NBA Press Release
  08 November 2004
Save The Narmada, Save Humanity!

Thirty Seven NVDA officials in Badwani suspended :
We demand full inquiry into all departments at all levels, up to the state level.

62, Mahatma Gandhi Road,
Badwani,
Madhya Pradesh - 451551
Tel: 07290-22464
Email: badwani@narmada.org

The greatest news since last two decades that has exposed the false claims and malpractices in Sardar Sarovar project is that of 37 officials being suspended at a go! This has not happened all of a sudden. Thousands of complaints against corrupt officials were filed before the higher authorities and were being heard, the Lokayukta, by the relentless efforts of the affected people struggling for their rights for the last 20 years.

With this action that has resulted out of the enormous misappropriation spotted during auditing of Narmada Valley Development Authority accounts, the hidden agenda behind false records, misleading reports, flaws in the land acquisition processes as also reason behind the Government of Madhya Pradesh taking an utterly illegal move and position that it would allocate cash compensation but not carry out land-based rehabilitation as directed by the Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal as well as the Supreme Court Judgment (October 2000), stands thoroughly exposed for public scrutiny.

It is more than obvious that the decision to allot cash instead of land, in utter violation of law, was not to benefit the oustees but the officials, employees and a handful of political leaders who also were involved. The same however was surprisingly supported by all the authorities and none questioned it in spite of all directives and repeated protest by the Andolan.

Its now clear that the team of officials were deliberately leaving flaws in the land acquisition process, carrying out the same in pieces, leaving out names of families and their houses from the records, conspiring to value similar houses differently in the compensation awards and even recording wrong survey levels, reporting those not even settled as "rehabilitated", and raising the dam height on that basis.

All this was to scare the project affected families and make them run to the respective offices to plead and ultimately give up, resorting to bribing. In spite of all these attempts, when thousands of families, adivasis and non adivasis, have been still refusing to accept cash and insisting on land-based rehabilitation preceding submergence, also challenging the project with exaggerated claims of benefits and underestimation of costs, the farcical role of the authorities, biased and bribed, the falsehood in whose reports was brought out time and again, stands more than exposed. It is a known fact that hundreds, if not thousands, of new, deliberately erected houses are valued and paid a lump sum amount. The builders, shopkeepers and some city dwellers, outside submergence and not to be dam-affected with few big farmers who took away a big chunk of the budget for rehabilitation have already joined hands and deprived the rest of the affected.

Can those faulty land acquisition awards be reverted or modified? Can the records and survey levels be corrected? Can any one give back the land submerged without rehabilitating, causing stress and loss to the families?

We demand:

A comprehensive review of all the unjust, illegal; decisions and criminal actions related to land acquisition and rehabilitation

Maximum possible enquiry into the scandal costing the exchequers crores of rupees, in each of the concerned department.

Acquisition of all property and wealth of the accused officials and legal action against the guilty, deterring against repeating the same crime.

. Change in the Government of Madhya Pradesh policy and cease cash compensation

We know and condemn the ongoing corruption and call halt to the Devouring Dam Project!

Ashish Mandloi
Medha Patkar