Tag Archives: Sardar Sarovar Project

Modiji will you answer these ? Against the false claims and campaigns, you owe this to the Narmada valley


For Immediate Release                                         21st November, 2013                                                                                                                                                                  

        Modiji will you answer these ?

Against the false claims and campaigns, you owe this to the Narmada valley

While the election campaign is heated up in Madhya Pradesh and promises are showered upon the voters, Mr. Narendra Modi is to visit the Narmada valley once again, this time right at the heart of the Narmada movement, raising questions over injustice and illegalities infesting the Sardar Sarovar Project. It is known to everyone that lakhs of people; adivasis, farmers, fish workers, and others in Badwani, Dhar, Khargone and Alirajpur are not just voters, but sufferers of the Dam which Modi himself and his government is pushing to its completion,, without any concern for the utter violation of law and justice. It remains to be seen and watched as to what statements he makes at Badwani tomorrow and what questions he answers!!

The controversial statement Mr. Modi made in his populous rally in Bhopal last month is obviously challengeable. He claimed that Madhya Pradesh is to get 800 MW of free power from Sardar Sarovar, which is getting ‘lost’, due to non-completion of the Dam  to its final height! This being an utterly false statement that was made by the ‘aspiring-PM’, and was repeated in his press conference at Bhopal, he may not hesitate to repeat this lie during his public meeting at Badwani tomorrow. Voters from a few hundred villagers and densely populated region of Nimad will surely judge him on this and expect him to answer the following questions:

1.      Does Mr. Modi know that Sardar Sarovar is NOT Gujarat’s project alone, but is an inter-state project ?

2.      Is Mr. Modi not aware of the fact that Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra have to meet 57% and 27% of the Project’s capital cost on power generation and are not to get any power ‘free’ or by charity?

3.      Is Mr. Modi not aware that Madhya Pradesh has already invested Rs. 2065 crores out of about Rs. 5,000 crores that is, at present, the share of M.P. (capital cost for power) and raised a dispute over Rs. 1,500 crores, as the state is not agreeing to Gujarat’s pressure to pay interest on the borrowing amount?

4.      What happened to his promise (from Anjad in 2005) of lighting up the whole of M.P, if the dam is permitted to be raised by 9 mts. The dam height was raised, but there has been no real diwali for the farmers of the valley since then.

5.      Does he know that Madhya Pradesh – not the CM or the government- but the farmers – adivasis, Mankars, others farmers, fish workers (water melon cultivators) potters etc. arelosing 20,800 + hecatres of land, including prime agricultural and horticultural land and forests ?

6.      Does he know and realize the huge impact of impoverishment, never compensatable on the Nimad region, with agricultural prosperity, to be caused by such massive submergence?

7.      Can he assert from the dais in Badwani that rehabilitation is complete, in full compliance with the law, including the Narmada Tribunal Award, state rehabilitation policy and judgemnts of the Supreme Court?

8.      Can he prove that all affected farmers have obtained not just paper pattas, but actual possession of alternative cultivable and irrigable land as due legal entitlement, when thousands are still deprived of the same?

9.      Does Mr. Modi know that thousands of adivasis in the hilly region of M.P., as well as in Maharashtra and Gujarat itself, whose lands have been submerged since 1994 (and since 2000 even in some plain villages) but not yet rehabilitated, have been facing illegal losses, annually ?

10. If he is only briefed properly by the authorities and his own party, who have not even cared to visit the affected villages after the devastation, how can he know the destruction of thousands and more houses, thousands of acres of farm lands, with standing crop, due to dam-induced floods, not natural.

11. Does Mr. Modi have any sensitivity towards these and lakhs of families who have a sword of brutal eviction and submergence looming large over their lives ? Does he believe in thefalse figure of ‘0’ balance families to be rehabilitated, while 2.5 lakh people live in the submergence zone as on date? Does not Mr. Modi, who went all the way upto Uttarakhand, have any sensitivity for these lakhs of people, in his adjacent state?

12. What does he know about the use and misuse of Rs. 1900 crores rehabilitation funds for M.P. and the massive corruption with upto 2000+ fake registries, CAG Reports on corruption in the construction works at resettlement sites, leading to dismissal of 27 officials at Badwani ?

13. Neither Shivraj Singh nor Modi utter a word about corruption in Narmada rehabilitation, canal construction and compensation disbursement?   Why? Can he and will he (Modi) still facilitate Shivraj for the ‘good job’ in rehabilitation?

14. Mr. Modi takes pride in spending Rs. 2,500 crores on the statue of farmers leader Sardar Patel, which is more than the amount for rehabilitation of 245 villages and one township affected by Sardar Sarovar ? Is such tourism just and justifiable?

15. How will Mr. Modi justify the imposed sacrifice on the prosperous region of Nimad, taking over 150 kms of Narmada and yet not give Kutch and Saurashtra their due, compelling them to go to the Supreme Court and return empty handed !

16. How and why is Modi de-notifying 4 lakh hecatres of the Sardar Sarovar command area land for corporates? And how can he explain the huge cost escalation of Sardar Sarovar, which has changed the cost-benefit ratio ?

17. Even after a cost of 70,000 crores and Rs. 5700+ crores received from the Govt. of India, for canal construction, why has Mr. Modi’s Govt. not completed the canal work Gujarat beyond 30% and how can he justify filling up the reservoir further and drowning dozens of villages, when existing waters are not being used?

18. Mr. Modi must certainly be aware of the huge illegal sand mining in the Sardar Sarovar affected villages, destroying the shelf life of the reservoir itself? Why is he silent on this?

With all this and much more, when Modiji is insisting in the dam height to be raised, will he and the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh take the responsibility for the fate and future of 2.5 lakh people by drowning houses of 45,000 houses and families, temples and mosques, schools and dispensaries, shops and panchayats, and millions of trees, proving all compliance reports to be utterly false. Please, Mr. Modi we would like to hear your candid answers to each of these queries, as we are not to stop you from your speech, not are to do policing, as you do against us, inflict violence against adivasis to activists. Please do not run away from his reality to a dreamy world of empty political promises.

Saavabehan                 Devram Kanera                      Kailash Awasya          Medha Patkar

Madubhai                    Bhagiram                                Vidyabai                     Kailash Harla

Iqbalbhai                     Hiradaram                              Mustakim Chacha

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Sardar Patel’s statue is at the cost of Narmada Valley and Sardar Sarovar Project itself


Political Propaganda only to suppress failure of 70,000 crore SSP

Arrests of peaceful protestors condemnable

The pompous inauguration of the 2,500 crore rupees worth Sardar Vallabh bhai Patel Statue at Kevadia, Gujarat in the garb of ‘Unity and Progress’, is nothing but a Tourism Project of the Gujarat Government. which is being falsely claimed by the Chief Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi as a ‘Statue of Unity’, without explaining to the nation as for what and of whom is thus ‘Unity’ for, as also against whom !! While the Project conceives of tourists reaching out to the hillock and the statue, to have a glimpse of the Dam, the statue itself will be staring at the plight of thousands of adivasis and other families displaced, but not yet rehabilitated by the Sardar Sarovar Dam fully and fairly.

With 50,000 families are still residing in the dam affected areas in the three states, in the hilly areas and densely  populated communities, upstream of the dam, whose houses, fields and lives are being drowned, in the most inhuman way by the Modi Govt, and its associates including the Government of Madhya Pradesh, pushing the dam to its full height of 139 mts,  ignoring the legal and human rights violations is unjustifiable. It’s a tragic contradiction that the Sardar Sarovar Project and the Statue itself, are both being promoted as pro-farmer, while in reality, the benefit distribution is being turned against the farmers, whether Gujarat or Madhya Pradesh !

It will also be a monument of stark reality wherein Gujarat’s own adivasis who were uprooted from their riverine environs, forests and agriculture, in 1961 for the sake of the Project and its supra structure, including 9 kinds of guest houses to helipads are yet to be rehabilitated ! Thousands of others from not less than 70 villages are being deprived of their status against the laws of the land, especially, the PESA (Tribal Self-Rule Act). The Statue is an insult to the tradition of the freedom movement and absolutely against the interests of the adivasis and farmers.

The Statue is part of the overall plan to deprive the 70 adivasi villages of their constitutional status as adivasi villages in violation of the PESA Act, obviously to be followed by grabbing of their land and natural resources and diversion of the same for unjustifiable ‘tourism’ purposes ! It is absolutely condemnable that the Govt. has arrested activists and villages who have been raising these genuine concerns. It is absolutely condemnable that when the Govt. has not rehabilitated thousands of families in M.P., Maharashtra and Gujarat for which the full budget is to come from Gujarat as per the Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal and hence almost 8,000 families, including adivasi and dalit farmers are yet to receiv land based rehabilitation. Thousands of others – landless, fish workers, artisans, hawkers, potters, shop keepers, are to receive due package for alternative livelihood.

The Gujarat Government is all for symbolism with political motives and expediency. Sardar Patel who was known to be a farmer leader would have never approved this ! While Gujarat claims to have no money for land to be purchased for rehabilitation of oustees in M.P., Maharashtra, Gujarat, as per their due entitlements, it goes in for unjustifiable expenditure of 2500 crores on the statue itself !  The budget for the statue project is more than the budget for rehabilitation of the densely populated villages including a township in the three states! It is also questionable that when the SSP, is still incomplete with more than 70% canal network yet to be constructed, as well as environmental compensatory measures including downstream impacts, catchment area treatment and command area development, each of which requires a few hundreds or tens of crores, thr Modi Govt. is  diverting such huge amount for the Statue! No doubt Gujarat may recover part of its ‘investment’ from tourists making it a huge show but this will be at cost of irreparable losses to nature and nature-based communities and the country as a whole.

While there is so much propaganda about the statue, there is little is known about the manner in which Gujarat has been deceiving thousands of farmers in own state, who, it promised would be ‘beneficiaries’ of the Project. Even as Mr. Modi continues to make political demands for raising SSP to its full height, his Government has silently removed/planned to exclude 4 lakh hectares from the proposed command area. Deriding the mammoth cost of 70,000 crore rupees (as per the Report of the Working Report on Water Resources, Planning Commission, 2012 estimate), Gujarat has not been able to utilize the ponded waters at the present dam height of 122 mts, since not more than 30% of the canal network has been built as on date. As a consequence, the irrigation potential realized at the present height is only one-fourth of the claimed potential (barely 2 lakh hectares, out of 8 lakh hectares). All of this is illegal and unpardonable, since the project costs have shot up to 10 times [from initial cost of Rs. 4,200 crores to 45,000 crores (as on 2007) and Rs. 70,000 crores in 2012].

Having raised the bogie of ‘development’, couched as the Pride of Gujarat, Sardar Sarovar has miserably failed to live up to the tall claims that planners and politicians made. Not only has Gujarat not delivered adequately on the planks of irrigation, drinking water and electricity; it has in fact shown the temerity to alter the very terms of the NWDT Award (1979), by unjustifiably increasing the allocation of SSP waters for municipal and industrial use, thereby betraying its own people in Kutch and scoffing at the price that the farmers and adivasis in the submergence area of Madhya Pradesh (193 villages), Maharashtra (33 villages) and Gujarat (19 villages) are being forced to pay, in the form of prime agricultural land, habitats, forest, water, river, fish and culture. SSP, today,  has become a national liability, and truly a monument of mismanagement and injustice.

Since without the compensatory measures, there is already serious impact on the Narmada eco system, on farmers to fish workers, which are not compensated either by Gujarat or their own state governments.  Gujarat has been demanding and obtaining money from the Central Irrigation Scheme of AIBP, and maximum monetary assistance, during last 10 years has gone to SSP, almost 5,700 crores, yet Mr. Modi has the courage to say that the Centre is stalling the Project, only to stall the progress of M.P. and Gujarat. If Gujarat has money for statues, why not for canals and rehabilitation, is a reasonable question that should have come from UPA and Planning Commission, which unfortunately has favoured the Gujarat Govt!

It is with SSP, at 122 mts height reached by now, that thousands of farmers have lost their land, but not a word is uttered or a rupee of compensation paid for more than 1,500 houses and thousands of hecatres of land with standing crop has been submerged illegally in the monsoon of 2012 and 2013, due to water releases from upstream dams! Serious impacts have been ignored, both by the Govt. of Gujarat and ant Ministry of Environment, as it also happens in the case of ambitious projects, where all the politicians avoid or neglect the truthful cost-benefit analysis. At least by now, we hope the UPA and Planning Commission would undertake a complete review of the social, environmental, economic and financial aspects of the SSP, in the context of the distorted priority of Gujarat Govt. as also the deliberately changed allocations of the Project.

Medha Patkar   Devram Kanera   Kailash Aawasya   Jikubhai  Noorji Padvi   Meera    Saavabehan    Devising Tomar     

Ph: 09423965153 

NBA opposes raising height of Narmada dam


‘No land to rehabilitate 2.5 lakh people in submergence zones’

The Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) has urged the central government to halt the mega Sardar Sarovar Project at its present height of 122 meters which will bring the requisite benefits without uprooting thousands of rural and tribal population from displacement.

During their two-day agitation that concluded at Jantar Mantar here on Thursday, representatives of the displaced families led by Medha Patkar knocked at the doors of Union Ministers Harish Rawat and Jairam Ramesh to get a hearing. Their common refrain was that the UPA government should not succumb to pressure from Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi into allowing the dam to be raised to its final height, while 2.5 lakh people in 245 villages are still residing in submergence zones and there is no land to rehabilitate them.

The Narmada Control Authority (NAC) under the Ministry of Water Resources oversees the compliance of the Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal award by the basin States of Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.

Writer Arundhati Roy, activist Annie Raja and Manoranjan Mohanty were several prominent citizens who visited the dharna site at Jantar Mantar to express solidarity.

“If the government is unable to rehabilitate and resettle the thousands of project affected people, then the dam should not be raised any further,” NBA leader Medha Patkar told the authorities.

The dam is at a height of 122 meters and Mr. Modi wants the Centre to give permission to raise it to the full height of 138 meters. Resettlement of project affected people and environmental compliances have to be done six months ahead of raising the dam’s level in stages. Ms. Patkar said there should be a comprehensive review of the costs and benefits, environmental procedures and rehabilitation and resettlement of people.

‘MODI SEEKING TO GAIN POLITICAL BENEFIT’

The Staus Report of the NAC) of December 2012, says that the irrigation potential created by the dam is about 5 lakh hectares, but, Ms. Patkar said “the actual irrigation is only to the tune of 1.14 lakh hectares mainly because the Modi government has been focusing attention on raising the height of the dam and gaining political benefit without completing the canal network.”

“Although the project got the largest Central funding (Rs. 5,736 crore) under the Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme), less than 30 per cent of the canal network has only been laid in 30 years. Even so, the Gujarat government has decided to de-notify 4 lakh hectares from the project command area to reserve it for SEZs and other corporates. This is a major change in the master plan and for this alone, besides other non-compliances, the Centre should comprehensively review the project,” she told journalists.

Struggling for more than 25 years to get proper rehabilitation as prescribed under the award, the uprooted families ask only one question: “If there is no land with the government to give us after submerging ours, why is it continuing with the mega project? We are being asked to sacrifice our lands, our homes and our lives for whose benefit?’’

Ms. Patkar demanded that the NAC should conduct an independent review of the project.

The Hindu

web. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/nba-opposes-raising-height-of-narmada-dam/article5248925.ece

Narmada Ghaati warns against increasing height of Dam


Review the Sardar Sarovar project | Rehabilitate 48,000 families 

Medha Patkar and oustees protest at Water Resources Ministry, challenge the illegal SSP and its canal network in irrigated villages! 

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New Delhi: Hundreds of Sardar Sarovar oustees stormed the national capital today and addressed the country from the streets of Jantar Mantar on the issue that affects lives of more than 2.5 lakh farmers, adivasis, fish workers, landless, boatsmen, potters etc in the Narmada valley and the socio-economic and environmental interests of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat. Reacting to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s call for a rally in the Narmada Valley seeking an immediate increase in the height of the dam, over 300 people affected by the dam project protested the Gujarat government’s plan and warned the Central government against such a move.

The final decision on the controversial Sardar Sarovar is most critical not just from the angle of the valley, but for its implications on the country. The Sardar Sarovar Project is symbolic of the flawed development paradigm adopted in post-independent India which has resulted in huge costs and minimal benefits. The country is prompted to re-think this path of ‘development’ which can only come at the cost of lives and livelihoods of lakhs of people in the valley.

About 100 people protested outside the Ministry of Water Resources, which leads the Narmada Control Authority and has falsely declared the remaining families to be rehabilitated in the three states as ‘zero’. Leading the protest, Medha Patkar questioned, “When 48,000 families are yet to be rehabilitated with alternative land and livelihood, when the expert committees of MoEF have exposed serious non-compliance on numerous environmental issues, when costs and benefits are in complete doldrums, when the present Grievance Redress Authority of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra have not consented to the increase in dam height, when the report of the judicial commission inquiring  into the Rs. 1,000 crore corruption scam in Madhya Pradesh is yet to come out, how and why should the height of Sardar Sarovar be increased further, illegally submerging the lives and livelihoods of lakhs, thousands of hecatres of land, villages communities and rich cultural heritage?

The oustees have been compelled to reach Delhi, and challenge not just the Ministry of Water Resources, Ministry of Social Justice and Ministry of Environment, but the Prime Minister himself, who promised the Supreme Court in 2006 that that dam will not be pushed ahead, without the lawful rehabilitation of all the affected families. After 28 years of peaceful struggle on multiple fronts, the oustees organized as Narmada Bachao Andolan, one of the largest peaceful social movements in the country, have exposed the saga of ‘costs’ that has increased 10 times and ‘benefits’ of the Project that is barely 10%. “The dam must be reviewed and all the people must be rehabilitated”, the oustees demanded in a single voice.

Playing up to the upcoming 2014 General Elections, the Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh governments are pushing for this destructive Sardar Sarovar Project which is beneficial only to a few private corporations. The most recent decision to ‘de-notify’ 4 lakh hectares of land from the command area is a complete fraud and deviates from the original project plan. This, especially in the light of the increased project costs, must be reviewed by the Planning Commission.

As of today, there are more than 48,000 families living in the 245 hilly adivasi and thickly-populated plain villages of the submergence area. Although an intense struggle has led to the historic retreat of the World Bank and land-based rehabilitation of 11,000 families in Gujarat and Maharashtra, thousands of other families remain to receive various entitlements such as cultivable land and house plots in resettlement sites, alternative livelihood for the landless, fishing rights in the reservoir, land for potters. Despite the huge losses that Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra will incur, the people of the two states do not have rights to a drop of water from the reservoir or ‘free’ electricity.

In such a situation any act that pushes for further submergence in the valley is completely illegal, warned the oustees. The oustees, mostly poor dalits, tribals, and fish workers, have already faced severe impacts of water release from the upstream dams in the valley in 2013 and 2012, leading to destruction of thousands of hectares of land and houses of more than 1,000 families. Over the past 2 months, hundreds of oustees stormed the Collectors, Tehsildars, NVDA and NCA before reaching Delhi to demand ‘compensation’ for the submerged crops and properties, a measure already directed by the GRA, but not yet executed by the state government!

The policy of encashment, pushed forward by the Madhya Pradesh government in the last decade, has bred a huge scandal of corruption amounting to more than Rs. 1000 crore. With thousands of fake land registries, irregularities in declaration of oustees, house plot allotment and construction work at resettlement sites the matter is under inquiry by the Justice Jha Commission.

Hundreds of farmers and adivasis, affected by the massive network of the Indira Sagar and Omkareshwar canals also protested destruction of fertile and irrigated agricultural land in the Nimad region of Madhya Pradesh. The people demand that the Government review its plan to acquire and excavate canals in the villages that are already irrigated or are affected by the SSP and Maheshwar reservoir. They also questioned the severe impacts on crop losses caused due to water logging, muck disposal and non-implementation of the necessary command area development works. The people demand compensation for the same along with land-based rehabilitation for all families as per the Orders of the Supreme Court.

Khema and Rajbai, speaking on behalf of the adivasis affected by the Jobat Dam in the Alirajpur district of Madhya Pradesh, stated that even after a decade of illegal submergence, they have not yet been given alternative land. “The state government’s actions are in serve contempt of the orders of the High Courts and Supreme Court.”

The oustees warned the authorities and Central Government not to succumb to the pressure of the Government of Gujarat and violate the rights of the oustees guaranteed by the Narmada Tribunal, State Policies, Action Plans and Judgements of the Supreme Court.

For more information please contact 09212587159 | 09179148973

Sardar Sarovar Rehabilitation in Maharashtra: Adivasi Rights


Peaceful protest by 1200 adivasis: Police excesses condemnable

10 hrs dialogues 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

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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:

  1. Finalize the exact number of oustees living in the 33 original villages, whose land-rehabilitation is pending.
  2. Sardar Sarovar should not be pushed ahead at any cost, until complete cultivable, irrigable and suitable land-based rehabilitation of all the oustees, with house plots, all civic amenities at the resettlement sites as per the Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal Award (NWDTA) and Judgements of the Supreme Court is guaranteed.
  3. Immediate Panchanamas and payment of compensation for all the crop and house losses due to illegal submergence.
  4. District administration must concretely take ahead the process of recognizing community forest rights and convert all the 73 forest villages into revenue villages by the end of September, 2013, in compliance with the directive of the Secretary, State Forest Department to the District Collector.
  5. Prompt inquiry into corruption and irregularities in NREGA, PDS and other schemes and strict legal action against the responsible officials / persons. More than 2 crores corruption in 8 villages of Dhadgaon has been unearthed, with wages paid to deceased and non-existent persons etc !
  6. Halt to and review of the series of medium dams on the tributaries of Narmada and provide all documents, project proposal, maps, clearances, in the local languages to the Gram Sabhas and decide on the local water use and management with consent of the Gram Sabha.

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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 ofadivasis-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 pendingA 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

Sardar Sarovar Rehabilitation in Maharashtra: Adivasi Rights


Peaceful protest by 1200 adivasis: Police excesses condemnable

                                             Image

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 ascompensation 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:

  1. Finalize the exact number of oustees living in the 33 original villages, whose land-rehabilitation is pending.
  2. Sardar Sarovar should not be pushed ahead at any cost, until complete cultivable, irrigable and suitable land-based rehabilitation of all the oustees, with house plots, all civic amenities at the resettlement sites as per the Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal Award (NWDTA) and Judgements of the Supreme Court is guaranteed.
  3. Immediate Panchanamas and payment of compensation for all the crop and house losses due to illegal submergence.
  4. District administration must concretely take ahead the process of recognizing community forest rights and convert all the 73 forest villages into revenue villages by the end of September, 2013, in compliance with the directive of the Secretary, State Forest Department to the District Collector.
  5. Prompt inquiry into corruption and irregularities in NREGA, PDS and other schemes and strict legal action against the responsible officials / persons. More than 2 crores corruption in 8 villages of Dhadgaon has been unearthed, with wages paid to deceased and non-existent persons etc !
  6. Halt to and review of the series of medium dams on the tributaries of Narmada and provide all documents, project proposal, maps, clearances, in the local languages to the Gram Sabhas and decide on the local water use and management with consent of the Gram Sabha.

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 pendingA 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.

Video

Narmada : 25 Years of Struggle & Reconstruction


NARMADA has been a witness to the 25 years long struggle by the communities reared in its laps over generations in the three states of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat. Supported by a large number of individuals and groups across the country, their non-violent and perseverant struggle together grew into Narmada Bachao Andolan. Adivasis in the mountain ranges of Satpuda and Vindhyas, farmers, labourers, fish-workers and potters in the plains of Nimad have stayed put and challenged Sardar Sarovar (SSP), other large dams and massive canals, destroying prime agricultural land, large tracks of forests, rich horticulture and hilly as well as densely populated habitats. The saga that began in 1985 has completed 25 years of the battle which tried to question, not only large dams but lop-sided development, displacement and disparity growing with the presently imposed growth-centric paradigm of development.
Our sangharsh (struggle) through questioning displacement, assertion of land and forest rights, right to fisheries, right to food and health, livelihood security, exposure of corruption and navnirman (reconstruction) through the Jeevanshalas (life schools), micro-hydel projects, and solar projects, with the help of our support groups has continued and progressed through various phases and strategies. Over these years, we have driven away the World Bank and many other international financiers from the valley by 1993, with the help of our global supporters and compelled the governments to rehabilitate thousands of adivasis with land, yet the task is far from complete and the struggle must continue. NBA has also contributed to the building of progressive alliances, especially the National Alliance of People’s Movements.
Much water has flown through Narmada in spite of many dams being built at enormous human, social and environmental costs, but the over-estimated benefits remain unattained and the mockery of rehabilitation, replete with crores of rupees worth corruption stands exposed. The undemocratic State using the ‘divide and rule’ policy, fraudulent nexus of officials-agents, money and market continues to push the destruction, violate laws, manipulate the processes of sanctioning and monitoring, yet the Dam remains stalled at 122 mts and the people continue in the movement mode, taking up challenges through battles in the field as well as courts, from local to Supreme, and surviving the continued betrayal over two decades and more by various governments.
The struggle in SSP is now linked with the assertion of rights by adivasis affected by the Jobat dam in M.P. People in many canal-affected villages across Nimad are also questioning the unjust acquisition of irrigated lands for the canals and serious environmental impacts. The serious violations of environmental laws have been exposed by the Andolan and the MoEF’s Expert Committee has also strongly indicted the state governments for gross non-compliance. Lack of political will, however, keeps the Projects alive. The people are also not relenting, and are challenging the impacts of the various large dams in the valley and 25 years of Struggle and Reconstruction in Narmada Valley October 22nd — 23rd, 2010 Dhadgaon (Mah) and Badwani (M.P.)
the struggle for justice is only intensifying.
We, the Adivasis, farmers and others, with activists and all our supporters have to come together and look back and look forward at this juncture of completion of 25 years. It can’t be a mere celebration when the sword is still hanging, full justice is still to be achieved, large dams are still being pushed and challenged. We can’t even get over our grief since Ashish, Sanjay, Shobha and other colleagues have left us, forever. Yet, we have to take the torch forward … which was lit by them, carried by thousands and thousands of people across the country and beyond borders.
People in the Narmada valley would like to come together with you all who have joined us on the long path during last 25 years at some point during our actions, testing times, crises and victories. All those who worked with us, stood by us, spread the message and extended support are invited to the valley on the occasion of ‘Reflections from Narmada : 25 Years and Beyond’.