Narmada Samachar: 23 October 2002
All this (and more) news can be accessed via the Press Clippings
The NBA press releases are accessible at:
Archives of Narmada Samachar are accessible at:
Tehri dam oustees postpone agitation ;
China 'to float Three Gorges dam' ;
BJP activists attack Magsaysay awardee ;
Gas victims' Rs 400 cr likely to be diverted ;
CM agrees to demands on Narmada and other project affected, slum dwellers and adivasis. No Dam without rehabilitation, No Eviction of footpath dwellers ;
No Project and Displacement without Rehabilitation: A Pledge by Oustees of Sardar Sarovar, Tapi, Krishna and Jaikwadi ;
Sardar Sarovar Task Force Report Exposes Serious Flaws in Rehabilitation;Narmada Oustees Determined to Get Rehabilitation Issues Resloved: Dharna by 800 Adivasis Continues ;
Thousands on Indefinite Dharana for Right to Livelihood in Maharashtra. ;
Thousands Take Part In Rally Along Roads of Bhopal After Jan Panchayat Demand Right to Life and Livelihood. ;
15,000 tribals and peasants participate in Jan Panchayat in Bhopal; oppose Asia Development Bank and World bank; Call for intensifying struggle for rights over lands, waters and forests ;
Thousands Of Tribals in Narmada Valley and Satpura Ranges Asser Right Over Land: Impressive March for Right to Life ;
Thousands Of Tribals in Narmada Valley and Satpura Ranges Asser Right Over Land: Impressive March for Right to Life ;
Dubious Order Again In Narmada Matter: SC Avoids Responsibility To Protect people's rights ;
HP Cabinet approves raising Nathpa dam height by 5 mts ;
... The Himachal Cabinet today approved raising the height of Nathpa dam of the 1500 MW Nathpa-Jhakri Power (NJPC) project in tribal Kinnaur district by five metres to bring the height to its proposed level of 65.5 metres. ...
... The Gujarat Agricultural University (GAU) has chalked out an ambitious plan of linking major rivers in the country that could prove a miraculous solution to the draught and flood ravaging the country seasonally. ...
... In the backdrop of river water disputes erupting with unfailing regularity and be-devilling relations between states, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu has proposed an ambitious Ganga-Cauvery link project as a permanent solution to drought in various states. ...
... Shortage of water both for irrigation and drinking is increasing in our country. The failure of monsoon and subsequent reduction of water bodies and ground water is a serious threat to agriculture. Several dams built during the green revolution to supply water for agriculture are unable to get water to their full capacity due to insufficient rainfall in the catchment areas. ...
... DEHRA DUN Even after two decades, Tehri dam oustees are still waiting for their rehabilitation problems to be addressed. ...
... FINANCE ministers and central bankers from around the world streamed into Washington late last week for the annual meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. They were shadowed by thousands of protesters who see the institutions as embodiments of fiscal policies that make globalization a destructive force and leave the world's most vulnerable people without the assistance they need. ...
... The state government has sanctioned Rs 36.56 crore for 16 reha- bilitation centres for the persons displaced from the Narmada Sagar project due to increase in the height of the dam. The sanction was made in the 77th high level meeting of Narmada Valley Development Authority, which was chaired by the Deputy Chief Minister Subhash Yadav on Friday. ...
... The state government will receive a loan of Rs 1,400 crore for multi-purpose Omkareshwar project jointly from a Japanese bank and Government of India (GoI). The GoI has already decided to release its share of fund under Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (AIBP). The guarantee for the Japanese bank loan has been taken by the Union government. The government has also released Rs 20 crore for the canals of Bansagar project. ...
... The state Cabinet presided over by Chief Minister Narendra Modi gave a green signal to the ambitious multi-purpose Kalpasar project conceived by former Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel at a meeting. The Cabinet while officially accepting the project estimated to cost of whopping Rs. 54,000 crores, decided to go ahead with the preparation of the final feasibility report on Kalpasar by constituting a core group of national and international experts to study the technical aspect. Necessary authority was also given to the care taker Chief Minister for taking decision for setting up the core group. Considering the estimated cost of Rs. 21,000 crores for the Narmada project, which is the biggest project of the country, the Kalpasar, if it materialises, will cost up to five times the amount as per preliminary estimates. ...
Feature Article: Digvijay Singh Talk Notes -
Narmada Action - 3 Oct 2002
Digvijay Singh (DVS), the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh (MP) visited the US early October and spoke at a few public meetings in Boston and in Palo Alto (Stanford). These notes were made by volunteers attending the Stanford talk. At both places, he was questioned on various human rights abuses against adivasis in MP. A flyer describing these issues- SSP, Maan, Maheshwar, Bhopal, HSTP, Dewas- was circulated to the audience. Some people also carried posters with pictures of the recent submergence in Domkhedi and Jalsindhi. DVS spoke for about 40 minutes and in the final part he talked about every single point on the flyer item by item.
* Narmada dams issue: Started with saying that Bargi dam has been constructed and is irrigating land and generating electricity. (Could not be challenged that the dam displaced close to 7000 families in about 160 villages out of which about 80 villages were fully submerged.As per a report of 1997. The dam irrigates about 5% of the land it wassupposed to irrigate and generates 85% of its claimed electric output. Also there were many problem when the reservior was filled up when between 50-70 villages that were not expecting submeregence got submerged!! "Kaise Jeebo Re!" Jharna Jhaveri/Anurag Singh's film talks about this. Info: http://www.narmada.org/nvdp.dams/bargi/bargi.html )
Also mis-characterized NBA's position as merely being anti-dam. Said that there are many pro-dam people. Talked about various other dam projects coming up in MP including Indira Sagar (previously Narmada Sagar) which the MP govt is constructing and said that people of Harsud were earlier feeling threatened by it and are now cooperating and supportive of the project. http://www.indianexpress.com/ie20020108/nat3.html) Then he talked about Maan dam. Said that people are being given a wonderful package and most of the people have taken it. He said they havea nice resettlement site at Aamkheda. Then specifically said that here NBA people don't want the dam and the people of Dhar want the benefits. This is a gross mispresentation. In the case of Maan dam the issue is of proper resettlement and rehabilitation for the people affected and not of "no dam". Here the dam has already been fully built. People need to be properly resettled and given fair compensation prior to submergence.
He mentioned in his speech that he has not violated any human rights ,if he had the human rights commission would take care of it When asked about forceful eviction of Maan dam oustees and the 29 day fast he said that the govt had to evict to avoid submrgence due to flooding,did not have an answer to the part 'that amnesty international condemned the human rights violation.
Then he talked about Maheshwar. He said that his predessesor as CM had an agreement with S. Kumar's to build Maheshwar dam. The project has run into trouble and we have asked S. Kumar's to so that there they have financial support latest by September 30th, after which the Govt. will take over (really ?). He also said that otherwise there is no problem with the project. Again these are blatant lies with the a whole host of partner and foreign investors that have abandoned S.Kumars, the indictment by the CAG, the defaulting on loans by S.Kumar's, the diversion of funds for the dam projects to other businesses by S.Kumars etc. Unfortunately the Maheshwar matter also went unchallenged because there was not enough time for Q&A.
On Sardar Sarvor he initially said we now know that the water flow in the Narmada is much lower than what was stated in Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal (NWDT) award. We (MP) tried to make this case to reduce the dam height by now the Supreme Court has said that the dam must be built to the full height and we have to go by that. Also said that MP has no land to resettle oustees with land for land policy and we have been giving cash compensation that many people are taking. He also mentioned that the Greviance Redressal Authority (GRA) is functioning and anyone with problems can go to the GRA.
Again a whole lot of this went unchallenged, because the increases in the height of the dam have occured with the active involvement and legal positions taken by the GoMP which would require statement to the status of resettlement and rehabilitation of project affected persons. As there are thousands of families that have not been resettled even at the current dam height, MP government has been complicit in misrepresenting and/or giving false data regarding status of R&R. So they are clearly violating even the flawed, unscientific and anti-people judgement of the Supreme Court of Oct 2000.)
* On Bhopal. He mentioned that even though they are not getting money from the centre, MP government is running hospital for affected people. Also said that the disaster happened, the Government of India (central govt) passed a law that GoI will be responsible for all the people affected by the disaster. This way he washed his hands off the Bhopal issue. However, he clearly has a responsiblity towards affected people of Bhopal who are citizens of MP and Bhopal the capital city where his govt. runs from. He has a clear responsibility to seek justice for his citizens and if they have grievances that are the responsibility of the GoI which have gone unfulfilled for the 9 years of DVS's tenure then he is accountable too if not directly than for not acting on their behalf, not securing justice for them, not suing the Central government for doing little etc.
*On Dewas atrocities. He said that there was tree-felling/forest cutting being done by the villages and this is in violation of the forest conservation laws and the govt had to take action. He said that people became violent/didn't want to stop that and so the adminstration had to resort to firing and four ppl where killed. Since then there's been no problem.
Again the facts are different. The task-force that terrorized the villages of Bagli tehsil was approved by a cabinet decision. Firing took place in lots of village so where people were shot dead in Mehendikeda. It was not the only incident that occurred. Destruction of property, houses, poisoning of food and water by the administration occured. When pressed about this, all DVS had to say was that I will show you around when you come to visit, I will take you there. And completely ignored answering the substantative issues.
* About Hoshangabad Science Teaching Program:
He said that HSTP has not show much in terms of performance etc. In the same breath he also said that he's made offer to Eklavya to expand the program in the rest of the state. Almost like too bad your are not performing in Hoshangabad and we're killing you but you are invited to expand the program thorough the state ... seemed rather ridiculous.
We later also went the North American Association of Madhyapradeshis meeting. This is a new organization that has been formed and DVS was inaugurating it yesterday evening. There must have been 150-200 people at this event. We also passed flyers here but the flyers did not circulate everywhere because the organizers wised up and stopped distribution in some rows.
Here DVS spoke longer, spoke in Hindi and harped much more on what wonder ful things have happened in areas of literacy, peoples health, IT for the masses, education etc. He also talked about the communal violence in Gujarat and how nothing happened in his state (not a single riot in 9 years of his administration). Didn't talk of the Narmada dams issue at all in this talk. Spoke about power and forest conservation through JFM again. Also made a comment about people should apply for land for starting good endeavors particularly for education/colleges etc and the govt was willing to give away land.
When questioned about the recent submergence, he started saying " you are great dissenters ,but you don't have solutions. Iam working with Gujarat to get a good package. You are talking only about Dam or No dam and that is a different issue.I told NBA also to take up the compensation package and take up the entire rehabilitation and I will give them the money, but that have not, I have been the only CM to listen to them". When we said that "land for land' is the law ,he said "we don't have land" He also said that most of the people have taken cash compensation and only NBA activists have not taken.
After the meeting adjourned, we managed to talk to him and all Narmada friends were around. He was saying that NBA people (we said we are not the NBA) are great dissenters but don't have any solutions. He said at one time he had asked Medha Patkarji and at another time Alok and Silvy (Chittaroopa Palit) to do the rehabilitation. When told about the fact that there was no land to resettle people and that it is the government's responsibility to resettle people and not the NBA's, he could not reply. DVS also saw the posters and said that none of the pictures of the submergence are from MP they are from Maharashtra. We said they are from Jalsindhi in MP and then he said Jalsindhi is in Maharashtra. When we taunted him he quickly corrected himself and said he knows Luhariya and Bava (in the photos on the poster) and that Jalsindhi was in MP and in Boston they had Domkhedi photos.
We then talked at length to the IndiaWest freelance reporter who had watched this with great interest from the side. Ani spoke to her about Narmada dams issue at length and also about Dewas giving her all the reports after the firing and all the photo graphs etc about that. Rajesh talked about Bhopal and Subashree (from ASHA) talked to the reporter about the Hoshangabad Science teaching program. Reporter claimed she was very impressed about how we manage to keep ourselves so informed and have all the data etc.
Atleast 1-2 people both at Stanford and the NAAM event came andthanked us for educating them about these issues and said that the reaction of DVS to the question itself suggested that these issues were genuine.