| NBA Press Release
|| 10 May 2004
ALLOT LAND BEFORE ONSET ON MONSOON: THIRD DAY OF NARMADA LAND-RIGHT
62, Mahatma Gandhi Road,
Madhya Pradesh - 451551
Despite heavy downpour for two consecutive nights and the disturbance created by vested political interests, over 200 tribal families, from the villages on the banks of Narmada, affected by the 110 meters of the Sardar Sarovar dam, continued on third day (May 10) the Bhoomi Hakk Satyagraha (Land right Satyagraha) near Alivihir-Somaval in Nandurbar (Maharashtra) district.
This is in response to the repeated failure on the part of government to provide them with land-based resettlement, despite repeated assurances, committees and written declarations. And as the monsoon approaches with the danger of yet another submergence looming large, the Narmada tribals will be forced to occupy denuded forest-land in near the Satyagraha place. On the other hand, the Satyagrahis have started preparing for the New Reconstruction (Nav-nirman).
The Maharashtra police and administration paraded the some tribals from adjoining areas tp oppose the Narmada tribals. These tribals were led by the local BJP office-bearers were encouraged by the police and administration to depict the Satyagraha as tribal versus tribal feud. The NBA has made it clear that the Narmada tribals do not wish to fight with their tribal brethren and together they should fight with the government for the land rights. Though these other tribals have no right in the land, which was a part of 1500 hectares of forest land, earmarked for Narmada oustees. Yet, the Narmada oustees would be occupying the land leaving off the cultivated area of other Adivasis. The state government, if it wishes, should other suitable and large chunk of land, for a community based resettlement of all affected villagers according to the provisions of the Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal (NWDT), immediately, before the onset of monsoon and the sowing season. Failing that, th e Narmada Satyagrahi families will have no other option left but to occupy the degraded forest land near Somaval
The NBA discussed with the officials and police. The District Collector and the District Poice Superintendent came and discussed the matter with the Satyagrahis. NBA made it clear that, "Cabinet has taken the decision to give land for land and identifying that with the participation of NBA. The officials have to just implement the decision by the Ministry. They should not make it a law and order issue and nor should they instigate other tribals", said Medha Patkar.Suniti S.R.