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

Madhya Pradesh government ready to trample Sardar Sarovar affected people

NARMADA BACHAO ANDOLAN
B-13, Shivam Flats
Ellora Park,
Baroda-390007
Tel: 0265-282232
Email: baroda@narmada.org

62, Mahatma Gandhi Road,
Badwani,
Madhya Pradesh - 451551
Tel: 07290-22464
Email: badwani@narmada.org

  • Madhya Pradesh government ready to trample Sardar Sarovar affected people
  • Hundreds of hectares of pristine forests being chopped, trees burnt, all with the support of police brutality
  • Will this government go through with the threat to flatten Nisarpur, Chikhalda, Ekelra and other thickly populated Madhya Pradesh villages using bulldozers if people do not vacate by 1st June 2002?
  • Will Maharashtra Government tell the truth tomorrow in the Supreme Court?

Turning a blind eye to the demand from years of rehabilitation of families with the land for land principle, the Madhya Pradesh government is readying itself to empty large Nimad villages, not just by flooding during the monsoons but by using police force, guns, lathi charges and bulldozers to forcibly evacuate people from their villages.

The government has already begun to cut and destroy the forests in the villages of Jalsindhi, Bada Amba among others in Jhabua and Village Kharya Bhadal even when there are hundreds of families in these villages who have not been rehabilitated to date. This is being done by silencing the protesting voices of the adivasis using brutal police lathi charges on them, as was done in Kharya Bhadal where family members of Mangliyabhai, Gokuru including some women were beaten up. Thereafter the officials went about clearing the forest of trees. Bava Mahariya and Luhariya Shankar of Jalsindhi and Gokuru from Kharya Bhadal, expressed the resolve of the adivasis in saying that "Before rehabilitating us instead of destroying the forest you should cut us!" What is equally atrocious is that the thousands of trees clear felled are being burnt there and then itself on the ground that transport costs are high and cannot be borne by the government.

It is obvious that with no cultivable land to be offered in rehabilitation to the thousands of affected families and when there aren't rehabilitation sites ready with amenities for a number of villages to be affected this year at 95m dam height the Madhya Pradesh government is avoiding its legal and moral responsibility to rehabilitate people who have chosen to resettle in their own state, Madhya Pradesh. Some of them, a few hundred in number, have been allotted land on paper in Gujarat which is uncultivable and also not yet purchased from the original land owners who are yet to be paid the full price for the same. The people in any case have refused to shift to Gujarat and have made their legal claim to resettle in Madhya Pradesh.

All that the Digvijay Singh government seems to be doing is not just illegal but also is engaging with inhuman violence, which is comparable only to the communal violence in Gujarat, unleashed by Narenda Modi.

It is in this context that the Government of Madhya Pradesh has to reply to the notices issued by the Supreme Court in the case filed by the Narmada Bachao Andolan challenging the raise in the height of the dam from 90 to 95 metres. Will the state government put before the court, the stark ground reality of the thickly populated communities going to be flooded (or bulldozed before flooded) without no trace of rehabilitation of the families of farmers, fish workers, artisans,traders,therein ?

The Government of Maharashtra , on the other hand, anticipating such a situation , had undertaken joint village wise and household level surveys with participation of NBA. The work done over months together has bought out the facts and figures showing 1350 project-affected families to be affected at 100 mts, not having received all resettlement entitlements due to them. The GoM has to produce the survey data and reiterate its position. No work on the dam should proceed without proper rehabilitation. The government had given this in writing to the Narmada Control Authority no doubt but the same was ignored and some of the bureaucrats were probably a party to the hastened ,illegal decision to construct it further. The test of GoMs stand to protect the adivasis from the inhuman flood and flushing out is whether or not it submits the necessary data in the Supreme Court that would show the unbelievable mistakes, identified and violations of the rehabilitation policy which have occurred over the past 7 years.

In any case, if Modi's baby, the gigantic Sardar Sarovar, is to be reared by the Congress governments, then they are only to bear the loss and earn all the discredit for taking a toll of their own people to save Modi's government. The test is tomorrow, May 30th , in the apex court for justice. Lets wait and watch the steps ,while thousands of families are indeed preparing to face the rising waters this monsoon.

Dhan Singh
Pratibha Shinde
Medha Patkar