“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
16 April, 2015
A.Coal & Energy
C.Land, Water & Forest
Narmada: 30 Years of Resilience – a Calendar
(April 2015-March 2016)
Narmada Bachao Andolan (Save the Narmada Movement) has completed 30 years of its history and innumerable struggles. The Delhi Solidarity Group is celebrating this great event it by bringing out a calendar.
Thirty long years of NBA’s arduous struggles against the construction of mega-dams on the River Narmada for social and environmental justice, today stands out as one of the most important symbol of peoples’ struggles in India. Non-violence and civil disobedience embodied in the Narmada Bachao Andolan is a collective history of innumerable rallies, hundreds of hunger strikes, sit-in protests, dharnas, gheraos, public meetings, folk songs, street plays and dances which have all formed part of the struggle that asserted the right of the people to their land, water and forests and set a precedent for a large number of other social movements in India. This mammoth collective history needs to be recorded in a visual form and disseminated to the people who are concerned about unjust development practices.
The Narmada calendar would feature the trajectories and the contours of the movement around the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) with hundreds of protests, hunger strikes, rallies, dharnas, police atrocities, court interventions, landmark judgments and protests against the involvement World Bank. The calendar would also feature photographs, banners, slogans etc., to bring alive some of the remarkable events in its history. This calendar is not just any other calendar, but a chronicle of thirty years of peoples’ struggle in the Narmada Valley.
We would like to invite you to be part of this great movement and participate in spreading the message of non-violent struggles for a just and equitable society.
The Calendar is priced at Rs. 300/- per copy. Dimensions: 15” X 20”
The proceeds from the sale of the calendar would go to Narmada Bachao Andolan.
Contributions to the Calendar can be made by cheque or DD (payable at New Delhi) in favour of: Intercultural Resources
Please send your contributions to: Intercultural Resources, 33-D, DDA SFS Flats, Vijaymandal Enclave, New Delhi – 110016
Please place your orders by 20th of March, 2015. Spread the word around!
Write to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanking you and looking forward to receive your orders.
With warm regards
For Delhi Solidarity Group
A.Coal & Energy
C.Land, Water & Forest
Union Water Resources and Social Justice Ministers Uma Bharti and Thavar Chand Gehlot meet Narmada Oustee’s Delegation. Assure that the NCA and Rehabilitation Sub Group will look into the demands, before taking further action
Hundreds of protesters issue strong warning to NDA Govt
CPM, Congress and AAP express solidarity with SSP Oustees
Group of MPs and Distinguished Citizens to visit Narmada valley before monsoon session
New Delhi, June 25 : The two day ‘Chetavni Dharna’ of hundreds of Sardar Sarovar Project affected families at Jantar Mantar concluded today with a strong warning to the Prime Minister and NDA Govt. to undertake a serious review of the illegal decision to raise the height of the Sardar Sarovar Project and assess the true costs and benefits of the Project, which is to cost Rs. 90000 crores, while the Govt. has decided to submerge 2.5 lakh people in the valley. In the name of Kutch and Saurashtra, Gujarat plans to dole out lakhs of hectares of command area land and water to the corporates and industries.
Briefing two key concerned Union Ministers Smt. Uma Bharti, Water Resources Ministry and Shri Thavaar Chand Gehlot, Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry, Medha Patkar and delegation exposed the illegality of decisions of NCA and clearance to the project by the sub-groups (Environment and R&R), on the basis of official documents, court orders and Ministerial correspondence and in violation of Court order.
Ms. Bharti accepted and directed the officials of the Narmada Control Authority to look in to the serious issues pointed out by the team and review the decisions in a participatory manner. We also learned that Mr. Gehlot was wrongly briefed by officials that the recent decision was in “compliance” of the Supreme court judgement while the reality is diametrically opposite and clearance to the dam is utter violation of the court.
Earlier in the day, Medha Patkar, Yogendra Yadav, AAP; Prashant Bhushan, Supreme Court lawyer, Nikhil Dey, of National Campaign for People’s Right to Information addressed the press. Mr. Bhushan condemned the fast – track clearance approach of the Modi Government in all matters and attempt to quell the voice of people’s movements, who are actually trying to raise real people’s issues in the country and challenge undemocratic decisions, as also loot of exchequer by massive corruption and corporate pandering.
Mr. Yogendra Yadav, pointed out that the SSP decision is not just one step by the NDA Govt. but is fully indicative of the approach of Mr. Modi, which they would like to continue for 5 years. This means decisions would be towards destroying environment, suppressing the legitimate rights and voice of people. He challenged the Govt. against submerging hundreds of villages while 1000 crore judicial inquiry into R&R corruption is ongoing and called the country’s aam aadmi and aam aurat to stand up against every undemocratic decision of the new government.
Medha Patkar expressed shock at the fact that decision of the Narmada Control Authority, is basically a political decision pushed by Mr. Narendra Modi, in violation of not just law and contempt of court, but also by bypassing the three concerned Union Ministers, Uma Bharti, Thavaar Chand Gehlot and Prakash Javdekar, all from Madhya Pradesh who had virtually no role in the decision making process. She urged Mr. Modi to face the reality, face, hear the people and come forward for a comprehensive review of the entire project, a duty which is bound, as Prime Minister of India.
Nikhil Dey, of NCPRI denounced those ministers who call themselves deshbhakts but actually work against the interests of the people, if acche din would come then it will for few people at the cost of bure din of millions of poor people. He expressed hope that the time is not far away when they will rise against this tyranny.
Brinda Karat, a long time voice of CPIM inside the Parliament and outside, openly challenged the arbitrary and anti people decisions of Modi Sarkar, be it the 14% rail fare hike, proposals to dilute labour laws of the country as also the move to drown 2.5 lakh people in the three states organized under a three decade old non-violent social movement. She recalled that even in 2006 the CPM supported the Narmda struggle, but over the past 8 years, not rehabilitation, but huge corruption in M.P. and corporatization in the garb of ‘dam’ and ‘development’ has been pushed.
Gautam Mody, Secretary of NTUI lent support to the struggle and called for coming together of farmers, workers and industrial labour to challenge the corporate agenda and the time has come when every people’s movement in the country have to start talking to each other and understand the deep rooted inter-linkages of the issues and tyranny of the political class.
People raised slogans that the country does not belong to Ambanis and Adanis but to aam aadmi and adivsis, the farmers, fisherpeople, workers, small traders and toiling masses,who represent 90% of the country’s population.
Speaking at the protest, Supreme Court Lawyer Sanjay Parikh stated that the stipulation of the Narmada Award and Supreme Court has been fully violated by the Governments, especially Madhya Pradesh where the illegal policy of encashment has led to absolute loot of tribasls and poor people and massive corruption.
Alok Agrawal, struggling for the rights of oustees for Indira Sagar, Omkareshwar etc for more than 20 years challenged the illegality in dam after dam including SSP and called for a complete review of the cascade of dams on the Narmada which is displacing lakhs of family and submerging lakhs of hectares of forest and agricultural land. Advocate Clifton D’Rozario, Organising Secretary AICCTTU, told the gathering that time has come again for the tillers and toilers to stand up against the ihuman displacement and provide an example to movements of this country.
Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal arrived at the protest yesterday and expressed full solidarity with the struggle and promised that their party would raise the issues both inside the Parliament and also across the country.
A team of MPs and distinguished citizens would visit the valley very soon, mostly before the beginning of the Monsoon session, to raise the issues both within the country and also at every national fora. Modi led Modi Govt.
Protest actions were also held in different cities of Mumbai, Pune by support groups and memorandums to the president were given.
Concluding the two day dharna, a mashaal juloos was undertaken by the protesters and was resolved that satyagraha will be held in every village of the submergence area,where thousands of families,schools, temples, mosques, ghats, markets, panchayats, lakhs of trees etc. still exit.
Meera, Bhagirath Dhangar, Yogini Khanolkar, Kailash Awasya, Kamla Yadav
Contact : 9818905316
GHAR BACHAO GHAR BANAO ANDOLAN
c/o NAPM, Room No 29-30, Ist Floor, A Wing, haji Habib Building, Naigaon Cross Road, Dadar (E), Mumbai 14
Press Release 21st May 2014
UNLAWFUL DEMOLITION OF 130 HOMES, 600 RENDERED HOMELESS
Slum dwellers start Satyagraha asserting their right to shelter: Aam Aadmi Party to support
National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) condemns the unlawful eviction of 600 people and brutal demolition of 130 homes that took place at 90 ft. Road, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Nagar, Mulund (E), Mumbai yesterday, May 20th.
In January 2013, Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan had set up an enquiry commission to curb corrupt practices plaguing 6 SRA (Slum Rehabilitation Authority) projects and Re-development plans in slum areas of Mumbai after local residents had exposed the irregularities. The commission was led by Mr. Debashish Chakrabarty, Principal Secretary (Housing).
It is after 1 year and 5 months of investigation that Mr Chakrabarty submitted his report to Chief Minister in which it is concluded that the slum dwellers should approach the Additional Collector for getting the eligibility issue resolved, and for other issues they are asked to submit their application to the SRA who would give an hearing and settle the issues. All this is yet to happen. It is also not clear that whether the CM has approved the report however the report is recently received by NAPM and the NAPM was to act on the same. It is therefore absolutely unjustifiable that the houses are demolished without serving the purpose of the enquiry itself.
While the enquiry is extra-ordinarily delayed, Samarth Spark Developers have used this opportunity to their own advantage, which is grabbing land by displacing the poor. First, they have cleverly manipulated the law by prompting Ashtabhuja Society to file a case against them (vide writ petition 647/2014 date. 03.04.2014) as a result of which the High Court has ordered demolition of these houses. Whether the court was kept in dark about the enquiry commission or not, its judgement has led to the demolition even before the enquiry’s final findings. Then, in cahoots with the local administration, they’ve carried out the demolition before the victims could take recourse to law.
Demolitions were carried out in the early hours of morning by Tehsildar Smt. Dalvi under direct orders from Deputy Collector Ravi Patil.
Out of the 136 demolished homes, 16 were unsurveyed and hence didn’t qualify for demolition.
Out of the demolished houses 111 didn’t qualify under the 1/1/95 cut-off for slum dwellings but they were to be in the process of getting declared as eligible since the government had decided to increase the 95 cut-off to the year 2000. [‘Free housing for slumdwellers till 2000’ |TNN | Jan 3, 2012]. The Deputy Collector was well-informed about this process but went ahead with the demolitions showing clear bias for the builder fraternity at the cost of urban poor. It is thus clear that the election promises to the urban poor in Mumbai have already forgotten and the politicians are back to their unjustice & illegal practices.
Ten households which were legal structure, but had denied rehabilitation in transit camps were also evicted. Their inability to move into the transit camp was again an administrative blunder as the camp was situated on disputed land (public playground). In any case the transit camp are in a very bad condition and while others are compelled to stay there this households had demanded a legal and liveable transit accommodation. Such high-handedness is unacceptable in any civilized society and can only lead to further disenchantment of the people from administrative machinery and alienation from recourse to law. Other households have been demanding their inclusion in the housing scheme of ashtabhuja society as project affected person (PAPs) since this was accepted by the ashtabhuja society when they were granted the land for the housing project inspite of about 600 families living on the land at the time of allotment.
Ms Medha patkar had called and spoken to Chief Minister asking him to intervene in the matter and not to permit eviction and demolition of houses till the process of enquiry is completed and justice is assured. He had promised to do the same but with no avail.
Eviction notices were handed out on 19th May, 2014 at 1 PM. Showing exemplary promptness and utmost loyalty to their builder benefactors, officials carried out demolitions much before the stipulated deadline of 24 hours was over. At 9.30 AM, 600 families including children, senior citizens and a large number of women were thrown on the streets. Their personal possessions lie buried in the rubble, and in the scorching heat and an impending monsoon, all these citizens of Mumbai have been cruelly left at the mercy of nature.
In the past 11 years, SRA plans have shown little progress. The CAG report for Maharashtra (Civil) dated 31st march 2011 clearly indicates the failure of this scheme.
It is important for media to note the fact that in the past, Chief Promoter of the SRA – Moreshwar Koli and aides of Samarth Spark Developers led by Dattaji Desai and Raju Salve have taken violent measures to take over the land. They are responsible for not just intimidation, but goons were hired on 10th July, 2011 to inflict serious assault on members of Ambedkar Basti.
At this hour of extreme injustice, we seek the support of all citizens of this country who believe in the basic right of shelter for all human beings. Demolition is an act of violence with official sanction; its victims are poor who are living in shanties not out of choice. By criminalizing hard-working women and innocent children, Mumbai will only become a city but without a heart.
Sumit Wajale (9892727063) Altamash Shaikh (7738991699) Poonam kanojiya
Ajay Palande Santosh Thorat Jameel bhai.
Press Note: April 22, 2014
With Tremendous Response from Voters, Campaign Ends on High Note:
Vows to continue challenging the Modi-fied Politics and Expose the Corruption of NCP
As the campaign for the 16th Lok Sabha draws to a closure today, the campaign witnessed tremendous response from wide range of people in the Mumbai North East constituency. This response and the large number of issues emerging is also because of the failure of Corporator, MLAs and MP in discharging their duties as elected representatives. None of them taken any steps to curb the fundamental corruption involved in the projects. There has not been any attempt to policy making focussing amenities and housing. People’s response to our campaign was because of we raising these issues in the past years and because of their faith in our continuous work on those issues.
Out of my nearly 40 years of work, the 17 years I worked in Mumbai has given me an inside out knowledge about the basic issues of the constituency. This election is important for us, as we seek larger representation of people in decision making and to continue raise those issue with more strength and vigour. Hence we make a pledge to implement all national level commitments by Aam Aadmi Party in its Manifesto and in the Mumbai Manifesto. Further, we issue a Mumbai North East specific prime issues pledging that we will leave no stone unturned to fulfil those. We also reiterate that all our efforts will be participatory, transparent and accountable, involving the people of the constituency across the caste-class-creed-gender differences, and political ideologies.
Hence we appeal to the voters to join us in these efforts, with their strengths and commitment, to bring in change and make our city corruption free. We will achieve this together with participation of people from all walks of life, contribution of professional skills and inputs from experts.
Modi’s lies and threat to not just secular fabric, but even dalits, adivasis and downtrodden
In a rally addressed by Modi in Mumbai yesterday he said that “Maharshtra would get electricity worth Rs 400 crores for free if the project (Sardar Sarovar Narmada project) was completed.” The blatant lie repeated for the second time in this election season is another attempt t to mislead the people. Maharashtra, which has also sacrificed a few thousands crores of revenue, by submergence of 33 hilly adivasi villages, will lose 9500 ha of land, parts of it are forests, in the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP). Additionally she spends Rs.3000 crores in proportion to the 27% of power from the project. SSP is an interstate project, with financial commitment by each of the party states. How can then the power be free to Maharashtra?
While Modi builds his campaign on lies and twisted facts, he poses a serious threat to the secular fabric of the country. By his silence isn’t Modi supporting Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s (VHP) president Pravin Togadia’s communal venom in Bhavnagar by saying “evict Muslims from Hindu areas”?
His outlook towards the dalits and socially marginalised is evident from his reported statement sometime earlier where he, observed while releasing his book Samajik Samrasata, that dalits were like mentally retarded children. What an irony, somebody who does not respect the dalits and marginalised writes a book with its title Samajik Samrasata (Social Equity)!
Last year, The Gujarat High Court ordered the Gujarat government to strictly adhere to the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of) Forest Rights Act, 2006, and the rules framed thereafter under this central Act. The order came on a public interest litigation (PIL) by a group of NGOs, which said the state government was violating the provisions of the Act in deciding the claims of tribals and had arbitrarily rejected more than one lakh such claims.
It will be a figment imagination, generated by aggressive advertisement that Modi with a proved track record for being anti poor, anti dalit, anti adivasi and minorities could lead the country which is built on the foundations of secularism, tolerance and respect to each other.
We will stand by dalits, who apart from asserting their identity and dignity, faces the challenge of getting the basic rights, as upheld in the Constitution, as envisioned by Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar. The positive discrimination and reservation will be implemented only when they stand united.
If Modi around, can NCP be far behind?
We will challenge the corrupt party NCP, who are involved in scams worth thousands of crores. Some of them include, irrigation scam, Gosikhurd canal scam, sugar factory scam, even the former Member of Parliament seem to have contributed to corrupt practices in using the MPLAD funds. By not raising the corruption issues in this Constituency, such as allotment of MHADA land, rehabilitation of slum dwellers and in infrastructure projects, he has permitted the corrupt practices.
He cannot shrug the responsibility of his inability to curb corruption, failure to address the fundamental issues of the constituency and not being around for the people when the people needed him most.
We will launch enquiries into all those allegations of corruption once the elections are over.
We appeal to all voters of the Constituency to come out in large numbers on the voting day, cast their vote and be a part of the democratic process. We appeal to the voters to cast their vote in favour of honesty, accountability and good governance and against corruption, communalism and injustice.
Narmada Bachao Andolan,
Narmada-Ashish, Off Kasravad Road,
Madhya Pradesh – 451551
Ph: 07290-291464; Fax: 07290-222549
E-mail: email@example.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;
1. Land Acquisition Act has ‘loopholes’, says activist Medha Patkar: Medha Patkar today claimed there are “loopholes” in the Land Acquisition Act and political parties should listen to the voice of the “struggling people” if they want to resolve the conflicts over the issue of land. http://www.firstpost.com/india/land-acquisition-act-has-loopholes-says-activist-medha-patkar-1240725.html
2. Human rights defender Ms Agnes Kharshiing released; struggle for land rights of indigenous people continues: http://www.humanrights.asia/news/urgent-appeals/AHRC-UAU-032-2013
3. Privileging landowners over farm workers: http://www.thehindu.com/books/books-reviews/privileging-landowners-over-farm-workers/article5364822.ece?homepage=true
4. Villagers at NHAI door to give land. – 153 families near Jalpaiguri offer land for NH31D four-laning: http://www.telegraphindia.com/1131119/jsp/siliguri/story_17585632.jsp#.Uo2i_NKBn_k
5. Farmers oppose Pune‘s new airport plan; Ajit Pawar says land acquisition only with consent: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/farmers-oppose-pune-s-new-airport-plan–ajit-pawar-says-land-acquisition-only-with-consent/1196792/
6. Zero wait policy for airport land: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/navi-mumbai/Zero-wait-policy-for-airport-land/articleshow/26115130.cms
Three days long Satyagraha in Narmada valley comes to an end
Ten hours long dialogue leads to decion on land based rehabilitation Even as MP government in collusion with UPA dilutes rights of those affected in Irrigation Projects in Land Bill
Sardar Sarovar affected burn Disaster Management Plan
New Delhi, September 4 : Rajya Sabha voted the Land Acquisition, Resettlement and Rehabilitation Bill, and accepted three regressive amendments suggested by Madhya Pradesh government and accepted by UPA government. These amendments will take away the rights of the rights of the dam and canal affected people, even then hope is not lost on the struggling adivasis and farmers of the Narmada valley. We have fought for nearly three decades for our rights and we will continue to lead the struggle for justice and protect rights as enshrined in the Indian Constitution.
Since, September 2nd, 1200 adivasis laid seize to the office of the District Collector, Nandurbar, Maharashtra, facing Police atrocity and stayed put in protest of the illegal and unjust submergence due to Sardar Sarovar Project.
Over last 2 days various issues were raised by the Andolan and discussed with the District Collector. These issues include impact of submergence, land-based rehabilitation, forest rights including common property rights, and also displacement due to 7 medium projects, diversion of river water to the non adivasis families which has been opposed by Gram Sabhas in every tributary valley.
On September 3, at 11pm, the Collector brought a letter to the hundreds of people on the sit-in and addressed the meeting assuring action on the issues, which were discussed with the Andolan. Summary of the agreement between the authorities and the Andolan are :
These and other decisions are a major step ahead. However, the Andolan has warned the District and State administration through them that in the situation of no implementation of any major decision especially ‘’No sanction by Maharashtra to raising the height of the Sardar Sarovar “and full & fair land based rehabilitation of all the dam oustees adivasis, there will be an intensified ‘Jamin Hakk Satyagrah very soon.
Noorji Padni, Vijay Valvi, Yogini Khanolkar, Chetan Salve, Latika, Saisingh Pavra, Panaki Vasave, Medha Patkar
Sardar Sarovar Rehabilitation in Maharashtra: Adivasi Rights
Peaceful protest by 1200 adivasis: Police excesses condemnable
10 hrs dialogue with Collector, CEO and officials continues on 2nd day
Ensure Rehab before submergence: Else Review Project; Empty Reservoir Waters
Oustees challenge paper ‘disaster management’: Fraud in NREGS, PDS exposed
3rd September, 2013: More than 1,200 adivasis from the 33 hilly adivasi villages on the Narmada river bank, affected by the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) and 73 forest villages in the Satpuda ranges of Nandurbar District of Maharashtra, marched into the Collector’s office yesterday and demanded a conclusive answer to various serious issues such as compensation for illegal submergence caused due to the release of waters from the upstream dams in the SSP reservoir, land-based rehabilitation of more than 1,500 adivasi families in the 33 villages, rights of adivasis in the 73 forest villages, inquiry into and action against corruption in NREGA, PDS; ensure community forest rights, review of small and medium dams on tributaries of Narmada, lack of civic amenities at the resettlement sites, role and rights of Gram Sabhas, food grains at BPL prices for the children of Jeevanshalas etc.
As the andolankaris, a large majority of them adivasi women from various villages in the Shahada, Akkalkuwa, Taloda and Dhadgaon tehsils, walked into the gates of the Collector’s’ office at Nandurbar, an all-male armed police force stopped and severely assaulted many of oustees, who were pushed to the ground, but stood up and faced the police force with peaceful resistance. We strongly condemn the action of the police in dealing with the poor adivasi oustees, at the instance of the officials and demand legal action. Ultimately the officials had to concede and the police had to withdraw. The protest continued with spirited songs, slogannering and demands for justice, compensation, rehabilitation, action against corruption and all civic rights. Later in the evening, a large delegation of 40 adivasis, representing various villages, along with Medha Patkar and other activists held a 6 hours long dialogue with a battery of district officials including Mr. Om Prakash Bakoria District Collector, Chief Executive Officer, District Panchayat, Nandurbar Addl. Collector (SSP), Regional Officer, Resident Addl. Collector, Addl. Collector (Revenue) etc.
The Satyagraha continued within the Collectorate on the 2nd day as well, since the oustees wanted concrete decisions and written commitments. Senior activists and supporters visited the dharna site and extended their solidarity to the peaceful and valiant struggle of the adivasis in the Narmada valley, which is to shortly complete three full decades. Detailed discussions continued from 11 a.m. upto 4 p.m. in the afternoon. Some of the main issues and demands put forth were:
The oustees challenged the massive and absolutely illegal submergence in August, 2013, leading to destruction of hundreds of hectares of agricultural land, as also some houses such as the entire hamlet in Bamni with 8 houses affected by the reservoir waters, similarly 2 houses each in Chimalkhedi and Dhankedi affected. It may be noted that the hilly adivasi villages have been facing the impacts of illegal submergence since 1994 and this year, even the plain areas in the Nimad region of M.P. were severely hit by the dam waters, leading to destruction of thousands of hecatres of land and more than a 1,000 houses of adivasis-farmers, fish workers, landless, potters, small shopkeepers etc. in the Badwani, Dhar and Alirapur districts of Madhya Pradesh. The oustees also questioned the election politics of the Modi Government and stated that even after sacrificing, 9,600 hectares of land (6,500 hectares forest land and 1,500 ha agricultural land), Maharashtra has not been getting its due share of electricity, nor are its oustees fully rehabilitated, so the issue of pushing ahead the 70,000 crore giant Sardar Sarovar Project is certainly illegal.
In addition to the above issues the oustees also confronted the officials on the absolute lack of disaster preparedness or contingency plan during the dam-induced flooding, non-availability of health services and staff, despite the barges, inadequate boats etc. Other issues raised were; right to food, forest rights, right to fisheries, right to safe drinking water etc. in various villages of Akkalkuwa and Akrani Tehsils. A specific demand to recognize community forest rights especially of water sources, tree cover, forest produce, fisheries etc. was made. The Andolan continues to lay emphasis on community forest rights, beyond the individual claims, since responsibilities with rights of the communities to save forests not just for the present, but future generations is also absolutely essential. Illegal transportation of liquor in Dhadgaon and legal action against the same, as also against the Dhadgaon police Inspector was also called for.
No to 7 medium- dams on the tributaries of Narmada: The protestors, especially from villages Son, Jalola, Bhanoli, Kothar, Chandsaili, Kundal in the scheduled adivasi areas severely objected to the controversial Narmada-Tapi River link; a series of medium dams on the tributaries of Narmada, pushed by political vested interests; only to divert the river waters to the upcoming cities like Shahada and Taloda, at the expense of ecology of the Satpuda region, leading to displacement of more adivasis. The Chief Engineer Mr. Khairnar was pulled up by the oustees on the issues of environmental impacts, extent of submergence, R&R benefits etc. It was also warned that the administration will have to encounter a severe public agitation if the illegal river-linking project is pushed ahead.
MAJOR WRITTEN DECISIONS BY THE COLLECTOR ON DAY 2 OF SATYAGRAHA:
1. In-principle agreement that the rehabilitation of 1,500 adivasi families is pending. A hearing of all the undeclared oustees would be held shortly to take ahead the process of their declaration, inclusion in official lists and grant of R&R entitlements accordingly.
2. It was also decided to conduct an early social audit of the quality and availability of civic amenities provided at the R&R sites and original villages by the Narmada Development Division.
3. Collector agreed to show the lands for rehabilitation to the oustees from 7th September and a continued effort to identify land for R&R.
4. Food grains for Jeevanshalas (life-schools) to be provided at BPL rates.
5. Immediate inquiry into and action against corruption in NREGS, PDS and health services
6. All Panchanamas for crop losses to be recorded and compensation to be paid.
The oustees are determined to continue the Satyagraha even on the 3rd day, until all the major demands, listed above are met and clear decision not to permit raise in the height of the SSP is announced, until full compliance on R&R is ensured.
Punya Vasave Manglya Pawra Siyaram Padvi Vijay Valvi Noorji Padvi
Yogini Khanolkar Latika Rajput Meera Pinjaribai
Contact: 09423944390 / 09423908123 /09179148973
National Alliance of People’s Movements
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