NBA Press Release
  29 May 2002
Save The Narmada, Save Humanity!

Ninth Day of Indefinite Hunger Strike; Activists meet with Deputy Chief Minister and Chief Secretary of Madhya Pradesh

NARMADA BACHAO ANDOLAN
Jail Road, Mandleshwar
District Khargone, Madhya Pradesh
Tel: 07283-33162
Email: nobigdam@sancharnet.in

The indefinite hunger strike of the Narmada Bachao Andolan, launched with the aim of ensuring the rehabilitation of the Maan Project oustees and in the face of a complete lack of concern on the part of the state government, entered its ninth day in Bhopal today. Meanwhile yesterday, in the late evening, a team of representatives went to meet with the Deputy Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Shri Subhash Yadav. Today afternoon, a meeting with the Chief Secretary, Shri N. V. Singh, was also held. The activists were assured that the state government would soon act on the demands of the Andolan. The team of representatives from the Narmada Bachao Andolan consisted of Shri Alok Agarwal, Shri Noora, Sushri Gitanjali, Shri Ashish Mandloi, and Shri Juwariya, among others.

In yesterday's meeting, the Deputy Chief Minister, Shri Subhash Yadav, was informed of the situation prevailing currently in the submergence area of the Maan Project. The Maan Project affected have yet to be resettled in accordance with the resettlement policy of the state government, and because of this most of the affected families are still living in their villages within the submergence zone. Demanding that they be resettled on the basis of the land-for-land policy, the Maan Project oustees provided Shri Yadav with details of the amount of land required and the amount of land already available for resettlement. Shri Yadav assured the villagers that the information provided to him would be reviewed and land would be made available to the oustees on that basis He also accepted that the forcible removal of handpumps from the Maan submergence villages was a grave mistake. On the matter of not differentiating between temporary and permanent submergence in the Sardar Sarovar submergence area, Shri Yadav said that he would bring this up in the next meeting of the Narmada Valley Development Authority.

Today morning a team of activists met with the Chief Secretary Shri N. V. Singh. They were assured that the information that they were providing regarding availability of land would be reviewed. For adult sons, June 2002 would be taken as the base year, but this decision would have to be taken at the level of the state government. Shri Singh accepted that the destruction of handpumps in the Maan submergence villages was a mistake and assured the villagers that all handpumps would be reinstalled in the villages. With regard to not differentiating between permanent and temporary submergence in the Sardar Sarovar Project, he said that if the state government was questioned by the Supreme Court they would make their position clear on that matter.

The struggle of the Maan Project affected is continuing with full force and entered its 15th day today. Yesterday hundreds of people affected by the Sardar Sarovar Project also joined the struggle. On the ninth day of the indefinite hunger strike, Sushri Ramkuwar has lost 4 kg, Shri Mangat Verma and Shri Vinod Patwa have lost 5 kg each, and Sushri Chittaroopa Palit has lost 7 kg. Supporters of the struggle and representatives from other people's movements are continuing to visit the site of struggle. Among them were Shri Jean Dreze, an economist at the Delhi University, Shri Yogendra Yadav, a political analyst with the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi, and educationist Dr. Vinod Raina.

Alok Agarwal
Khuman Singh Patel