NBA Press Note

March 30, 2001

Save The Narmada, Save Humanity!

62, M.G.Marg,
Badwani, Madhya Pradesh
Tel: 07290-22464

Narmada Sangharsh Parikrama in Nimad villages from April 4;
People to continue struggle for right to life; Expose falsity of SC verdict

With an impending submergence due to the controversial Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) in the coming monsoon only a few months ahead, the people in the Narmada valley are embarking on the Narmada Sangharsha Parikrama in the fertile plains of the Nimad in Madhya Pradesh from April 4 to 10. The people will be challenging the attempts by the government to displace them by deceit and force while exposing the serious flaw and absurdity in the recent verdict of the Supreme Court, which had allowed the construction on the dam beyond 88 meters. Many senior social and political activists and organizations from many parts of India are participating in Parikrama along with the villagers in the Narmada valley.

The Parikrama (circumambulating Narmada) is aimed to proclaim the resolve by the people to continue fighting for their right to life enshrined in the Constitution. The Parikrama would travel villages affected by the Sardar Sarovar Project in the fertile plains of Nimad, on both the banks of Narmada. The people would be highlighting the issues of the displacement and destruction in the other completed and proposed dams in Narmada valley, like Bargi, Tawa, Maheshwar, Man and call unto the people of the nation to join the intense struggle in the valley. Parikrama would culminate in Indore with a public meeting, on April 10 to be attended by representatives of various people's organisations along with eminent persons including Arundhati Roy, Swami Agnivesh, Prabhas Joshi, Mohini Giri, Dr.B.D.Sharma, Surendra Mohan, Dr.Sunilan, Jst.Rajendra Sachar and others with Baba Amteji.

Verdict Stands Exposed

After reaching the height of 90 meters on the basis of the false claims of resettlement and the Supreme Court's endorsement, over 3500 families from over 75-80 villages affected by the SSP are facing the danger of submergence this monsoon. The water would reach almost to the Nimad plains in Madhya Pradesh, submerging most of the tribal villages in Maharashtra and Gujarat and M.P.. Contrary to all provisions of the Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal (NWDT) and the regulations regarding resettlement, environmental clearance, the Supreme Court had ordered the continuation of the work on the dam on October 18, 2000. The people in the valley have rejected the Supreme Court verdict as fraught with ignorance of the ground reality and disregard for the rights of the peasants and tribals. The verdict was criticized from number of legal experts, eminent journalists, social and political leaders. The people's organizations from all over India and even outside of India have condemned the majority judgement as the most illogical, anti-people and against the word and spirit of the Constitution of India and all established legal principles.

In reality, the people affected at 80 mts are yet to be rehabilitated. The most recent report of the Grievance Redressal Authority, Madhya Pradesh too has made it categorically clear that not even one rehabilitation site is established in Madhya Pradesh, the state with largest submergence, as per the stipulations of the Tribunal Award. Hundreds of tribal oustees in Maharashtra resettlement site have been without land, house-plots and basic amenities for last four to seven years. The Director of Rehabilitation of Narmada Control Authority (NCA) had given in writing that there had been no land for the resettling the people upto 90 meters and many people upto the height of 85 meters remained to be resettled. Despite this ground reality, the NCA in its recent report claimed that all the oustees upto 90 meters of height have been resettled. The Madhya Pradesh government too is trying to oust the people with cash compensation, violating the provisions of Tribunal.

The Parikrama, will be partly on foot and by vehicles through the villages. Many cultural floats, folk songs, traditional instruments, puppet shows etc will give it a festive touch. It will start from village Balgaon on the 4th t April. Accompanied by hundreds of people, it will pass through the main towns and villages of Nimad and will reach Indore on the 10th, to culminate it in a public gathering. Hundreds of representatives from the tribal areas of Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, rehabilitation sites, colony, canal, sanctuary affected and Nimad, and supporters from all over will be in the Parikrama. People from all affected villages of SSP, and from other dams on Narmada also would be participating along with the representatives from people's movements from all over for the public gathering at Indore.

Rally from Visarjan Ashram, Navlakha at 10.00 am and Public meeting at Chunilal Parisar, Near Indira Bhavan, M.G.Road, Indore.

Narmada Bachao Andolan.