NBA Press Note

November 15, 2000

Save The Narmada, Save Humanity!

NARMADA BACHAO ANDOLAN
B-13, Shivam Flats, Ellora Park, Baroda, Gujarat.
Telefax: 0265-382232

Over 60 US organisations call upon the President of India to halt the work on SSP right away

Over 60 organisations in United States, including environmental, labour, consumer, theatre, women's, peace, minority and human rights' groups, have written to the President of India, Mr.K.R.Narayanan to immediately stop the construction of the dam, using his special powers, guaranteed by the Constitution of India. In a letter sent out yesterday (14th Nov.) they have called upon the President to:

  • protect the lives of adivasi communities by immediately halting construction of the Sardar Sarovar Project.
  • ensure complete resettlement and rehabilitation of the thousands already affected by the reservoir, canal system, construction site and other related project infrastructure.
  • constitute an independent commission for a complete, participatory review of all aspects of the Sardar Sarovar Project.

The letter further says, "This ruling (of Supreme Court) comes despite overwhelming evidence that the project will cause environmental degradation and jeopardize the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of people, including a large proportion of adivasis (tribals). The project was cleared although no credible environmental studies or rehabilitation plans were ever completed.

"The majority judgment claims that "a properly drafted [resettlement and rehabilitation] plan would improve living standards of displaced persons after displacement" and has given project authorities four weeks to draw up a plan for the 200,000 people to be displaced by the reservoir. A plan was supposed to have been completed by 1981, as per the Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal Award. It is not credible that the authorities who have failed to produce a credible plan in 20 years can complete one in a month's time".

On the violations of Environmental norms during the letter said, "Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, the majority judgment by Justices Kirpal and Anand states that "experience does not show that the construction of a large dam is not cost effective or leads to ecological or environmental degradation. On the contrary there has been ecological upgradation with the construction of large dams." This opinion flies in the face of a huge corpus of evidence showing the massive environmental impacts of dams in India and around the world".

"In his minority judgment, Justice Bharucha has pointed out that construction has been pushed forward in systematic violation of legal requirements for environmental clearances".

Urging the President to Stop Construction immediately, the made it clear that the, "..... it is clear that any further construction of the Sardar Sarovar dam will have grave consequences. It is imperative that immediate steps be taken to safeguard against the blatant violation of the right to life and livelihood of the many adivasi communities in the Narmada Valley. Otherwise, a serious human tragedy will develop in the coming monsoon as homes and fields of thousands of families will be flooded".

The signatories of the letter include:

  • Korinna Horta, Environmental Defense, Washington, DC
  • Michelle Chan, Friends of the Earth, Washington, DC
  • Mayurika Poddar, Seva International, Okemos, Michigan
  • Amit Srivastava, TRAC/Corporate Watch, San Francisco, California
  • Patrick McCully, International Rivers Network
  • Vinay Kumar, Friends of River Narmada
  • Soren Ambrose, 50 Years Is Enough Network, Washington, DC
  • Jeff Miller, Alameda Creek Alliance, Canyon, California
  • Janet Gottschalk, Alliance for Justice, Washington, DC
  • Vidhi Parthasarthy, Asha for Education - Madison Chapter, Madison, Wisconsin
  • Kay Treakle, Bank Information Center, Washington, DC
  • Daisy Pitkin, Campaign for Labor Rights, Washington, DC
  • Barbara Larcom, Casa Baltimore/Limay, Baltimore, Maryland
  • Kay Dellinger, Coalition Against Global Exploitation, Baltimore, Maryland
  • Ian McIntosh, Cultural Survival, Boston, Massachusetts
  • Bill Walker, Environmental Working Group, Oakland, California
  • Shrikumar Poddar, India Foundation, East Lansing, Michigan
  • Rev. Len D. Beyea, Interfaith Alliance for Human Rights, Santa Cruz, California
  • Bruce Carpenter, New York Rivers United, Rome, New York
  • Daniella Chace, Organic Consumers Association, Mackay, Idaho
  • Meena Natarajan, Pangea World Theater, Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Cecilia R. Vinas, Peacemaking Committee, Swarthmore Presbyterian Church, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania and others.

Joe Athialy