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

Betrayal by Maharashtra Government?
MEDHA PATKAR AND 7 OTHERS CONTINUE INDEFINITE FAST ON 5th DAY
"NO WITHDRAWAL WITHOUT CONCRETE ACTION BY STATE"; MEDHA

NARMADA BACHAO ANDOLAN
B-13, Shivam Flats
Ellora Park,
Baroda-390007
Tel: 0265-282232
Email: baroda@narmada.org

62, Mahatma Gandhi Road,
Badwani,
Madhya Pradesh - 451551
Tel: 07290-22464
Email: badwani@narmada.org

The indefinite hunger strike by seven main activists of NBA at Mumbai continued on 5th day on Friday (21st September), with activists demanding firm commitment by the Maharashtra government to implement Jst Daud Committee report and conferring land rights on the adivasis. The state Chief Minister Shri Vilasrao Deshmukh has agreed to take concrete steps in this direction in a meeting with the delegation of NBA on 19th September. "It seems that State government is reneging on its commitment under some pressure. But we are resolute to continue with our struggle and will not leave Mumbai until Government fulfils the commitments made", said Medha Patkar.

Meanwhile the health condition of four activists, Medha Patkar, Saisingh Khajya Pavra, Narsingh Ruboji Valavi and Dakhalsingh has deteriorated further but they have refused to be admitted in any hospital.

In the 19th meeting the Chief Minister in the presence of senior cabinet ministers had agreed to fulfill the process of conferring land rights of adivasis in 73 villages in Akrani tahsil including 24 villages directly affected by submergence in the Sardar Sarovar project within 2 days. He also agreed to institute a committee to enquire into the regularization of 'encroachments' in Nandurbar district.

The State appointed Jst Daud Committee has exposed the reality of the displacement and resettlement claims of the officials. It made clear that the resettlement hither to has been done in violation of laws and regulations and there is no land for any further resettlement. It recommended that the State government should not endorse any further increase of height from the present 93m without resolving the outstanding basic issues. However, the State government has not taken any decision regarding the report. But the Chief Minister and Resettlement Minister, Shri Vilasrao Patil conceded that there has been false reports regarding the status of resettlement and the cabinet would take a formal decision within 15 days.

The Andolan demands that the Government must complete the processes regarding the land rights of the 73 villages. The fears of the Andolan have come true in that the serious commitment by the Chief Minister himself is not fulfilled. Now the Government is postponing the decision till 25th September in a proposed meeting with the Revenue Minister Shri Ashokrao Chavan Also Andolan demanded atleast some steps towards the acceptance of Jst Daud Committee report. The Resettlement Minster should clarify in consultation with the Andolan the stance the Ministry is going to take in the cabinet meeting.

However since there has been silence on the part of State government the Andolan decides that the struggle including the indefinite fast by our comrades would continue till the Government takes definite steps.

On the 11th day of mass action in Mumbai scores of activists, supporters and youths participated and extended support including the Students Federation of India, Lokancha Dost and Rastravadi Vidyathi Sanghatana.

Sanjay Sangvi
Joe Athialy
Clifton D' Rozario

Camp: Azad Maidan, Mumbai
Contacts: Shashi - 2029296, Pervin - 2184779