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

CM agrees to demands on Narmada and other project affected, slum dwellers and adivasis. No Dam without rehabilitation, No Eviction of footpath dwellers

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The Chief Minister of Maharashtra, and other ministers-Minister of Rehabilitation Shri Vilas Patil, Rural Development Minister Shri R.R Patil, Tribal Development Minister Shri Madhukarrao Pichod, Minister for Food and Civil Supplies Shri L.Dhobale, Minister for State-Home Shri Kripashankar, Minister for State for housing & rehabilitation Shri Nabab Mallik & Shri Ramraje Nibhalkar respectively along with Shri Shrivastav the Commissioner, Brihan Mumbai Municipal Corporation and senior bureaucrats held a 4 hour long dialogue on Oct 8th with leading activists of Narmada Bachao Andolan, Shoshit Jan Andolan, Zopadi Bachao Parishad, Samajwadi Jan Parishad, Shahr Vikas Manch, Jaikwadi Dam affected struggle committee and other people's organisations united under the banner of the National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM). The activists included Ulka Mahajan, Pratibha Shinde, Bhau Bhuskute, Minar Pimple, Vidya Chavan, Brian Lobo, N.D.Koli, Jagdish Khairalia, Prakash Reddy and Medha Patkar.

The CM with ministerial colleagues gave clear decisions on many issues raised. Some of these were already discussed with the concerned ministers and selected disputed issues presented in the meeting clinched the final decisions.

On the issue of Narmada , the CM was briefed on the findings of the official Task Force on Rehabilitation, which showed that thousands of families are without rehabilitation as yet. Four to five hundred of those who have shifted to rehabilitation sites are yet to receive their full land entitlements. There is no land available and hence a complete rehabilitation plan with atleast 4000 ha of alternate land is to be made and executed prior to any further construction. The CM, accepting the demand, directed that the planning committee with the Minister of state for rehabilitation and activists members may be given all powers to do so and the state should review the situation, plan rehabilitation & seek finance from Gujarat, upto the requirement. The losses due to submergence without rehabilitation imposed on adivasis this monsoon, he said, would be compensated with a decision by the cabinet to be held on Oct 16th.

The review of cost/benefits of the Sardar Sarovar Project, he reiterated, is necessary as much less power may be gained at a huge cost. Looking into the complaints of the members of the officially appointed Sardar Sarovar Project review committee. The CM directed the irrigation department to furnish all the relevant documents to this committee.

After a detailed presentation on the issue of forest and land rights , by Shri Bhau Bhuskute, the CM agreed to have a detailed dialogue on the issue, its legal as well as political parameters with the leaders of organisations who will participate in the massive rally on Oct 10th in Mumbai under the banner of Dadasaheb Gaikwad Bhumihakka Kriti Samiti, before any affidavit is filed before the Supreme Court. He reiterated the position of the present government, which is against existing encroachers.

The CM promised and directed his officials to fulfill all formalities at the earliest, press the centre, and get the adivasis their due rights to land, agri-silvi plots and fire line-pillar line plots granted to them during British rule or soon thereafter. The CM ordered extension of the period for investigation into encroachments in Nandurbar district by the committee appointed last year.

As regards the slum dwellers and footpath dwellers CM agreed that the Democratic Front has a programme of resettling them, not evicting them. He ordered rehabilitation of all footpath dwellers as per 3.11 scheme, within a year as promised by Shri Nawab Malik, Minister for state-housing and Shri Sayyed Ahmad.

The CM heard the political activists Vidya Chavan and Prakash Reddy and asked the forest department to file an affidavit seeking the High Court's permission for re-survey of the national park area and of 220 acres of land in Malad and 26 acres in Kandivili that is revenue land, shown as national park area by mistake and where eviction of 35,000 families occurred a few years ago.

The representatives of Ring Railway affected people in Thane were promised all information on the project and a detailed dialogue to seek consent before the project is launched.

He also agreed to take up the recommendation to distribute the additional unused land acquired for any project and to allot the same to private parties or any other public purpose with specific reference to Dapchari Diary project near Dahanu and in general to be discussed in the cabinet on Oct 16th.

On the issue of displacement of large dams & other projects, the CM insisted on the completion of rehabilitation before impact of any project. All problems are created because this is not done, he said.

Special meetings with the Rehabilitation Minister at the divisional level and in Mantralaya are planned to discuss and resolve rehabilitation issues of those affected by Jaikwadi (Aurangabad), Neera Deodhar (Pune), Vang Marathwadi (Krishna valley), and Rampur, Dehli (Tapi) as also a special meeting to discuss the Rehabilitation Act of the state, from Oct 23rd onwards

The CM and the Minister for Food and Civil supplies as also Rural Development Minister agreed to get reviewed the targets of 65 lakhs Below Poverty Line families since the poverty line is to be revised from Rs 15,000 to Rs 20,000. A special Gram Sabha in each village of Maharashtra will be held to review the BPL list, to drop better off families and to include those left out. The Minister for Rural Development will issue orders soon.

All the people's organisation are to follow-up on all the decisions and ensure that those are executed. National Alliance of People's Movements will strengthen the alliance into non-electoral yet political force and assert people's right to land, water, forest but also food and shelter in the case of urban and rural poor.

Sanjay M.G (National Co-ordinator)
Ulka Mahaja(Convenor,Maharashtra)
Pratibha Shinde(Convenor,North Maharashtra)
Medha Patkar(National Co-ordinator)