NBA Press Release
  18 March 2006
Save The Narmada, Save Humanity!

AFFECTED FAMILIES ARE SITTING ON INDEFINTIE DHARNA OUTSIDE THE WATER RESOURCES MINISTRY IN DELHI!

62, Mahatma Gandhi Road,
Badwani,
Madhya Pradesh - 451551
Tel: 07290-222464
Email: badwani[at]narmada.org

AFFECTED FAMILIES ARE SITTING ON INDEFINTIE DHARNA OUTSIDE THE WATER RESOURCES MINISTRY IN DELHI!

THE POLITICS BEHIND SARDAR SAROVAR EXPOSED!

NO GUARANTEE OF ELECTRICITY OR IRRIGATION EVEN AS THOUSANDS OF ADIVASIS AND FARMERS OF OVER 200 VILLAGES ARE BEING SUBMERGED!

Since yesterday, March 17, over 120 representatives from the Valley are sitting on dharna in front of the Ministry of Water Resources on Rafi Marg. We met the Water Resources Minister yesterday and he has informed us that he indeed thinks the decision to clear the raising of the height of the Sardar Sarovar Dam is premature. We are going to continue to sit on indefinite dharna until this latest construction of the dam is stopped and the decision is reviewed.

When the decision to raise the height of the Sardar Sarovar Dam was taken, not only were the Gram Sabhas of the various submergence villages ignored, but also the Cabinet and the Vidhan Sabha were not even informed of the decision. This truth has now been uncovered in Maharashtra. Bureaucrats and officials, on the basis of their false reports and secretive procedures, without consulting the concerned ministers, have played foul politics to illegally submerge villages where thousands of people are yet to be resettled.

In January 2004, the Maharashtra government decided that any further decision to raise the height of the dam would be taken by the State Cabinet. When we spoke to Shri Patangrao Kadam, Rehabilitation Minister and other Ministers regarding the 8th March 2006 clearance by the NCA to raise the dam height to 121.92 metres, we were told that there was no clearance by the Cabinet and that this decision to raise the dam height would be opposed. The Minister also said that the clearance for construction would only be given after all affected families were rehabilitated. However, the Rehabilitation Secretary of Maharashtra stated that the clearance from the Cabinet had already been given! A special meeting has been called on the 20th of March in the Mantralaya in Mumbai. The truth of the matter will be known then.

Besides Maharashtra, even Madhya Pradesh, despite the criticism it faces for having illegally and inhumanly submerged Harsud affected by the upstream Narmada Sagar Project, is quite prepared to repeat hundreds of Harsuds by submerging the thickly populated villages in the Sardar Sarovar submergence area.

The BJP government of Madhya Pradesh has decided to go hand-in-hand with the Gujarat government's gross violation. In fact, two months ago, Shivraj Chauhan, Chief Minister of M.P., made a statement that M.P. would rehabilitate 14,000 families within 15 days! But the only thing M.P. did in those 15 days were to send people ex-parte (one-sided) notices of uncultivable land. The uncultivability of these lands is proved from M.P.'s own affidavit dated 11.4.2000 before the Supreme Court. In fact, some of the lands offered to families as alternative agricultural land, fall in the submergence area of the Maheshwar dam!

While in Maharashtra there remain more than 1000 families who are yet to be rehabilitated and another 2000 families who are yet to be officially declared but are eligible. The ongoing dam construction is going to not only submerge families in Maharashtra but also tens of thousands of families in M.P. The Central government should take a truthful stand asking the state governments to refrain from violating the Narmada Award and Supreme Court verdicts which require complete rehabilitation before submergence. The Central government should, at once, stop the ongoing construction and rehabilitate families.

Bawa Mahariya, Raiji Deva, Kamla Yadav, Madan Rukhdiya, Norji Padvi, Yogini Khanolkar, Ashish Mandloi, Pema Bapu, Dipti Bhatnagar, Bhana, Medha Patkar