Save The Narmada, Save Humanity! NBA Press Release                                                                 September 25, 2000

NARMADA BACHAO ANDOLAN
B-13, Shivam Flats, Ellora Park, Baroda-390007
58, Gandhi Marg, Badwani, M.P.
Phones: 0265-382232/07290-22464/020-5450870
Email: baroda@narmada.org, medhapatkar@vsnl.com

NBA - NAPM ACTIVISTS LEAVE FOR PRAGUE TO PARTICIPATE IN GLOBAL PROTESTS AGAINST WORLD BANK AND IMF

Medha Patkar and Rehmat Mansoori have left for Prague to participate in the protest against the Global Capitalism, on the occasion of the 55th Summit meeting of the World Bank (WB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF), scheduled to be on 26th-28th September. They will be representing the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) and National Alliance of People's Movement (NAPM) at the protest action where over 15,000-20,000 protestors from hundreds of organisations from all parts of the world would gather. The organisations are protesting against the inequality, destruction and human rights violations perpetrated by the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) of the Bank and by the so called "Free Trade" represented by the World trade Organisation (WTO).

The Prague action comes closely on the heels of the successful protests in Seattle, Washington, Davos and Melbourne against the WTO and MNCs. Representatives of other people's movements and groups from India have also reached Prague. The organisations from India have been opposing the World Bank, IMF and the WTO for encouraging the inequality among the nations and violation of human rights, particularly that of the depressed classes and the destruction of the natural resources in the developing countries. They are resisting the so-called 'development'’ projects and policies as large dams, chemical industries, privatisation and usurpation of the land, forest and water-bodies in the hands of people. They also have been protesting against the unequal terms of trade against the agriculture in India imposed by the SAP and WTO along with the hegemony of global capital, multinational companies, disrupting the economy and political decision making processes in India and other Third World countries.

These concerns from India would be voiced in various public meetings and the Counter Summit put up by the organisations. The People's Global Action (PGA), a collective of the groups and movements from all over the world for resisting the Global Capitalism has been participating in a big way in this protests along with the trade unions, groups of students, peasants, environmentalists, socialists from many parts of Europe and USA. NBA and NAPM have been active in the processes of PGA.

NBA believes that only strong people's resistance can keep this exploitative forces away. World Bank, which was funding the Sardar Sarovar (Narmada) Dam, had to withdraw after a stiff fight by the people. In many cases, like in Narmada, WB had to withdraw, accepting the failure of their own guidelines and policies on environment and rehabilitation. Arun III project in Nepal is also another example.

Before leaving for Prague Medha Patkar and colleagues have called for a fair deal for the India farmers in face of the unjust agreement on agriculture (AoA) under WTO. She questioned the exorbitant subsidies and export subsidies for the farmers in developing countries coupled with practically negative subsidy for Indian farmers and unbridled import of the farm produce from the developed countries. "People in the Narmada valley join hundreds of like-minded organisations in opposing the WB/IMF policies and programs and call upon the Government of India to reject the unequal AoA and oppose all such global agreements. We demand that the government must protect the interest of the farmers in India rather that of the global capital. We also call upon the farmers’ organisation all over India to further strengthen the resistance to these exploitative treaties."

Joe Athialy