Mr. Atal Behari Vajpayee,
Prime Minister of India
7 race Course Road
New Delhi, India
Dear Prime Minister
On behalf of the Canadian Union of Postal workers I am writing you over the imminent death of the Narmada Valley. We sincerely hope that your government will reverse this unjust project.
A decision to forge ahead with the project:
We can appreciate the shock and anger experienced by the residents of the valley who face losing their homes. The government has proven itself unable to provide suitable land to replace the fertile valley they have known for generations. The residents of these villages should not be forced to pay for so called development that will not benefit them.
The recent judgement ignores the issue of displacement and unavailable land. We fear that the courts have overlooked government incapacity to provide for it's citizens, and uses an overly technical and legalistic framework that does not allow for human, social and environmental concerns.
It has been reported that the Rehabilitation (R & R) and Environmental Sub-groups have frequently been biased. Even the minority judgement states: "the many interim orders that this Court made in the years in which this writ petition has been pending show how very little had been done in regard to the relief and rehabilitation of those ousted..."
We have also noted with alarm these past few days the comments of the home Minister Shri Advani that "foreign" powers could be behind the anti-dam forces. In fact, we watch the struggle for the Narmada Valley with admiration for those unwilling to surrender a way of life in the face of huge obstacles. If any help has taken place, it has been to our benefit as we apply these lessons in dignity to our struggles.
I assure you that the Canadian government has no lessons to give when it comes to large dam projects and the flooding of traditional lands. Given our experience in Canada we are urging you to reconsider the decision to proceed in order to protect a much more valuable resource: the people and land of Narmada. We believe that the Indian government has an opportunity to show the world that there are other more positive forms of development that can be pursued and not to repeat past mistakes.
Thank you for hearing our concerns.
Canadian Union of Postal Workers
Mr. KR Narayanan, President of India, Rashtrapati Bhawan, New Delhi, India 91-11-3019545
Chief Minister, Government of Maharashtra, Mantralaya, Mumbai, India 91-22-2029214
Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Vallab Bhawan, Bhopal, India 91-755-540501
Chief Minister, Government of Gujarat, Secretariat, Gandhinager, India 91-2712-22101
Ambassador to Canada
Indian Union of Postal Workers
Canadian Labour Congress
All urs, specialists, locals and National Executive Board