NBA Press Release
  04 March 2003
Save The Narmada, Save Humanity!

Anti-adivasi approach of the administration

62, Mahatma Gandhi Road,
Badwani,
Madhya Pradesh - 451551
Tel: 07290-22464
Email: badwani@narmada.org

Yesterday the SDM of Alirajpur tehsil, Jhabua Dt. Shri Navin Sona was gheraoed by the project affected people, sitting on an indefinite dharna, from Sardar Sarovar Project affected village. The gherao, which went on for almost 8 hours, saw the people wanting a written response from the administration to the various demands they had raised. By singing songs of struggle and conducting meetings the people managed to disrupt the entire days work of the divisional officer situated in the first floor of the local tehsil office. It is important to note that adivasis from the SSP affected villages sitting on dharna for the past 12 days have been raising the issue of proper rehabilitation an in this regard they had come with concrete proposals for discussion with the government.

Finally around 8 PM, the administration handed over a written reply which by rejecting all the demands the people had raised also said that they would not be rehabilitated in the land selected by them. Not only this by making a mockery of the SC judgement, the reply stated that adult sons would not be entitled for land in Madhya Pradesh. Also with respect to errors in land acquisition proceedings the district administration said that it's not possible to rectify them at this stage. It is significant that many of the oustees names are not recorded in the project affected list due to errors in the whole process. The oustees have been told to take each and every problem of theirs to the GRA for redressal.

The irony is that this is all inspite of the verbal promises given by the district collector Neeraj Mandloi at the dharna site on 26th February. At that time the collector had said that there had been mistakes during the land acquisition proceedings and it is the responsibility of the district administration to rectify them. Within 5 day the administration has turned away from its stated position. The oustees are convinced that they should not rely on verbal promises.

During the meeting held after the receipt of the administration's response the oustees totally rejected it and termed it as anti-adivasi and illegal and decided that the dharna will continue. Also it was decided that all the officials and administrative machinery playing with the rights of the livelihood of the adivasis will be challenged in the court also.

Kailash Awasya
Shashank Kela
Vaniya Sukiya