Supreme Court stresses on the Right to Land for the Sardar Sarovar Oustees

PRESS RELEASE 

For Immediate Release                                                                           28th September, 2015

Supreme Court dismisses Govt. of MP’s Application denying right to land to thousands of adult sons of Sardar Sarovar oustees

Right to land of every adult son as per 2000 & 2005 judgement remains intact

NBA welcomes Order: SC Order establishes that large scale pending R&R

New Delhi: In a significant Order, the Social Justice Bench of the Supreme Court comprising Jst. Madan Lokur and Jst. Uday Umesh Lalit today dismissed an Application filed by the Government of Madhya Pradesh (GoMP) / Narmada Valley Development Authority (NVDA) seeking a ‘modification / clarification’ of the Apex Court’s previous judgements of 2000 and 2005, thereby denying right to land of a few thousand adult sons of the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) affected farmers.

The Hon’ble Court held among other things that the Application by State of MP suffers from gross delay / laches having being filed many years after the judgements were issued (upholding the right to land of the SSP adult sons) and the rights / entitlements already accrued to the oustees in principle cannot be taken away. The Bench also had to take note of the fact that while the entitlement of most of the adult sons have already been recognized many many years ago, one set of oustees have been offered land / Special Rehabilitation Package (5.5. lakhs for 5 acres) since the judgement of 15/3/2005 of the Apex Court and another set of oustees are being denied the same; this would result in a clear violation of Article 14 of the Constitution which guarantees a fundamental right to equality. Terming this “not to be good governance”, the Court summarily dismissed the Application.

Arguing for the oustees, Adv. Sanjay Parikh stated that besides being un-maintainable, the Application is based on a gross misinterpretation of the 2011 judgement of the Apex Court, in the Omkareshwar Dam case, which is not applicable to the Sardar Sarovar oustees. He said that as per the Narmada Tribunal Award and the 2005, 2005 judgements, all adult sons are un-disputably entitled to 5 acres of cultivable and irrigable land. He also informed the Court that the NCA, R&R Sub-Group and the GRA, all 3 authorities concerned with the SSP oustees have already taken decisions / issues orders to the effect that the Omkareshwar judgement if not applicable on SSP and the SSP adult sons are entitled to land allotment separately.

NBA and all the SSP oustees welcome the Order of the Hon’ble Court which is not just an affirmation of the judgements of 2000 and 2005 of the Court, but also is a vindication of the rights and struggle of thousands of adivasis and other farmers, who have been waiting for land-based rehabilitation since many years and many of their families have also faced unlawful submergence in the previous years.

The effect of today’s order is that all the adult sons of the Sardar Sarovar Oustees would be entitled to and have to be allotted 5 acres of cultivable land separately. This includes hundreds of farmers who have been entangled in the fake registries scam (almost 2000 + oustees to be finalized by the Jst. Jha Commission), 1,500 oustees who been received only one instalment of cash but could not purchase land and hundreds of those who have been given uncultivable land out of the land bank. About 500 applications pending before the GRA (M.P.) can also now be immediately decided in the favour of the adult sons on the basis of today’s order.

The Respondents in this case were represented by Adv. Sanjay Parikh, assisted by Adv. Clifton Rozario and Adv. Ninni Susan and Medha Patkar, who is a petitioner-in-person in the connected matters. GoMP was represented by ASG Adv. Patwalia and the NCA by ASG Tushar Mehta.

Mukesh              Babu Awasya                      Rahul Yadav                  Contact Ph: 09179148973 

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Narmada Bachao Andolan,
Narmada-Ashish, Off Kasravad Road,

Navalpura, Badwani,
Madhya Pradesh – 451551
Ph: 07290-291464; Fax: 07290-222549
E-mail: medha.narmada@gmail.com ;
nba.medha@gmail.com
Twitter:     @medhanarmada
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4 Judge People’s Tribunal: ‘Development’ or Jaws of Death? Question Sardar Sarovar Oustees

Press Release                                                       12th September, 2015

Open Court Verdict in the Narmada Valley Dam increases! Submergence decreases? –

Fraud on the People,  Sardar Sarovar Dam Work Unlawful:

4 Judge People’s Tribunal  ‘Development’ or Jaws of Death? Question Sardar Sarovar Oustees

2 day Jan Adalat concludes: 4 Retired Justices call upon Supreme Court and Govt. of India to review the status of displacement, submergence and rehabilitation of Sardar Sarovar oustees

Rajghat / Badwani, M.P. Pronouncing their interim verdict in the presence of about 10,000 oustees of Sardar Sarovar Dam, based on their observations and assessment of the legal and field situation, a Panel of 4 retired Judges of various High Courts concluded gross violations of the Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal Award and Judgements of the Supreme Court. Speaking at the proceedings of the “Jan Adalat” organized by eminent citizens of the country, well-known Justices including Jst. P.C Jain (Rajasthan High Court), Jst. Nag Mohan Das (Karnataka High Court) and Jst. V.D. Gyani (Madhya Pradesh High Court) and Jst. N.K. Mody (Madhya Pradesh High Court) expressed grave concern at the displacement of about 2.5 lakh people due to the completion of the Dam and the mass violation of the constitutional right to life, destruction of livelihoods, as also wiping out of an entire culture and civilization.

They stated that the further dam work and installation of gates should not proceed in the present circumstances of clear evidence of multiple violations. Observing that the concerned authorities have miserably failed to comply with the provisions of the Award and the Apex court’ orders and have committed serious dereliction of legal obligations, they called for a serious review of the entire situation and a serious social-economic impact assessment. The Govt. and Apex Court must widen their horizons of ‘development’, in the light of the complex realities of the 30 years struggle of the Narmada valley, they said.

Reading out the operative part of their preliminary verdict, Jst. Jain exclaimed that the official claims of no additional submergence due to the current dam work is clearly unlawful and also unbelievable, since when the dam is being completed with the same original height, there is no reason why the submergence area would not increase ! Listening to testimonies of about 35 oustees they found that the Judgement of the Supreme Court dt. 18/10/200 and 15/3/2005 as well as several orders of the Grievance Redressal Authorities (GRAs). Jst Jain also said that the Government must await the Report of Jst. Jha Commission of Inquiry into Corruption in R&R before any further work is undertaken.

The 4 Justices urged the Social Justice Bench of the Apex Court to review its decisions and hearings in the light of the overwhelming evidence of legal violations and well as the obviously flawed “full rehabilitation” reports of the project authorities. The Jan Adalat specially acknowledged the valiant role of thousands of women warriors in the valley who have been keeping the torch of struggle aglow over the past 30 years.  These observations were made after hearing the depositions of about 35 oustees from the three states of M.P., Maharashtra and Gujarat, perusal of the NWDTA, various orders of the Apex Court, GRAs, interim reports of Jst. Jha Commission, official correspondence and intensive visit to various affected villages in the tehsils of Badwani, Kukshi, Manavar and Dharampuri yesterday.

The deponents before the Tribunal today included representatives of adivasis from the hilly and plain areas, other farmers who have been entangled in the fake registries scam, received meagre cash and denied land or given land from the land bank, landless oustees, including fish workers, potters, boatmen, small traders etc. Oustees from Maharashtra and Gujarat also expressed their grievances and pointed out to major violations.  The hearing was conduced in a completely formal manner, with a People’s Court set-up on the Narmada river bank at Rajghat and each oustee / deponent stood in the ‘dock’, as s/he deposed.

Bhagirath Dhangar spoke of the plight of hundreds of farmers, workers, small traders, shopkeepers, hawkers etc. whose lands and livelihoods are to be lost by the dam increase, with no alternative R&R in sight.   He questioned if the balance is indeed ‘0’, then how is it that the govt. fair price shops, panchayats, voting and even govt. licensed wine shops are functioning here? Mahesh Patel exposed the fraud in the name of back water levels due to which 16,000 families has been declared “out of submergence”. He said that all these unscientific claims would be blown up by Narmada herself and her fury into which 99 tributaries and 999 large darins flow. Fish worker families represented by Savabai (Pichhodi) & Madubhai (Chikalda) demanded fishing rights in the reservoir and alternative livelihood.  They said that fishing and riverine rights cannot be compensated in monetary terms.

Mr. Karan Yadav from Pipri read out the message from Mr. Ramesh Patel, the MLA of Badwani, admitting that governmental reports of R&R are patently false and that 99% oustees, still reside in the original villages awaiting R&R. Mr. Patel submitted a written demand to the Tribunal that the SSP gates should not be installed at this stage, without completion of R&R, as per law.  Meera spoke of the absolute failure and connivance of the elaborate machinery of monitoring and project authorities in complying with the Apex Court’s orders and demanded that all the clearances granted by the authorities are unlawful and need to be set aside by the Apex Court. Adv. Umesh stated that thousands of SSP oustees are now owners of the acquired lands/houses as per 2013 LAQ Act and Govt. dare not dispossess them.

Medha Patkar decried the massive violation of the rights of the Gram Sabhas in the constitutionally protected scheduled adivasi areas. She spoke of the possibilities of and need for a review even at this stage to avert the inhuman pauperization of 2.5 lakh people, for the benefits of corporates. “While displacement and disaster is planned by the State, development and rehabilitation is not” she said and concluded that continuation with the dam would mean a mass atrocity on the dalits and adivasis.

Shri Soumya Dutta, one of the members of the recent Fact-Finding Team to the Narmada valley (May, 2015), whose report has received wide attention and even alerted the Judges of a disaster in Narmada moderated the proceedings and shared with the Judicial panel, the findings of his Report co-authored by senior political leaders and experts including Hannan Mollah, Annie Raja, Dr. Sunilam, Raj Kchroo and Benoy Vishwam.

The Panel of Judges was invited by a team of distinguished citizens including Jst (Retd.) Rajinder Sacher [Retd. Chief Justice, Delhi High Court].; Syeda Hameed [Former Member, Planning Commission of India and National Commission for Women]; Sagar Sarhadi, Senior film maker, short story and play writer, writerdirector and producer; Prof. Anil Sadgopal, Eminent Educationalist and Founder, All India Forum on Right to Education.; Ramdas Bhatkal, Founder, Popular Prakashan, Mumbai and Senior Litterateur and Anand Patwardhan, Internationally Acclaimed Film Maker on Developmental and Human Rights Issues to hear the oustees and State agencies and give its findings on the legality of the decisions of the Government to pursue the dam work in the light of large number of complaints of denial of R&R.

Notably, the highest officials of the Central and State Governments including the Chairpersons of the NCA, R&R Sub Group and GRA, as well as the Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Commissioner of NVDA, Bhopal, Collector, Nandurbar (Mah) and Commissioner, SSPA (Guj) were invited on behalf of the Organizers, but as none of them turned up, their chairs were kept vacant !

The hearing today was preceded by a day-full of intensive visits yesterday to various villages including Khalghat, Dharampuri Township as well as Vill. Semalda (Teh. Manavar) and Villages Chhota Barda, Pipri and Chikalda, Kadmal-Khaparkheda (Tehsil Kukshi); where elderly persons and women who poured out their grievances of denial of R&R, poor quality amenities at the resettlement sites, massive corruption, unlawful submergence in 2012-13 etc. The hearing began with a homage to Shri. Ramaswamy Iyer who passed away 2 days ago. Madhuresh of NAPM remembered of him as a beacon, for decades, in the water-ecology sector, whose own life was enriched by his engagement with the SSP struggle, as a Govt. Member of the 5-Member Review Panel and later his valuable contributions to the water rights regime, acknowledged internationally.

Mukesh          Hirdaram           Rahul Yadav                     Leelabai

Contact Ph: 09179148973 / 09179617513

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Major issues put forth before the People’s Tribunal

Some of the major issues that the oustees from the three states put forth before the Tribunal are:-

  1. a) Representatives of tribals – farmer (Kailash Awasya-Vill Bhilkeda, Surbhan-Vill. Kakrana and Ghokru-Vill.Bhadal) spoke of the atrocities on adivasis in the hills and plains and demanded that oustees who have not accepted cash and have been given bad land, should be given good land and compensation as per the GRA’s orders. They rejected the cash grants, exposed fraud in the name of land bank and SRP and demanded cultivable land as well as interim relief.
  1. b)   Deven Tomar, Dayaram and Rahul Yadav exposed the 1,000 crore corruption scam due to the fake registries, house plot irregularities, sub-standard works at R&R sites, livelihood grant fraud and demanded that there must be no further dam work until the Report of Jst. Jha Commission is out.
  1. c) Devram Kanera stated that there are lots of reasons to review the SSP even at this state. When the dam cost has shot up from Rs. 4,000 crores to Rs. 90,000 crores., why cannot there be a comprehensive review? Why not search for alternatives, he questioned ?
  1. d) Bhagiram (Piplud) and Mohan (Kundiya) who have been given only one instalment of the Special Rehabilitation Package refused the meagre cash grants, asserted the right to land of 1500 oustees like them and also of the 2000+ oustees those who have been entangled in fake registries scam or have been given only meagre cash in lieu of land.
  1. e) Representatives of landless and fish families including Pemal (Dhanora) refused the meagre cash grants as “rehabilitation” and stated that more than 10,000 families like hers are entitled to stable and sustainable alternative livelihood. She demanded that the middlemen should be completely eliminated from the R&R process.
  1. f) Sanobar Bi spoke of the impacts of Displacement, Denial of R&R and Implications for women and the unique situation of river-dependent women farmers, widows, single women.
  1. g) Haribhai, an old encroacher from Vill. Segava stated that hundreds of old encroachers on government land entitled to R&R are being denied land, since decades.
  1. h) Fish worker families represented by Savabai (Pichhodi) and Madhubhai (Chikalda) demanded fishing rights in the reservoir and alternative livelihood.  They said that fishing rights, river bed cultivations, boating rights etc. cannot be compensated in monetary terms. Madubhai also questioned the illegality of the GRA’s orders denying compensation for the 2012-13 submergence on the ground that submergence was due to the Omkareshwar dam waters, although the impact was due to the SP dam wall of 121.92 mts.
  1. i) Ramesh Prajapati from Nisarpur demanded recognition of the rights of the potters with alternative land for the brick kilns and the narrated the woes of potters due to frequent problems faced from the local administration.
  1. j) Mohan Patidar deposed on the status of villages like Bhavaria, Malangaon, Sondil etc. where entire hamlets are to become marooned (tapu – affected), but no surveys have been done in M.P. and no R&R entitlements have been given till date.
  1. k) Balram Kevat demanded livelihood rights for the generations, 5,000 strong old boats-men community affected by the SSP and other dams on Narmada.
  1. l) Shantabai warned of disasters worse than Nepal and Uttarakhand if the nature’s laws are are ignored and ecologically unsound projects like large dams or river linking is pursued !
  1. m) Bhagirath Dhangar (Chikalda) spoke of the plight of hundreds of small traders, shopkeepers, hawkers, artisans, tailors whose livelihoods are to be lost by the dam increase, with no alternative R&R in sight.   He said if the balance is indeed 0, then how is it that the govt. fair price shops, panchayts, voting and even govt. licensed wine shops function here ?
  1. n) Mahesh Patel (Vill. Kundiya) exposed the fraud in the name of back water levels due to which 16,000 families has been wrongly declared as “out of submergence”. He said that all these claims are unlawful and will be exposed by Narmada herself and her fury into which 99 tributaries and 999 large drains flow.
  1. o) Madan Alave (Pichhodi) stated that hundreds of tribal and other small farmers who are losing lands even for the R&R sites are denied land-based R&R. How can rehabilitation be complete without giving us land, he asked.
  1. p) Noorji Padvi (Vill. Danel) and Punya Vasave (Somaval R&R site), Maharashtra along with Yogini stated that when not less than 1200 oustees in Maharashtra, mostly affected under 121.92 mts, even at 80 mts are yet to be rehabilitated, how can the Governments claim “full or even substantial compliance”. Good land, irrigation facilities, house plots, compensation etc. are yet to be given to hundreds. The self-contradictory affidavits of the GoM before the Apex Court expose the fraud, they said.
  1. q) Lakhan Musafir, with Chaintamani and Shankar Kagda from Gujarat deposed about the status of the oustees in Gujarat and they stated that while hundred affected since decades are yet to be rehabilitated and still face problems at the R&R Sites such as denial of quality land, civic amenities etc, thousands more are to be affected in the name of  tourism projects, Garudeshwar weir, Sardar Patel Statue of Unity, Bharat Bhavan, Naar-Paar River Link Project etc.  Unique Problems of Project-affected in Gujarat: 6 Colony-Affected, Oustees due to Tourism plans, Garudeshwar weir,. – Costs and Benefits of SSP
  1. r) Vikram Verma and Mansaram Jat decried the massive impact to be caused on the Dharampuri township where not less than 10,000 people reside and Govt. claims that thousands are now suddenly ‘out of submergence’. Mr. Jat appealed to “My Lords” to ensure that the villages and real India survive.
  1. s) Mukesh and Jagish Patidar spoke of the further destruction to be caused by the canals in the irrigated villages, affected by SSP and Maheshwar dams close to Narmada and stated that while the Apex Court and Expert Committees have been looking into the violations, many grievances are still not fully resolved.
  1. t) Umesh Patidar drew the Panel’s attention to the fact that thousands of oustees have become absolute owners as per Sec 24(2) New Land Acquisition Act, 2013 and their lands should neither be submerged nor they be dispossessed without due legal process.
  1. u) Tukaram of Jagrit Adivasi Dalit Sangathan demanded that there should be a complete moratorium on large dams and only small projects in the interests of the farmers, workers and environment must be pursued

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Narmada Bachao Andolan,
Narmada-Ashish, Off Kasravad Road,

Navalpura, Badwani,

Madhya Pradesh – 451551
Ph: 07290-291464; Fax: 07290-222549
E-mail: medha.narmada@gmail.com ;
nba.medha@gmail.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MedhaPatkarNBA

Twitter:     @medhanarmada

Blog:        http://narmadabachaoandolan.wordpress.com/

National Alliance of People’s Movements
National Office: Room No. 29-30, 1st floor, ‘A’ Wing, Haji Habib Bldg, Naigaon Cross Road, Dadar (E), Mumbai – 400 014;

6/6, Jangpura B, Mathura Road, New Delhi – 110014
Phone : 011 2435 4737
E-mail: napmindia@gmail.com  | Web : www.napm-india.org

www.facbook.com/napmindia | @napmindia

6-12 August, 2015 – Padyatra (Footmarch), Khalghat to Rajghat, (in Badwani) Narmada Valley

Stop the Jal-Samadhi of the 2.5 lakh people affected by Sardar Sarovar Dam

6-12 August, 2015 – Padyatra (Footmarch),

Khalghat to Rajghat, (in Badwani) Narmada Valley

Against Development Terrorism and Destructive Displacement

12 August onwards… Jeevan Adhikar Satyagrah (Right to Life)

Dear friends,

Despite the continuous struggle for 30 years in the Narmada Valley, the lives of tribal farmers, fisherfolks, workers and others is under grave threat. With raising the height of Sardar Sarovar Dam, water can flood villages spread upto 214 kilometers and submerge houses, farmers, shops, schools, temples & mosques, lacs of trees. This is a challenge for thousands of families. After every legal and field battle, about 11,000 families would get land but the rest are still without it. Thousands of adivasis, farmers, labourers, fishworkers and potters, those who have struggled for justice, legal and human, will be ousted and displaced. All of them need the support of those who stood by us and shared their energy, who witnessed the years of struggle, who collided with the rulers, who sang songs with us, who wrote, analysed and spread the voice, vision and the truth of the people’s struggle in Narmada, across the world.

All those who used the power of their pen and voice, our friends and allies, people’s groups, young & old, writers, journalists, film makers and other citizens, come together to raise your voice before these rains, against the corporate supported decision by Modi government that will drown and affect thousands of families from 245 villages without rehabilitation.

At the height of 122 mts, Sardar Sarovar Dam has already glutted thousands of hectares of land and submerged hundreds of houses. Right now, Dam height is being raised to 138.68 mts, and a lot of construction work is nearly complete, gates are yet to be put up flouting the decisions of the Supreme Court, ignoring laws and policy and plans, rehabilitation and environmental protection. Just the hilly adivasi areas and plains of Nimad that comprise of densely populated villages and a township, can face a watery grave. All sensitive and concerned citizens and organisations are bound to challenge this!

Every issue related to this dam is an issue related to development – the issue of grabbing thousands of hectares of land, hollow commitments of rehabilitation, left half way and corruption, save the culture and environment of the Valley, diversion of land and water worth crores; to corporations against peasants and other poor. These questions are in resonance with those of the common people and workers of the country and other concerned citizens.

We appeal to you all, the concerned citizens of this nation, to join us at this critical time where Narmada Valley is struggling for its life and death. Join us and sit with us to plan a way ahead and the direction. Stay and walk with us to understand the life in the Valley, truth of rehabilitation and corruption, the status of the dam and other truths.

We will march from 6th of August, from Khalghat, on the banks of Narmada, on a footmarch through the partly affected and to be submerged villages and talk about various people’s struggles, will remember Hiroshima while walking through Khalghat (on the Agra-Mumbai road, 2 hrs from Indore) to Rajghat. Please come and join to judge whether villages have been rehabilitated? Whose facts are right – people’s or rulers’? Join us to see and understand the challenges faced by the people who have followed truth and constitutional path vis a vis the powers all out to submerge. Hear from the people, monitor the water-level yourself and witness the fraud committed….

On 12th of August, we will reach Rajghat, on the banks of Narmada, near Gandhi Samadhi (District Badwani), and begin the indefinite Satyagraha for Right to Life.

Come and Join Us! If not now, then When?

How to reach Khalghat:- The Intercity Express train each night at 10.15 pm from Nizamuddin Railway station (Delhi) to reach Indore at 12:00 pm… and Avantika Express train from Mumbai. The sarvate bus stand is located, at a distance of 10 minutes from Indore Rly Stn. Every 30 minutes, buses leave for Khalghat and Badwani. Buses ply to khalghat from Indore, Dhule, Khandwa, Pune, Baroda and also Mumbai. Khalghat is on Mumbai-Agra highway. Badwani is 1.5 hrs. From Badwani.

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For more information and planning your itinerary please contact-

Badwani contact:- Meera 09179148973, Mukesh 09826811982,

Delhi contact:- VimalBhai 09718479517, Shabnam 09643349452, Sanjeev Kumar 09958797409, Amit 0848694483

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Press Release: “NARMADA KI AAWAZ” 30 Years of Struggle – 17-18 July, 2015 at Jantar Mantar

Press Release

 “NARMADA KI AAWAZ”  30 Years of Struggle

17-18 July, 2015 at Jantar Mantar

New Delhi (17th July 2015) : Hundreds of people from the Sardar Sarovar Project affected regions in the Narmada valley marched to Jantar Mantar at Delhi for a 2-day protest against raising of the height of the Sardar Sarovar Dam and denial of the rehabilitation  of the oustees. People danced to the beats of the drums, children played flutes and everyone danced in the rain while Medha Patkar announced that the ‘Dhol’ will not stop till the end of protest, the evening of 17th July.

The meeting saw Medha Patkar, several activists and political leaders including Mr. Hannan Mollah, Ms. Annie Raja, Anil Chaudhary, Swami Agnivesh, Sagari Chaabra, Kavita Krishnan addressing the rally. This year also marks 30 years of resilient struggle of the Narmada Bachao Andolan, which continues its battle to safeguard the lives and livelihoods of thousands of dalits, adivasis and other communities in the Narmada region, in the states of Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.

One of the first measures of the NDA government after coming to power in May 2014 was to raise the height of SSP by 17 mts to its final height of 138.68 metres. This is in direct violation of the Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal (NWDT) which disallows any further displacement before complete rehabilitation in the Narmada Valley. The recent fact-finding report titled “Drowning a Valley – Destroying a Civilization” points to the grave implications of this move – set to unleash an unprecedented displacement on an estimated 2.5 lakh families in 245 villages in the 3 states.

Addressing the press, veteran activist Medha Patkar pointed out the large irregularities, manipulations and ongoing corruption in the Narmada valley; including those in disbursement of compensation to farmers and other affected people. Drawing comparisons, she said that the scams are even bigger than the recently exposed ‘Vyapam Scam’, which has already put the Madhya Pradesh government and the Narendra Modi-led NDA government under the scanner and attracted widespread attention. She continued with the demand for land in place of land for all displaced families.

The Fact Finding Report brought forth by the Central Fact Finding Committee comprising of senior political leaders, public personalities and experts such as Mr. Hannan Mollah, Ms. Annie Raja, Mr. Binoy Viswam, Dr. Sunilam, Prof. Raj Kachroo and Mr. Soumya Dutta were distributed to the press. The report prepared after their visit in the valley reveals numerous violations and non-compliance of judicial orders, inaccurate surveys, massive corruption and denial of justice to those forced to suffer for a misplaced cause of ‘development’. Furthermore, it inquires into the beneficiaries of the project, as media reports raise questions about water diversion for industrial use. This, when the stated purpose for the dam, constructed at a cost of over Rs. 90,000 crores and incalculable human and environmental loss, was to provide water to the people of Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.

It was pointed out that more than 6000 families today await a watery grave as their house, livestock and fertile agricultural land are soon to be submerged, even when the Supreme Court is still to give its verdict on the legality of the ongoing construction at Sardar Sarovar Dam. Following the mammoth catastrophe in Nepal and Uttarakhand, SSP-affected people from the valley have urged activists, environmentalists, policy-makers and the governments to take cognizance of maintaining ecological balance, for the lives and livelihoods of more than 2.5 lakh families, already facing massive devastation.

Veteran journalist Kuldip Nayyar lamented the lack of interest among the elected representatives of the parliament in raising these crucial issues. He expressed his solidarity with the movement and also emphasized the need for support from the various sections of the society, including the middle class intelligentsia.

Ms. Annie Raja, General Secretary of National Federation of Indian Women (NFIW) stated that the people in Narmada Valley have fought on for 30 years now, not accepting compensation even under pressure and negligence from the administration, with constant ignoring of basic amenities like education and healthcare from the administration. Even after forcing large dams without consent, the people get no benefit and the water is being diverted to the multinational companies, allowing them to make extensive profits over the lives of people.

Hannan Mollah, General Secretary, All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) raised the failure of the central government in addressing the issues of the farmers. Referring to the forced passing of Land Acquisition (Amendment) Bill through ordinances, he said that the national alliance for land rights, Bhumi Adhikar Andolan, extends all support to the Narmada movement. The Bhumi Adhikar Andolan will continue to raise the demands for land distribution and land reform programmes for the most marginalised sections of the society, and stand firmly against corporate land grab.

SSP-affected Chimalkhedi village in Maharashtra saw a suicide on 9th June committed due to non-rehabilitation. Displacement induced huge financial distress to the families and other prominent members in the protest raised fears that a similar trend may follow across the Narmada Valley.

The Narmada Bachao Andolan plans to intensify the struggle with satygraha, yatras and other public awareness campaigns to highlight the plight of people in the Narmada Valley, the malpractices and administrative negligence, and the need for advocating the rights of indigenous people over natural resources. A delegation met the Secretary of the Social Justice Ministry and insisted that she visits the valley. She noticed the disconnect between decisions taken and the lack of rehabilitation which has been proved from the official documents.

Pemabhai, Sababehen, Noorji Padbi, Sanjeev Kumar, Vimalbhai