Thousands of Sardar Sarovar oustees declare right to ownership of the acquired land and houses
as per New Land Acquisition Act, 2013
More than 2000 oustees and 200 supporters from across India gather at mass rally and public meet
Demand halt to Sardar Sarovar and answers from NDA Govt.:
Condemn the Dam of illegality and corruption
Ultimatum to Modi Govt upto 10th October: Struggle to intensity if decision not revoked
24th August, 2014/ Badwani: More than 2000 people from the Sardar Sarovar Project affected villages stormed the streets of Badwani today in a massive rally, followed by a huge meeting where a declaration that would shake the Government of India in the days to come was made. The declaration asserted that as per the New Land Acquisition Act, 2014, thousands of families living in the villages, where their land and houses have been acquired for the Project, have now become owners, since they have either not accepted compensation or have not given possession of their lands and houses, even 5 years after acquisition. With this declaration, a new phase of struggle begins in the valley and the Government cannot submerge even an inch of land now and, if necessary, start all acquisition process afresh.
The declaration was made in the presence of more than 200 supporters from across the country including an internationally acclaimed hydrologist, representatives of various social movements and organizations, lawyers, teachers, students, artists, and social activists from Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu ,Kerala, Delhi, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Telangana and West Bengal, who joined the farmers, agricultural, labourers, adivasis, women, the young and the old of the valley. The sitting MLA of Badwani, Ramesh Patel and Former MLA of Dharampuri, Panchilal Meda also expressed solidarity with the struggle. The oustees celebrated the declaration with a plough, cart wheel, unfurling of banners, as also with the songs of well-known musician and writer Swanand Kirkire.
The oustees and supporters demanded that the destructive step of increasing the height should be immediately revoked. They openly challenged the Central and the state governments on the decision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to increase the height of the Sardar Sarovar Dam on illegal and undemocratic grounds. Medha Patkar, addressing the large gathering stated that thes struggle on Narmada, which is to complete thirty years in 2015 has once again become vibrant and rejuvenated with this new declaration. In the long history of thirty years, the movement has challenged the state powers and the World Bank at several junctures. The Morse Committee Report against the World Bank is a significant example. Time to time, the height of the dam has been stopped through the pressure of the movement and the solidarity attained from across the country and the world. We will face every challenge from the Govt, she said, with an endorsement of applause from the oustees, who also addressed the gathering.
If the height of the dam is increased, it implies the submergence of the thousands of hectares of most fertile land yielding best of wheat, maize, sugar cane, fruits, chilly, vegetables, cotton, bajra. Thousands of farmers, agricultural labourers, fisher folks and shop-keepers and several others are not yet rehabilitated and Govt. has to answer people’s questions before even thinking of any further project work. More than 2.5 lakh people from 245 villages from three states (Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat) continue to live in the submergence area. Despite numerous Supreme Court, High Court orders and Narmada Tribunal Award promises for rehabilitation, thousands have not yet been rehabilitated. Massive corruption is being inquired into by the Justice Jha Commission since 5 years and thousands of cases are under inquiry, exposing fake claims of rehabilitation, but the government is hell-bent on raising the height of the dam, violating all constitutional guarantees. The oustees, at today’s gathering issued an ultimatum to the Modi-led NDA Govt. that the struggle would be intensified, if the illegal decision to raise the height of the SSP is not revoked.
In every village, be it Khalghat, Pipri, Chhota Barda, the team witnessed that rehabilitation is a fraud, review of Back Water Level is a huge game of numbers and that the Govt. is pushing the dam for ulterior purposes, not for Kutch and Saurashtra, but for Ambanis and Adanis. Internationally acclaimed hydrologist, Raj Kachroo, while addressing the people, said that the government should stop being dishonest to the people and demanded that the project-affected and their experts should also be part of any further decision making process including real assessment of back water impact.
Thousands of affected people and the large number of persons supporting the cause from across the country have strongly resolved to intensify the struggle of Narmada Bachao Andolan.
Earlier in the day more than 300 people gathered on the banks of Narmada, at the Gandhi Samadhi, Rajghat for the Prathana and Sankalp. Tomorrow, the last day of the three – day Narmada Ghati Adhikar Samvaad Yatra, the team of supporters would visit the hilly adivasi village Manibeli and interact with the oustees on the issues and challenges in the hilly areas.
Kamla Yadav Mukesh Kailash Awasya Meera Medha Patkar
Ph: 09179148973 / 09423965153
(List of members of the fact finding teams is annexed )
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