It is 25 years since the Narmada Bachao Andolan came into existence as a challenging response by the adivasis, farmers and other nature-based communities of the Narmada valley against large-scale displacement, environmental degradation, rampant corruption and non-participatory, unplanned development, through large dams and canals that has put the lives of lakhs of people at stake.
The movement has traversed a long journey over the past two and a half decades through various phases of struggle and dialogue, facing repression and undertaking legal action and also proposing and promoting reconstructive work. Many have been witnesses to the turns and twists in this peaceful people’s struggle asserting the right to life and livelihood as also the right to true and sustainable development, with dignity.
Through its persistent struggle from the streets to the Courts, people have exposed the fake claims of rehabilitation, with rampant corruption and utter non-compliance of environmental and other laws. As per officials estimates itself, the project costs have far outweighed the claimed benefits, with just 10% of the benefits attained and 10 times increase in costs, necessitating a serious and comprehensive review into the entire project and justifying Reports by Expert Committees that all project work must be halted, until full complaince is ensured. Close to three decades after it began, Sardar Sarovar today stands as financially unviable, environmentally destructive and socially damaging Project and has just remained a Monument of Mismanagement for Gujarat and the nation and a Monument of Injustice for the people of the valley, as is the case with many other Projects implemented across the country.
Some photos of the programs around 25 year celebrations. More on the movement:www.narmada.org.
Source: Joe Athialy.