NBA Press Release
Sept 08 2000
'SHOW THE LAND' - TRIBALS CHALLENGE MAHARASHTRA GOVT. AGAIN
SIEGE ON AKKALKUA TEHSIL CONTINUES : OFFICIALS MISSING
Over one thousand Adivasis (tribals) from the Maharashtra villages affected
by the Sardar Sarovar
Project (SSP), laid a siege on the block office at Akkalkua in Nandurbar
district on Thursday
(September 7), challenging the state government to show them the lands that
were claimed to be
available. No responsible official was seen in the office till the late
evening and therefore, the people
decided to sit-in indefinitely till they get the answer from the officers.
The Akkalkua action comes closely on heels of the Bhopal rally on September
6, by the SSP
affected people in Madhya Pradesh. The Maharashtra Adivasi oustees took out
an impressive rally on
Thursday through the Akkalkuwa town. Apart from the people affected by the
reservoir, people affected
by the compensatory afforestation and catchment area treatment for the dam
and also those who were
displaced but are left without land and resettlement.
The people are challenging the unjust displacement of the people under the
threat of the submergence,
which in turn is illegal and unjust. They are also protesting against the
non-recognition of the rights
of the tribals on the land. In the meeting at the block (tehsil) office,
the people alleged that the
Government of Maharashtra has violated its own regulation of 1978 and the
Supreme Court decision in
1995 regarding giving the right over the lands the Adivasis have been
Keshav Vasave, Vesta Pawra , Noorji Padvi, Medha Patkar and other activists
accused the state of
government of persisting with the false claims regarding the land
availability, in the affidavits in the
Supreme Court and before the Grievance Redressal Authority. They challenged
the state government to
show them the land which it has been claiming as available ( zamin dikhao).
People called for an
assessment of the claims of the government. They also protested against the
snatching away their
ancestral lands for the sake of compensatory afforestation for the Project.
The officials in Akkalkua were nowhere to be seen till the late evening.
The people are determined to
confront the officials and get the answers to their basic questions
regarding the land and livelihood.
They are ready to stay and wait for the government to answer them.