Save The Narmada, Save Humanity! NBA Press Release                                                                 Sep 1 2000

CANELLATION OF KALABAGH DAM : A VICTORY FOR PEOPLE IN PAKISTAN
BOOST TO STRUGGLES AGAINST LARGE DAMS IN SOUTH ASIA

We congratulate the people of Pakistan, and particularly the people of Sindh province, for their victory in compelling their government cancel the ill-conceived Kalabagh dam and safeguard the life, resources and rights of the common people. It is the sheer determination, constant action and resistance on part of the people and the ingenuity of converting it into a larger issue for the nation, which made the government to take such an unprecedented step.

We appreciate the constant work done by the various activists, organisations and the affected people in Sindh and other parts of Pakistan. Their work has compelled the political parties to join the protests against the dam. This is a classic example of how the people's politics can mould the conventional politics. This has also given a boost to the struggles in other parts of Asia, where the people have been resisting the unjust displacement and destruction. In the Narmada valley, people are resisting the Sardar Sarovar and Maheshwar projects. The people are prepared to face the unjust submergence in Narmada Satyagraha. The people's victory in Kalabagh reinforces the determination and resistance against the destructive dams in Narmada valley and elsewhere in Asia and Third World countries.

The people's movements in South Asia have been resisting the development fundamentalism of the political elite in the respective countries. The struggle in Narmada valley, against Kalabagh, Arun, Mahaveli, Pak Mun or other such Projects are the symptoms of such exploration of the sustainable and equitable development paradigm. The South Asian countries, including India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Bhutan, have to chart out the different course for the water management and the overall development.Only then the common people would have true liberty and freedom from the internal colonisation. This would safeguard already scarce natural resources of these countries.

The people in Sindh, and Pakistan in general, will have to be vigilant about the so called alternative arrangements, like Bhasha project- by the rulers. Still there may be a possibility of bring back the project through backdoor or having similar project elsewhere of equally disastrous proportions. This too will have to be resisted. It is the time for the organisations and people's groups to harp on the sane and sustainable solutions for the water and land management. We call unto the government of Pakistan, the WAPDA and other concerned agencies, to abandon the conventional ways of large dams for water and land management and implement the contemporary modes of sustainable, equitable and decentralized options, with the meaningful and decisive participation of the affected people and their organisations.

We call, here from the Satyagraha place on the banks of Narmada, for a new solidarity among all the people in South Asia, for a sane, equitable, sustainable and people oriented development and peace.

Baba Muhariya
Keshav Vasave
Seetaram Patidar
Medha Patkar