| NBA Press Release
|| 03 May 2006
SARDAR SAROVAR IS TO KILL! But who are the killers?: Let's Protest urgently against ongoing dam construction
62, Mahatma Gandhi Road,
Madhya Pradesh - 451551
With the Supreme Court of India postponing its judgement again by a week, that is to May 8th, the killer dam has received another push and people of the Narmada Valley a blow. It is unimaginable and unacceptable as callous and criminal that the work that is on at Sardar Sarovar would lead to irreversible submergence of thousands of families, anywhere up to 35 000, at the highest rainfall.
The Court has, in its possession right now, the Application by the 48 affected families as petitioners, the counter affidavits by the three state governments and the UPA government, the Union of India as well as the rejoinders to each of those by the 48 affected families belonging to 10 villages, again. On April 17th, when one week's time to the governments and another week was granted to the project affected, it was expected that the Court would give a judgement on the 1st May, that is the workers' day. However, with only one request from the government pleader, the Chief Justice of India, Y. K. Sabherwal, asked Shri Shanti Bhushan, advocate for the people, to submit a synopsis of the arguments (nothing else but a summary of what is already written in the rejoinders) by Thursday. As the only mid-action that would later lead to a brief hearing and the judgement on Monday, May 8th; it should be known that this delay of one week is to prove costly beyond limit, allowing construction on SSP blocks, passing the already reached height of 114mts, moving towards 116-122mts? The Adivasi communities, Manibeli, Chimalkedi, Danel, Mukri, Keli, Tuwani, Atti to Bhadel will now have all or more lands and houses submerged in Maharashtra, while Jalsindhi, Anjanwada, Pitada, Nadi Sirkhedi, Kakrana^Å and families returned from vasahats (R&R sites) in Gujurat to villages in Gujarat or Madhya Pradesh, will face a severe crisis of survival. The thick and large villages of Nimad too are in the queue to be flooded, if not hanged. We can't watch this helplessly. We have exposed the game of numbers showing the official increase in the total no of SSP-affected families by 10 000, but all those are, shockingly pushed into the strata of PAFs between 122 and 138 mts, who are not to be bothered of rehabilitation, now! This is flawed and deliberate. We have analysed, with the help of experts, data on the costs and benefits to show that only less than 10% of water at 110 mts are utilised, only 30% of villages declared as benifitted have actually received somewhat regular drinking water, only 25% of the irrigation potential created at the height of 110 mts has been utilised, and power generation is also much less with almost no benefit to Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh as yet, but all this because of inadequate attention and priority to canals, to distribute justice in Gujarat, and canal breaches too, none of which is taken seriously.
The dam, dam and dam^Å pushed at the cost of massive social and environmental impacts, proved unmanageable over 25 years, is thus on!
The Prime Minister has not refused to but avoided action. He is certainly aware of the incomplete rehabilitation and thousands of families, hundreds of communities in the area to be submerged in July. Yet with a shockingly illogical move, he has appointed an Oversight Group, with 3 former bureaucrats^Å chaired by the former CAG of India, Mr Shungulu, that is asked, as per the government Orders and statement before the Court on May 1st, by the additional Solicitor General of India not only to ascertain the number of families, land allotment process between May 19th and June 19th, but also to suggest ways, system and help rehabilitate all families affected at 122 mts (in anytime by June-July to September) by June 30th. It is clear that the Committee has not yet glanced at the big or small villages, cultural monuments or agricultural wealth of the valley.
May the dream of finalising the flawed or inadequate surveys, the number of families, locate thousands of hectares of land required, allocate the same, identify and investigate into legal violations and rehabilitate villages with house plots and amenities. Can they do it within 11 days?
All this is politics, played with innocent self reliant Adivasis and farmers. Gujarat Congress joining Modi, pressurising the Centre has won the battle against Congress leaders of Madhya Pradesh who have reported on rehabilitation falling back asking the work to be stopped and the Congress Madhya Pradesh and MLAs, including Mr. Gavis, Home Minister for State, but they have lost to Modi.
The Question is, will the rational, human, just path stand amidst the power game with Dam as a toy? The Kutchis have had to go to the Supreme Court, demanding more water of their rightful share while Ambanis and other corporates advertising the Dam raise and their stooges defaming NBA and activists, with baseless allegations, are all out to get theirs in water as land too!
The financial bankruptcy, supported by the Central government too may be dealt with, inviting the foreign lenders or continuing with huge indebtedness but the human, community life and natural resource can't be recovered if killed!
All this and more is on!
You and we can't merely watch the death slowly approaching the Valley.
Let's assert, protest, demand
After the 8th May, watching the judgement "legal and just? " be ready for a wider struggle for human development.