NBA Press Release
  05 October 2002
Save The Narmada, Save Humanity!

Sardar Sarovar Task Force Report Exposes Serious Flaws in Rehabilitation;
Narmada Oustees Determined to Get Rehabilitation Issues Resloved:
Dharna by 800 Adivasis Continues

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The mass-action by more than 800 adivasis continues even after 4 days at Azad Maidan, Mumbai. Women and men from Satpuras are here since the Narmada issue is yet to be resolved after 17 years of struggle. Sardar Sarovar dam reached the height of 95 metres, inspite of promise made by the Government of Maharashtra that no raise beyond 90 metres will be allowed without rehabilitating all those affected at that level. With the decision taken on May 17th, hundreds of adivasi families faced submergence of their houses and fields which was a total violation of the Narmada Tribunal's rehabilitation policy as well as the Supreme Court's final judgement. Satyagraha in the valley was the protest at its peak, after which the adivasis are compelled to be on the streets of Mumbai since it is known that even after the official Task Force report on the Sardar Sarovar affected and their rehabilitation has vindicated the position of the Andolan, highly inadequate and distorted reports are being submitted by the beauracrats to the Narmada Control Authority. This has shocked and compelled the people to be here since any decision to raise the height of the dam beyond 95 mts would bring in widespread drowning and devastation.

The task force established by the state government has brought out the fact that more than 3600 families are yet to get their due land for resettlement. Out of these 3100 are on the banks of the Narmada while 500 and more are deprived even after having shifted to the resettlement sites. Justice Kurdukar, chairperson of Grievance Redressal Authority has even reported to the Supreme Court that there is no land available for rehabilitation with the state government. The struggle for land and justice thus continues to avoid a human tragedy as faced by the millions of dam-affected in the past.

The rehabilitation minister, Shri Vilaskaka Patil is yet to meet the agitationists and with Medha Patkar and Pratibha Shinde. If the meeting is avoided for any reason, the issues would no doubt be raised before the Chief Minister during the meeting planned on the 8th but unless those are resolved, the struggle cannot rest or withdraw. We are determined to establish our contribution to and our right to rehabilitation as also our share in development. Justice demands that the investors of land, water, forest into any development project must be treated on par with the investors of monetary capital.

People from the Narmada Valley are joined here by the representatives of adivasis and farmers affected by Dapchari dairy project, Jaikwadi project in Aurangabad, as also Vang-Marathwadi project in the Krishna valley. With them, the issues related to each of these projects as well as the Rehabilitation act of the state are to be discussed with the Chief Minister.

Today evening, in order to show their protest, people went to the adjacent Chattrapati Shivaji Terminus and occupied the platform for almost half an hour where they chanted slogans and danced to the tune of drums and flutes adding meaning to the monotonous life of Mumbai commuters as they joined in solidarity with the Narmada tribals demanding that the Rehabiliation minister Vilaskaka Patil meet with the people and respond positively to the demands placed by them.

Didli bai
Pravin Shivshankar
Shoba Wagh
Vestha Bhai