UPDATE: SARDAR SAROVAR PROJECT - DENIAL OF RIGHTS!

Present Height of the Sardar Sarovar dam: 90m (+ 3m speed humps)

Further construction stayed for want of clearance from the Resettlement and Environment Sub-groups of Narmada Control Authority

Balance families to be affected by the dam, according to official statistics, is above 30,000 families while NBA believes that atleast 40000 families remain. Even the 25% affected families who have been resettled (and them too in 22 years!) are at best relocated and not rehabilitated with most facing serious problems at the resettlement sites.

The number of families who will be irreversibly affected but remain out of the Government definition of 'project affected' is: Canals (25,000 families), Shoolpaneshwar Sanctuary (9,000 - 10,000 families), Kewadia Colony (950 - 1,000 families), compensatory afforestation and other catchment area treatment works (3,000 families).

Resettlement at 90m: Officially all affected families at this height have been resettled. However, NBA has conducted surveys of the 66 affected villages at this height and submitted the same to Narmada Control Authority. The verification of these lists is presently underway in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.

Balance PAFs at 90m:                 Maharashtra - 1061 families

                                                            Madhya Pradesh - 1960 families

                                                            Gujarat - 195 families

                                                           

                                                            Total - 3216 families

For the resettlement of affected families the Governments have agreed upon ex-parte allotment i.e. allotment of land and house plots to a family without them having seen or expressed consent for the same! At 90m about 900 families have been allotted ex-parte, none of whom have taken possession even today and it is obvious that they will never do so. NBA has condemned this practice and has demanded that it be revoked immediately. The Government of Maharashtra has taken a decision to withdraw this practice after the Justice Daud Committee (Government appointed to assess status of resettlement) recommended in its report that the process was flawed.

Resettlement at 100m: Officially the number of families to be resettled is 3589 families (in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat).

No Land: Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh have openly admitted that they have no land available while Gujarat claims availability of land. Verification of this land proves that the land is uncultivable in most parts. Madhya Pradesh have suggested amendment to the Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal Award to include cash compensation instead of land-based resettlement. This proposal is yet to be approved and is in violation of the basic essence of the Tribunal Award. Incidentally the Supreme Court in its final judgement has upheld the land-based resettlement according to the Tribunal Award. Shri Dilipsingh Bhuria, Chairman of the National Commission on Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, had held a public hearing of the Commission in Nimgavan village in Maharashtra in 2001. Pursuant to this the Chairman called a meeting in New Delhi, which was attended by all concerned senior officials from all the concerned States and authorities including the NCA where he has “…emphasised that displaced persons must be given land in lieu of acquired land…”

In Madhya Pradesh, for the resettlement of the affected families below 100 meters, the number of sites officially required is 34 while at present only 9 are ready. Even the acquiring of lands that will be submerged if the dam height is increased is yet to be completed!

Changing parameters:

Increasing number of affected families

        - Maharashtra : -            The survey to ascertain the actual number of families is on by the Task Force (Government appointed Committee) and it is clear that the number of families will increase.

       - Madhya Pradesh : -            The number of affected families has increased from 33014 families to 35716 families and will increase 'by few thousands more' according to NCA and Madhya Pradesh officials.

Increasing area of Submergence

       - Maharashtra : -            The Task Force has also been assigned the task to ascertain if more villages and / or tribal hamlets will be affected. There is definitely going to be an increase in not just the number of hamlets but number of villages as well.

       - Madhya Pradesh : -            The area of submergence has increased by 2703 hectares (12.75%) and may further increase.

MAJOR DEVELOPMENTS IN MAHARASHTRA

LAND RIGHTS:-

The Government has agreed that the land rights of adivasis in the submergence and upper (beyond submergence levels) villages has been denied till now and this situation would have to be immediately rectified.

To this extent the Government has agreed to confer due land rights to the adivasis of 73 village in Akrani tahsil, Nandurbar district (including 24 villages affected by submergence) by completing the basic land settlement process. In a case filed by NBA in the Mumbai High Court the Maharashtra Government has been directed to send a proposal to the Ministry of Forests and Environment in this regard.

The Government has also agreed to regularize forest cultivations in Nandurbar district by setting up an Inquiry Committee as per the directions of the Supreme Court in the case of Pradip Prabhu Vs Government of Maharashtra in 1995. In the first week of October the Committee was set up under the chairmanship of Shri Devgere, Additional Collector and it would complete its task expeditiously. The work of this Committee is proceeding well and should be completed in the next few months.

Jst. DAUD COMMITTEE REPORT:-

The Government has taken a positive decision the recommendations of the Daud Committee (May 2000), in a cabinet meeting. The decisions made include:

The Government has agreed to complete the basic settlement of land rights within 3 months. The Government has agreed to grant legal titles to the forest cultivations of adivasis within 3 months.

A fresh village-wise household survey will be carried out by a Task Force, comprising officials, affected people and activists to ascertain the actual number of affected families at 90m, 93m, 100m and full dam height (138.68m). The Task Force has been set up and has completed the resurvey the nine submergence villages and two resettlement sites (Surveys of 24 villages and 3 resettlement sites and sites in Gujarat where Maharashtra oustess have been shifted now remains to be completed). This Task Force will also verify the submergence levels to ascertain the number of villages / hamlets affected by submergence or liable to become islands (tapus), socially and physically unviable units. The Task Force will complete all its tasks in the next two months.

The Government has conceded that the Master Plan for rehabilitation has not been formulated yet and for this a Planning Group has been set up including representatives from NBA and PSS. A minister-level Overview Committee has also been formed to oversee the planning and implementation of the Master Plan and the entire process.

In the event of displacement and / or submergence having taken place without resettlement then no further construction of the dam will be permitted. This has already been communicated to the NCA.

The Government has agreed not to practice ex-parte allotment of land hereafter.

Give Rs 3000 / acre / year to each affected family who have not still received land inspite of having been already affected by displacement/ submergence.

Narmada Bachao Andolan February 2002 New Delhi