| NBA Press Release
|| 23 March 2006
NBA DHARNA CONTINUES IN DELHI ; OFFICIALS SAY THEY ARE HELPLESS!
62, Mahatma Gandhi Road,
Madhya Pradesh - 451551
NBA DHARNA CONTINUES ON THE SEVENTH DAY IN FRONT OF WATER RESOURCES MINISTRY
MINISTER SAYS HE STICKS BY HIS STATEMENTS; HIS SECRETARY SAYS HE IS HELPLESS!
For the 7th consecutive day and night, the families affected by the Sardar Sarovar Project have been sitting on indefinite dharna (sit-in) outside the Ministry of Water Resources in New Delhi. Over 300 people are now sitting in front of the Ministry, all day and all night, to demand that the dam construction be halted immediately until full rehabilitation is completed.
People from organizations and movements in Delhi and from around the world are here at the dharna to provide support to the andolankaris who are sitting in front of the Ministry. Several eminent persons such as Jst Rajinder Sachar, noted journalist Kuldip Nayyar, Advocate Sanjay Parikh, former Scheduled Tribes Commissioner Shri B.D. Sharma, socialist leader and ex-MP Shri Surendra Mohanji, noted novelist Shri Kamleshwar, ex-MP and President of the All India Democratic Women's Association Mrs Suhasini Ali, noted Hindi journalist Jitendra Kumar, veteran Gandhian Shri Subbarao, and noted Members of Parliament (MPs) Shri Abani Roy, Shri Manoj Bhattacharjee, Shri Baburao, Shri Vinod Kumar and others have stopped by the dharna to pledge their support. Mrs Brinda Karat and Mrs Suhassini Ali from the CPI(M) and members of the All India Democratic Women's Association also stopped by to show their support.
Today, the people of the Valley commemorated Shaheed Diwas, Martyr's Day, the 75th death anniversary of revolutionaries Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru. These young freedom fighters were hanged by the British regime for their radical anti-imperialist. The people of the Valley were joined by a street theatre group called Nishant who put up street plays about the trio's times and tribulations.
Shri Baburao, an MP from Andhra Pradesh and a member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) raised a question about the Sardar Sarovar Project during the Zero Hour of Parliament 2 days ago. An excerpt from his strong statement is below:
"In view of the enormity of the human misery involved, it is time that the Hon'ble Prime Minister himself to lead a Parliamentary Delegation to the project site to assess the situation and halt construction pending the visit and the appropriate follow up. Other points apart, first and fore most is that the grievances and genuine apprehensions of thousands of families have to be attended and resolved. I urge the Hon'ble Prime Minister to respond generously to mitigate this human misery."
Another question was also raised in the Parliament demanding answers from the government on the issue of rehabilitation. We demand that the government provide quick and satisfactory answers to these pertinent questions BEFORE raising the height any further.
Yesterday, a delegation met with the Water Resources Minister. Prof. Soz stated that he stands by his statements that rehabilitation has not been done and that the clearance was premature. He said that he has sent official communication to Gujarat is this regard, but is yet to receive a response. However, his Secretary Shri Harinarayan who gave the clearance as the Chairman of the Narmada Control Authority stated that he was helpless. He said that even though the NCA opposes the cash compensation being distributed in Madhya Pradesh, it has been accepted by the Grievance Redressal Authority and by the Rehabilitation Sub-Group of the NCA. It must be noted that this is the same GRA who has always interpreted the Narmada Award to benefit the M.P. government, including his negative position on the issue of both major sons and temporary displacement, both of which were struck down by the Supreme Court in its verdict last year.
On March 20th, the adivasi (tribal) families met the Chairman of the National Commission on Scheduled Tribes, who had visited the Valley in April last year. At that time, the Chairman had held large meetings in the submergence areas of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra and in the resettlement sites of Gujarat. Everywhere the message that rang loud and clear was that rehabilitation had not been done and was ripe with violations. The Chairman informed us that his report of last year^Òs visit will be presented to the President of India in April. He was surprised that the NCA had given clearance to raise the dam height when it was a clear violation of the Supreme Court verdicts. We urge the Chairman to issue a statement stating the non-compliance and lack of rehabilitation that he saw in the Valley.
Additionally, in the evening on 21st of March, a meeting was held with Members of Parliament who are concerned and sensitive to the issue. The MPs pledged their support to the movement and promised to help in all possible ways,
At present, the dharna continues in front of the Ministry. The men and women of the Valley are determined to fight for their rights till the end.
Ashish Mandloi, Sitaram Patidar, Pinjaribai, Mohan Patidar, Madansingh
Rukhdusingh, Dipti Bhatnagar, Chetan Salve, Clifton Rozario, Medha Patkar