| NBA Press Release
|| 27 November 2001
State Brutality against the farmers of Narmada Valley challenged
NARMADA BACHAO ANDOLAN
B-13, Shivam Flats
62, Mahatma Gandhi Road,
Madhya Pradesh - 451551
Once again, in the thickly populated villages of Nimad, on the prime agricultural land, the farmers are facing brutal lathicharge and forcible eviction at the hands of the Gram Sarkar fame Digvijay Singh government. While 16 farmers elders and youths were beaten up and wounded at the hands of the SDM, Badwani district who is known to be a stooge of the powerholders and hence is arrogant and abusive using fowl language and resorting to violence against the peaceful protestors against displacement monstrous without rehabilitation of 40000 and more families yet to be affected by Sardar Sarovar Project.
It is obvious that when the work at the monstrous Dam, pushed unscientifically and through illegal, unjustifiable means and unjust processes had to be suspended at 93 metres, even after the Supreme Court's judgement, and there is no land available for rehabilitation, NBA's criticism uptil now and claim before the Apex Court is vindicated. The judiciary failed to see the ground reality and showed an unjustifiable faith in the executive, being not just naive, but supporting of the money and political power.
In another major sinister move, because it has no land for resettling a few lakh people, the Madhya Pradesh government has proposed change in the Narmada Tribunal Award and the rehabilitation policy with a provision for land for land to the affected. This is clearly going back and in violation of the peoples right to life and livelihood. This vindicates NBA's position and fears expressed over years.
The perseverant peoples struggle, however, could prove the flawed nature of the judgement and lack of judicial manageability as well as the absence of master plan for rehabilitation and hence the Narmada Control Authority its rehabilitation and environmental sub-group to when the Court left the assessment and approval for further construction, dared not permit the same. The dam had to be stopped and made Gujarat desperate. What is shocking and questioned even by the most knowledgeable ex-chief engineer of M.P. who worked on the Narmada Projects, Digvijay Singh's surrender to the pressures from Gujarat. Not only that he has allowed the Gujarats politicians construct a canal at a level (88 mts) lower than the poposed (100) and take away the waters to the cities of Ahemdabad and Baroda before (and may be never) it reaches Kutch and Saurashtra. This seems to be a stand also influenced by the Saint Asarambapu to whom Digvijay Singh is known to have committed a compromise.
You will not only be proved sinful against the boon you wish to earn but you will lose your political gains through announcements of Power to People and avowed Gram Sarkar, people of the Valley have warned the concerned governments. Madhya pradesh government, we expect, should join its counterpart in Maharashtra not to go with the BJP government in Gujarat. People of the Valley are determined not to leave their land as both costs and benefits of the Sardar Sarovar as well as Narmada Sagar, Maheshwar and all 30 big dams, a part of Narmada Valley Development Project, are questionable.
NBA in support and solidarity with the various peoples struggles such as the tribal struggle in Kerala, the fishworkers struggle against privatization of ports and acquisition and usurpation of acquatic wealth by MNCs in Gujarat, Orissa, even Kerala, small yet non-compromising civil society groups challenging the privatized infrastructure such as Kochi bridge and ecological damages through Athirapally power project or Philips Carbon Black factory, is all for the National Alliance of Peoples Struggle with common development ideology and strategy. The valuable reconstruction and regeneration work such as by organic farmers associations, naturopathy alternative health strategy by peoples health organizations, household soap production by KSSP, successes in micro-hydel by Peoples School of Energy, and others are also playing a complementary role in our wider movement, beyond differences, widening dialogue and alliance to challenge the present polity and economy both.Medha Patkar