NBA Press Release
  14 September 2001
Save The Narmada, Save Humanity!

Shri Ashok Chauhan will ensure that no alienation of adivasis' rights will be allowed
Promises to settle land rights in the Narmada Valley

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In a discussion held in the office of Shri Ashok Chauhan, Revenue Minister between him and representatives from the Narmada Bachao Andolan in the presence of Shri Vilasrao Patil, Rehabilitation Minister and Shri Govindrao Adik, Maharashtra Pradesh Congress President, the Revenue Minister promised that the issue of land rights would be resolved as soon as possible. He promised to look into the issue immediately and demanded that the officials make available all the relevant documents. A meeting with all the officials of the Revenue and Forest department and the Collector of Nandurbar district has been scheduled for in the next 10 days at the Mantralaya.

The delegation consisted of Medha Patkar, Prathiba Shinde, Keshav Vasave, Noorji Padavi, Geeta Chauhan, Clifton D' Rozario and other representatives from the Narmada Valley. Shri. Bhau Buskute and Ulka Mahajan from Shoshit Jan Andolan were also present. They met the minister in the evening at the Mantralaya.

The delegation placed the issue before the Minister in detail and demanded that the matter be resolved immediately. There are 73 villages in the Akrani tahsil of Nandurbar district where the basic settlement of land rights remains to be done. Due to this these adivasis who have been living here for generations now are considered as 'encroachers'! They have no rights over these lands as the State has denied them this. The adivasis stated that this is in violation of the legal and constitutional rights of adivasis. In fact even the Supreme Court has passed a judgment in 1995 directing the State Government to survey the cultivations of adivasis in forests and give them land titles for those fields.

Shri Ashok Chauhan promised that under no circumstances would the rights of the adivasis be denied. The dharna is on at Azad Maidan with the people asserting that they will only move when their demands are met.

Sukumar M.K.
Clifton D' Rozario