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

More Than 800 People Affected by Sardar Sarovar Project Block Highway 26 (Khandwa-Baroda) to Protest Unjust Submergence

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

On 6th September 2002, more than 800 adivasis, peasants, women and children of Nimad region (affected by the Sardar Sarovar project) blocked all traffic on the State Highway 26 (connecting Khandwa to Baroda ) at village Chikhalda for the entire day. This was done to protest the illegal and inhuman submergence of the adivasi regions, imminent submergence of Nimad and the pathetic and untruthful attitude of the Digvijay Singh. At the end of the day the people demanded that the Sub-divisional Magistrate (SDM) of tehsil Kukshi face the people and receive a memorandum for Digvijay Singh. The people of village Chikhalda, which is affected at the present dam height (95m), also blocked all lanes and by-lanes of the village preventing any traffic flow from either side also protesting the untruthful claims of Digvijay Singh and NVDA that their village was resettled.

It would be recalled that submergence, first between 20th and 21st August and then between 2nd and 3rd September, has caused large-scale devastation in the adivasi regions. The 100% adivasi villages of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Alirajpur tehsil villages in Madhya Pradesh have faced unprecedented devastation as raging waters submerged their houses and lands, destroyed their crops and in one case swept away livestock. The submergence of agricultural lands means total loss of crops. This will have yearlong impact on the adivasis since the adivasis practice one-crop rain-fed agriculture, implying that they will be without any food grains for the entire year. This submergence and the losses suffered yet again prove that the rehabilitation of these families has not been completed. It exposes the lies of the Governments in claiming that resettlement has been completed.

The daylong chakka jam was an expression of the anger experienced by the people at the illegal means being adopted to evict them from their lands and houses. Representatives from every village participated and spoke with brave gusto against Digvijay Singh's oppressive and hypocritical practices. On one hand he talks of Dalit Agenda, broadly about the uplifting of oppressed people, while on the other, he has actively participated and sanctioned the submergence of the adivasi villages even when they have not been resettled. Then he has the audacity to claim that they have encroached on Government land. Smt Sajjanbai of village Pipri challenged the chief minister to come to the Valley and utter these words. Shri Jagdish Patel of village Kadmal, warned the chief minister that if things do not change he would have to face the consequences in the coming elections in the State.

Late in the evening the SDM had to face the people and accept the memorandum for the chief minister. While handing over the memorandum Shri Ashish Mandloi warned the administration that there is still time for Government to change its present policies failing which it would have to contend with a very angry Nimad capable of any form of resistance.

Sukumar M.K.
Clifton D' Rozario
Rakesh Khanna
Vinod Patwa