| NBA Press Release
|| 20 March 2004
NBA Welcomes EC Ban on Narmada Pujan Yatra
62, Mahatma Gandhi Road,
Madhya Pradesh - 451551
Demand Immediate Stoppage of SS Dam Construction till Rehabilitation is Completed at 110.64m
The Narmada Bachao Andolan welcomes the Election Commission's ban on the Narmada Pujan Yatra. The yatra was meant to create electoral mileage for the Narendra Modi government who were scheming to take full advantage of the clearance, which they gained through illegal and undemocratic means, to raise the height of the Sardar Sarovar Dam.
While the ban created a temporary set back for the campaign strategies of the Modi government, revoking the permission given to the Narmada Control Authority (NCA) to give clearance for raising the SS dam height to 110.64 m would have been a more just and democratic verdict by the Election Commission, since it was given after the elections have been declared. Not only was the EC misinformed about the actual reality of incomplete rehabilitation under 110.64 m which stands in gross violation of the Supreme Court Order (October 2000) but they were also given assurance by the NCA that no political party would misuse this clearance for electoral gains.
Since the Modi government was audaciously violating the Model Code of Conduct, nothing less than revoking the clearance was necessary to ensure just, democratic and balanced electoral campaigns. This would have not only protected the human and legal rights of the affected populations but also brought some sanity to electoral politics.
While the Election Commission did terminate the yatra on legal terms, Narmada Control Authority, the independent monitoring body for the Sardar Sarovar Project should be put to task for deceiving the Election Commission and the illegal construction at the dam site should be terminated with immediately.
Unless the dam is stayed with immediate effect, the human and legal rights of thousands of adivasis, who are not yet resettled under 110.64 m in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra and not fully rehabilitated in Gujarat even after living in the Rehabilitation villages for 10-14 years, stands violated.
How can we have free, fair and democratic elections if citizen's rights are viciously violated by the very powers that are now seeking the citizens' votes to gain legitimacy for continuing their exploitative and repressive ways? The involvement of the corporate groups in this undemocratic and unjust process is evident from the huge investments they make in providing advertisements for the rulers who protect their interests!