NBA Press Release
  15 October 2006
Save The Narmada, Save Humanity!

Supreme Court to take up Narmada Case on October 16 : Dam Construction continues jeopardising the life of 1.75 lakh people.

62, Mahatma Gandhi Road,
Badwani,
Madhya Pradesh - 451551
Tel: 07290-222464
Email: badwani[at]narmada.org

The Sardar Sarovar Dam continues to be a death knell for the people of one of the most ancient river valleys of the world, the Narmada. The work that was started to raise the height of the dam beyond 119 mts once again proves that the governments, states to the central, are hell bent upon drowning almost 1.75 lakhs of people in more than 230 villages in Nandurbar district (Maharashtra), Jhabua, Badwani, Dhar and Khargone districts (M.P.), but also all legal and human rights.

THE NBA WILL FIGHT THE BATTLE LEGALLY AT THE SUPREME COURT AS THE CASE IS BEING TAKEN UP TOMORROW, 16TH OF OCTOBER 2006. NBA has submitted rejoinder upon the OSG report, along with several affidavits from adivasi families already affected under 122 mts.

Since the last struggle in Delhi when the Shunglu Committee (Oversight Group- OSG) was appointed by the Prime Minister, from which the apex court received a review report, there was a clear indication of the un-preparedness for rehabilitation and the vested interest of the Modi government to the corporates, in pushing the dam ahead in contempt of the court. OSG report has in a way admitted that there are 25,000 families in the submergence area at 122 mts and that R&R sites are not ready either with adequate number of house plots or civic amenities. IT IS OBVIOUS FROM THE SAME REPORT THAT 6,500 FAMILIES WERE IDENTIFIED BY NSSO AS CLAIMANTS AND OSG ADMITTED THAT THE LISTS OF MAJOR SONS AS SEPARATE FAMILIES ARE NOT YET COMPLETE AND FINAL, WHICH MEANS THOUSANDS OF PAFS ARE YET TO BE ADDED TO THE LIST.

Can the governments, including UPA that promised rehabilitation before displacement in its common minimum programme, dare plan or allow the impending massacre of drowning these adivasi and farmer-laborer-artisan families and fish-workers when there is no land offered and we reiterate, at least 35,000 families continue to reside in the area to be affected, if not this year, then the next?

As a result of Gujarat stopping the dam construction at 119mts during monsoon, the large villages in the plains of M.P. were saved from submergence but the land and livelihoods of almost all the adivasi communities got destroyed, pauperizing them. ‘Jansahayog’ from supporters, provided in the form of grains have helped them survive when claimed relief by government came out to be a farce, leaving adivasis without any regular service, neither PDS (rationing) nor medical. Right to Food is seriously affected as Right to Life is compromised.

The rest of the villages, also in the 122mts affected region, didn’t get submerged because there was less and scattered rain in the valley and as the dam height was kept low by 3 mts. NOW IT IS WITHOUT ANY REVIEW OF MONITORING OF THE SITUATION AS PROMISED BY THE PRIME MINISTER, WITHOUT ANY OFFICIAL MONITORING AGENCY VISITING THE SUBMERGENCE AREA, THAT THE GUJARAT GOVERNMENT HAS RESUMED THE RAISING OF THE DAM HEIGHT FROM 119 MTS TO 122 MTS. IT MAY BE NOTED THAT NO VISIT OF EVEN THE RESETTLEMENT AND REHABILITATION (R&R) SUBGROUP OF NCA, UNDER THE MINISTRY OF SOCIAL JUSTICE AND EMPOWERMENT, HAS TAKEN PLACE SINCE NOVEMBER 2000.

The Modi government started the work at Sardar Sarovar dam on Gandhi Jayanti to further express its rhetoric and take the communal politics ahead, which unfortunately was joined by Gujarat Congress. But Gujarat is loosing from the dam rather than benefiting from it. The information related to the benefits proves this…

• While the reservoir was filled up (over-flowing)to 128mts at the dam site, no water could be released into the Main canal due to 2 villages on the canal banks getting submerged and others being threatened. Most of the water promised to Saurashtra and Kutch is utilized on the way, compelling people of Kutch to approach Supreme Court for justice, even when 20,000 crores are already spent on the project.

• Hydropower generation of all dams in Gujarat in June 2006 was 125 MW out of 3968 MW, which is only 3% of the expected. When M.P. and Maharashtra got no electricity from Sardar Sarovar that was promised to be 80 MW at 110 mts itself, the likely conflict, if the political players change in the future, is obvious.

The UPA government has recently publicized a national draft R&R policy giving only 7 days for comments. We condemn this haste after years of waiting for a policy on development planning, minimum displacement and just rehabilitation. If the government is hurrying to push displacement to an unprecedented large scale and justify this with the policy, we warn, it will not work. The farmers to fish-workers have learnt lesson from Narmada and other projects. They question the unjust displacement and the development plans based on those.

Ashish Mandloi
Medha Patkar
Kamala Yadav