NBA Press Release
  05 March 2008
Save The Narmada, Save Humanity!

JABALPUR HIGH COURT STAYS PROCEDURES INITIATED BY NVDA: ISSUES NOTICES TO GOVT. OF MADHYA PRADESH, NVDA, NCA AND OTHERS ON THE FAKE REGISTRY CASES

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

VIOLATION OF THE NWDTA AND SUPREME COURT ORDERS AS A RESULT OF THE SPECIAL REHABILITATION PACKAGE (SRP) BROUGHT TO COURT'S NOTICE

SHOCKING AND UNPRECEDENTED CORRUPTION RESULTING IN SWINDLING OF CRORES OF RUPEES FROM PUBLIC EXCHEQUER

The Public Interest Litigation filed by NBA, Writ Petition No: 14765/2007 filed on 16th October 2007 in Jabalpur High Court, was heard on 3rd March 2008. The Case is regarding the huge and unprecedented Corruption in all aspects of Rehabilitation process of Sardar Sarovar Dam affected families in Madhya Pradesh.

The nexus between the Narmada Valley Development Authority (NVDA) officials and contractors in the establishment of the rehabilitation sites has resulted in the preparation of shoddy and uninhabitable R&R sites, thousands of eligible PAFs are left undeclared where as a few fraudulent persons got declared, the nexus between officials, middlemen and advocates leading to huge corruption and swindling of Public money meant for rehabilitation, were pertinent issues raised by NBA.

The bench consisting of Chief Justice A K Patnaik and Justice Prakash Shrivastava heard the plea by Medha Patkar and gave the order, issuing notices to the respondents which include Chief Secretary, State of Madhya Pradesh, Chairman, Narmada Valley Development Authority (NVDA), Chairman, Narmada Control Authority (NCA) (who is also Secretary to the Ministry of Water Resources), Secretary, Revenue Department, GoMP, Director General of Police, M.P., Inspector General, Stamps and Registration, M.P., District collectors of 5 districts such as Badwani, Dhar, Jhabua, Khargone and Dewas, to file their replies within a month.

The case was filed through Senior Adv. N S Kale, who is the same person who pleaded the case of the illegal arrest of the 'Taloon Satyagrahis', where on 25th September 2007, the Jabalpur High court ordered the Govt. of M.P. to pay compensation of Rs.10,000/each to all the 91 activists arrested. Till date the government has not obeyed that order. In the current case, Medha Patkar herself stood for pleading urgency.

The Madhya Pradesh government policy has twisted and subverted the land and house based rehabilitation directives of the Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal Award (NWDTA) and made room for huge corruption. While there is no formal approval from Narmada Control Authority for the so called SRP, the NVDA proceeded with absolute neglect and contempt for legal and constitutional rights of the PAFs.

The SRP-induced fake registries, where PAFs who were given cash for buying lands actually ended up giving commission to officials and dalals (middlemen), signing fake registries, facilitated a process where crores of rupees were amassed by officials and agents as commission, depriving PAFs of basic resource security and a better living condition after resettlement. The alarming fact is that all this money is from public exchequer and hence this illegal enrichment of government officials is not just a matter of routine corruption, but crime against the People and State, both.

While FIRs were filed against PAFs and about 35 of them were arrested and later bailed out, except one, no action was taken against officials and their stooges, though notices were issued to 30 NVDA officials early on, but no action taken till date.

Out of a total of 2600 land registries claimed by NVDA as part of SRP, 758 are already officially accepted by the government as fake registries, after preliminary enquiry by special departmental officers. NBA has demanded a CBI enquiry into the same.

However both NCA and NVDA have not yet understood the gravity of the situation as hundreds of fake registries are yet to see light. Out of the 2600 plus claims of registries by NVDA only a few hundred are factually correct and legally valid ones. This means that SRP was an absolute failure with only a few hundred PAFs actually purchasing land.

There are more stories of corruption in House Plot distribution as well as in the procedure of declaring PAFs. Thousands of genuine PAFs are still not declared while some illegal and fraud persons were declared and got PAF benefits.

This huge and unprecedented corruption is deplorable and is utter violation of the Article 21 of the Constitution as also the NWDTA and Supreme Court orders. We pledge to continue to expose and tackle any form of corruption or misappropriation of public funds earmarked for rehabilitation of the PAFs.

The policy related matters are going to be pleaded and heard in the Supreme Court on 10th March 2008, where 6 cases are pending including the one filed by 10 eminent persons.

Meanwhile, the court has stayed the prosecution of the PAFs who were arrested in the fake registry cases on the basis of an interim application filed by NBA which pointed out that PAFs are being harassed and booked while the officials and their agents are going Scot free. We demand that a just and objective analysis of the situation need to be done urgently and all those who are responsible for harassing and playing with the life and future of the SSP affected families should be made accountable for this criminal onslaught on the farmers, adivasis, labourers, fish workers and others living in the Narmada valley and now being displaced by the Sardar Sarovar Dam.

Ashish Mandloi,
Clifton Rozario,
Kamla Yadav