Contact: Pratibha Shinde,
Dist. Nandurbar (Maharashtra)
Phone: 02567-32484
08 August 2001

Oustees in Maharashtra seize Govt. office in Taloda in protest against abysmal resettlement
Demand to Implement Daud Committee Report

Over a thousand tribal families in the resettlement sites in Taloda (Maharashtra), ousted by the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) have captured the Block Office (Tahsildar office) in Taloda ( Dist. Nandurbar, Maharashtra) on Tuesday, August 8, as they did not get any response for their demands from the state government. Earlier, they launched indefinite dharna (sit-in) in front of the Tehsildar office from August 7, to press for the demands of long-pending resettlement and the implementation of the recommendations of Justice (Retd.) Daud Committee Report. The people have declared that they would not lift the siege of the office until the responsible minister discusses the serious resettlement issues with the organization.

Over a thousand oustees from the resettlement sites of Maharashtra oustees, under the aegis of Taloda based ' Punarwas Sangharsh Samiti' ( Committee for Struggle for Resettlement), took out a march on the Block office and launched the dharna against the abysmal conditions at the resettlement sites. They declared that dharna would continue till the state Resettlement Minister Mr. Vilas (kaka) Patil must holds discussions with the Samiti and sort out the serious issues regarding the resettlement.

According to the memorandum to the Minister, hundreds of oustees have been at the sites without resettlement lands. Among those who were given lands, large number of oustees has got uncultivable lands. " Unless, all these already shifted oustees are fully resettled, no new oustees be given notices for displacement". They demanded that the work on the SSP should be suspended till all the resettlement of the oustees below that height is not complete.

Samiti alleged that the government has not given the land to the 135 families who have been brought to the resettlement sites from the original villages. They have been given only the house-plots but not the lands and they be declared as oustees. The Samiti demanded the land right documents to be given to the resettled oustees. Also people have not been given the amount for the house-plinths, tiles, bamboo etc, alongwith the compensation for the lost households and lands.

The oustees have demanded the formation of a high-level monitoring committee with the participation of the organization. The Samiti criticized the decision of government to assign the work of monitoring and evaluation ( M & E) of the resettlement to the Taloda based College of Social Work, which " is ill-equipped for such serious work and acts as appendage to the government officials. The government should decide about the M & E agency only after consultation of the Punarwas Sangharsha Samiti", the memorandum said.

Pratibha Shinde
Jordar Pawra
And Colleagues