NBA Press Release
  29 May 2004
Save The Narmada, Save Humanity!

23rd day of Land Rights Satyagraha: No Land Yet for Resettling even 200 Narmada Families in Maharashtra; New List Ready but not Shown

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Hundreds of tribal oustees from the Narmada valley continued their Dharna (sit-in) in front of the block headquarters at Akklakuwa on May 29 (Saturday), the 23rd day of their Land Right Satyagraha, as the Maharashtra government could not show and allot the cultivable lands for resettlement even after repeated assurances from highest authorities, as there has been little progress in the land-identification or land-allotment. However, the discussions with Deputy Collector on Saturday revealed that the government has a new list of the oustees, still lying with the District Collector of Nandurbar and was not shown to the Narmada Bachao Andolan.

While the Maharashtra government has assured full social justice for the tribals at the time of recent annual budget, the new central coalition, in its Common Minimum Programme (CMP) has given an undertaking of the resettlement of the tribals affected by the developmental projects.

" Both these commitments must be honoured by both the governments, as our non-violent Satyagraha continues till the people are resettled in a just and legal manner" said Medha Patkar while addressing the people in front of the Tehsil (block) office on Saturday (May 29). The tribal families and activists have made it clear that all those below the present 110 meters of the height of the Sardar Sarovar dam, should be resettled with the land according to the provisions of Narmada Water Dispute Tribunal(NWDT) before this year’s monsoon. Thousands of families will face water and displacement without resettlement.

Nearly 1500-2000 tribal families from 33 villages in Maharashtra will be facing submergence without resettlement due to 110 m. height of the dam. About 10,000 families from all three states – Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra – will be affected due to 110 m. height, out of total 45,000 families that would be affected as the dam would be completed at height of 139.3 m.

As the Land Right Satyagraha started on May 7, near Somaval (Dist. Nandurbar, Maharashtra), there were discussions and assurances on May 18, at Satyagraha place by the senior state officials including K.S. Vatsa, Secretary Rehabilitation, Kishor Gajjbhiye, the Divisional Commissioner, the Collector Nandurbar and others. The officials directed the district administration urgent steps towards correction and completion of the village-wise lists of the oustees, land identification with fullest possible participation of the Narmada Bachao Andolan. It was decided that the same team of officials would hold the review meeting on May 27 at the Satyagraha site. However, none of these latest assurances were realized. As the tribals visited some of the private lands earmarked for purchase by the government for the purpose of resettlement, it was found that either the lands- at village Kalambsare- were uncultivable, without any facility for irrigation or the private owners were not ready to sell these lands to the government. And the officials were lethargic about allotting the land at Vadchchil, Javda villages.

The Maharashtra government and the highest officials must complete the resettlement of the families affected by 110 m. before this monsoon, on a war footing. Hundreds of activists, prominent citizens have demanded the Maharashtra government to fulfill its commitment to the farmers and tribals. The people in the Narmada valley will be intensifying their struggle for their rights and livelihood.

Noorji Padvi
Sanjay Sangvai