NBA Press Release
September 07, 2000
Over 1500 People From Nimad, Alirajpur Take Out Rally In Bhopal
"STATE HAS NO LAND FOR RESETTLEMENT" CONCEDES MADHYA PRADESH C.M.
CASH COMPENSATION, SURVEYS OF 436 FT. SUSPENDED : TALKS WITHIN A WEEK
The Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh has admitted that the state has no
land to provide for the oustees of the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP), and
therefore, the government is giving the cash compensation for them. He
however, agreed to stop all the work on the survey of the submergence area
of 436 and disbursing cash compensation till the day long meeting on these
issues after a week.
He declared this in a meeting of over 1500 peasants and tribals from the
Narmada valley in Bhopal on Tuesday (September 6), who questioned the
illegal acts of the state government of disbursing the cash compensation to
the affected persons by the controversial SSP. The people came in an
impressive rally through the streets of Bhopal and laid a siege ( dharna)
in front of the residence of the Chief Minister. The people were also
agitated over the surveys the state government has been carrying out of the
submergence of 436 feet, when the planned submergence is 455 feet.
Janakibai from Jalsindhi, the first affected village in M.P., pointed out
that even the first oustee, Luhariabhai is not resettled according to the
tribunal. The people expressed their anguish at the attempts by the
officials to conduct the surveys and spread confusion in the villages by
disbursing the cash compensations.
Responding to the questions by the Narmada Bachao Andolan activists
Jagannath Patidar, Jagdish Patel, Gokhrubhai, Mahesh Patel and other
villagers, the Chief Minister said that Madhya Pradesh has demanded a total
review and new tribunal in the Supreme Court. That is the priority of the
state government. If that does not happen, the next option is demand for
height of the dam of 436 feet. When the people asked whether the state
government has the land even for the oustees upto that height, the Chief
Minister had no answer. When it was pointed out that disbursing the cash
compensation in lieu of the land for land, amounts to the violation of the
NWDT provisions, he repeated that, " if there is no land we will give cash
compensation since M.P. is bound by the agreement between the states and
has to do rehabilitate the people even if there is no land".
At this juncture people expressed their resolve that, " No land-No dam" and
" No to 436 feet". The Chief Minister could not answer as on what basis the
decision of 436 feet was taken and was there any possibility of the
resettlement even at that height? He agreed that the state government would
stop all the activities of the surveys of 436 feet, disbursement of cash
compensation till a detailed meeting with NBA on these issues. The meeting
would take place within a week's time.
Earlier, addressing the rally Medha Patkar made it clear that if the state
government has no land to resettle it must stop all the work on the dam.
She accused the state government of having colluded with Gujarat government
to displace the people in the Narmada valley, even if with illegal means.
Alongwith the men and women from the Nimad and Alirajpur areas of Madhya
Pradesh, representatives of Maharashtra and Gujarat oustees along with the
representatives from other dam affected people in the valley like
Maheshwar, Tawa and Bargi too came in solidarity for the oustees of the
Sardar Sarovar. Number of supporters from various parts of India too
participated in the rally.