NBA Press Release
  05 September 2002
Save The Narmada, Save Humanity!

State Government Belittles Submergence; Devastation in Narmada Valley: Medha, Kamla Yadav Face Neck-deep Water

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The Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh governments are disregarding the devastating effects of the recent submergence, caused by the increased height of the controversial Sardar Sarovar dam project, from September 2-5 and the previous one from August 20-22. The governments also have been trivializing the people's resistance to the unjust and illegal submergence by spreading outright falsehood regarding the Satyagraha (non-violent mass action) in the Narmada valley.

Hundreds of farms and over 50 houses have been washed out in the swirling Narmada waters, in the Akkalkua and Akrani tehsils (Dist. Nandurbar), in Maharashtra. Almost all the houses in Domkhedi (including the centers of Satyagraha and NBA office) have been submerged. Moreover there were large-scale destruction in Sikka, Bharad, Pipalchop, Pavla, Mukhdi, Sindhuri, Dhankhedi and Chimalkhedi villages. In one, Chimalkhedi, 10 houses hundred goats and equal number of bullocks and cows washed away. In Jalsindhi, Luhariyabhai's house went under water, together with the Satyagraha house.

In Madhya Pradesh, a number of Adivasi villages from Jalsindhi, Bada Amba, to Kakrana and Katarkheda suffered heavy submergence related losses and devastation. More than 1000 more Adivasi families were became destitute by this submergence caused by the height 95 meters (+3 m. humps). Hundreds of cattle were washed According to the estimates, the present dam height with the full floods, would displace over 8000 families and extend upto the plains of Nimad.

In Gujarat, rising waters have affected large tracts of standing crop in Mokhadi, Turkheda and Hafeshwar. The ancient temple in Hafeshwar is half subme standing lush green crop in every tribal village in Alirajpur and Maharashtra is affected, mostly 10-15 acres per affected family in these villages. This means massive loss of standing crops and threat of lurking famine.

The submergence has occurred under the scandalous indifference of the Madhya Pradesh government to the fate of the tribals. Mr. Singh has gone to the worse extent by claiming that the affected Adivasis are 'squatting on the government land'!

However, the people faced the submergence waters with fortitude and resolve. Medha Patkar and Kamla Yadav have been in the neck-deep submergence water for hours. In the afternoon of Septmeber 3, the vilage elders of Domkhedi and women decided to drag them away from the fatal submergence. However, they all have been in the Khutavani pada (hamlet) for all these days, and once visited Jalsindhi Satyagraha place. But the Maharashtra government officials spread false rumours regarding Medha Patkar and the Andolan which were unwittingly carried by the many Marathi newspapers. This was a clear game of spreading the misinformation about the Andolan.

Dangerous Modispeak

As a sequel to the ghastly state-sponsored communal carnage in Gujarat, the Chief Minister Narendra Modi is bent on suppressing the vulnerable sections of our people, this time the Adivasis. His attempts for increasing the height of the Sardar Sarovar dam upto 110 meters is fraught with increasing danger for the lives and resources thousands of more families in the Narmada valley. When the affected peopole below 90 meters could not be resettled properly till this time, how can anyone think of increasing the height of the dam beyond the present 95 (+ 3 meters humps)? We demand that the governments of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh should not fall prey to the cruel game of Narendra Modi. Modi has been indulging in these gimmicks mainly because the future elections in Gujarat and we expect Vilasrao Deshmukh and Digvijay Singh not to entertain him and his designs. The Narmada water could have been put into the Sabarmati even without SSP dam, through pipelines and other means, as is being done now. It seems that Modi government is pulling all stops to have elections and win them, taking recourse to fraud, cruelty, misinformation, defamation and cheap cynical tactics. The people in India and particularly in Gujarat must realize this and defeat the fraudulent ways of government.

Sanjay Sangvai