mts)

Ashish Mandloi, Bhagirath Kailash Awasya