Save The Narmada, Save Humanity!
Links To Press Clippings
Other Resources On The Web
Read the latest NBA Press Releases
Contact Information

Return To The Front Page

NBA/NAPM Press Release                                                 March 15 2000

"Water for life, not for death!"
Rally in the Narmada valley on the International Day against Large Dams

People in the Sardar Sarovar affected regions of Narmada valley along with representatives of several people's organizations from all over the country participated in a rally, held on the eve of the "International Day Against Large Dams, and for rivers, life and people" in Badwani, Madhya Pradesh, India. Hundreds of men and women, peasants, labourers and fish workers living on the banks of Narmada gathered to express their resolve to fight against the destruction of large dams and work towards equitable distribution of water and energy through decentralized production and management of natural resources. The colourful rally and a public meeting full of slogans, songs and resolve was organized by Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) and National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM), welcomed and supported by the elected representatives, all the organizations and social communities in Badwani town -- the Sardar Sarovar affected district headquarters.

Three years ago, on 14th march 1997, during the first international meet of dam affected people, this day was declared as the international day against big dams and for right to life. Along with the Narmada valley, this day was celebrated in over 19 different countries including Thailand, Japan, Korea, South Africa, Pakistan, North America, Germany among others.

"Paani jeevan ke liye, mrutyu ke liye nahi" - "Water for life not for death!" was the slogan of the people for this day. Representatives of movements from 12 states associated with NAPM wrote on a cloth scroll, the same message in over 12 languages, expressing their opposition to large dams. Veteran Sarvodayi leader Shri. Siddharaj Daddha, former Member of Parliament, Shri. Surendra Mohan, Thomas Kocherry of National Fish Worker's Forum, farmer leaders Vijay Javandia and Sunil bhai and Sanjay M.G. of Samjawadi Jan Parishad were present on this occasion along with many others from more than 70 organizations working in different parts of the country. Representatives of people fighting against Tehri, Koyna, Gosi Khurd, Ramanjery, Koel Karo, Suvernarekha and Mahi-Kadana dams, from across India were present along with others affected by Bargi, Maheshwar and Veda dams in the Narmada valley. A statement against the large destructive dams in the Narmada valley was issued on this occasion. The statement signed by organizations and voted by voice in the meeting emphasized the need to evolve sustainable and equitable ways of harnessing water and energy by people. Devrambhai Kanera a small farmer of Kadmal, comparing the meeting reminded the audience of a long history of our struggle, full of perseverance and in depth understanding of complex issues that helped its spread to multiple fronts village to the World Bank. Urmila Patidar a staunch woman organizer for Maheshwar brought to the forum a clear perspective against privatization of water resources benefiting a few at the cost of a majority. Peoples right to natural resources land, water, forest and the right to plan development, was asserted and role of people’s politics highlighted. Referring to the critical stage of struggle in the Sardar Sarovar region during last monsoon when people stood in rising water for 28 hours, Medha Patkar of Narmada Bachao Andolan reminded every one that the struggle in the Narmada valley is not just against Sardar Sarovar, or even all other large dams in the country. "It is a struggle against the 'destructive' paradigm of development and the anti-people, non-democratic planning that exploits people and nature. We do not want Bill Clinton, or officials sitting in Delhi decide what is 'development' for the tribals and peasants living in the villages. We assert power to people. It is towards this end that the struggle to save the Narmada has to be fought, with a spirit of, and the preparedness for ultimate sacrifice", she reiterated.

Revered social worker, Baba Amte, who has been living in a submergence village on the banks of Narmada, sent a message saying, "March towards light. Refuse to tolerate untruth. Primacy of conscience will ultimately goad the innocent people to resist even the filling of water in dams. They will decide not for themselves but for their children’s children such an ultimate action. If people decide no power will ever succeed in filling the Dams. Justice will prevail."

Jagannath Patidar and Ashish Mandloi
Narmada Bachao Andolan

Sanjay MG
National Alliance of People's Movements