Roundtable Sharing with Narmada Bachao Andolan
Narmada Valley: River and Life Today
3:00 – 6:00 pm, August 3, Saturday
@ Society for Promotion of Wasteland Development
14-A, Vishnu Digamber Marg, Rouse Avenue Lane, New Delhi -110002
Telefax: +91 11 23236440, 23236387
Our struggle in the Narmada Valley is about to complete three decades soon. 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, other large dams and canals destroying prime agricultural land, the rich horticulture and hilly as well as densely populated habitats.
Much water has flown through Narmada in spite of many dams being built at enormous human and environmental costs, but over estimated benefits remain unattained and the mockery of rehabilitation exposed. The undemocratic state using the ‘divide and rule’ policy, corrupt nexus of agents-officials, money and market continues to push the destruction, violate laws, manipulate the processes of sanctioning and monitoring, yet the Sardar Sarovar Dam remains stalled at 122 mts and we continue in the movement mode, resisting the atrocities, fighting prolonged battles in the courts from local to Supreme, and surviving the continued betrayal over two decades and more of various governments. The life flows in these villages as the river Narmada, in full jest and gaiety. Nearly 11000 families have got land for land as per Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal Award in the Sardar Sarovar Project but nearly 250000 people still are living in the submergence area yet to be rehabilitated.
Government of Gujarat has been working hard to raise the height without completing the R&R process but we have challenged them at every step. Many of our predictions about water allotted to Kutch or diverted to industrial usage in Gujarat, or inflated projections of power generation apart from failure to complete command area development or afforestation has come true in various reports of government committees or other independent studies. This all in addition to the fact that authorities will never be able to satisfactory deal with the massive social and environmental costs associated with the project. Our position that all about ‘Dams’ are not about ‘Development’, has been emboldened, given the number of anti dam protests in the country today and ecological catastrophe they have brought in the Himalayan region, as witnessed in the Uttarakhand tragedy recently.
In an election year, Sardar Sarovar is being raked up, as we saw Mr. Narendra Modi exhorting in Pune and lieing through his teeth that Maharashtra could get free electricity worth crores if the dam attained its full height, flooding the densely populated villages with houses, farms, cultural monuments and other property with lakhs of trees. While the fact is that even at the current height full potential of the dam is not being utilised since only 20% of the total canal network has been completed till today in Gujarat. The whole project is marred with corruption as being shown by CAG in its various reports and established by Justice Jha Commission which is enquiring 1000 Cr scam in cash for land scheme of Madhya Pradesh government for project affected families.
Sangharsh and nirman has continued in the valley. Jeevanshalas (life schools) run by the Andolan, inspite of many constraints continue to operate in 13 villages, educating nearly a thousand children in their mother tongue. Many of the students of the Jeevanshalas are now graduates, some of them in colleges and are contributing to their communities and Andolan in various ways. Our constant struggle to provide them a dignified livelihood has meant widening our struggle to implementation of Forest Rights Act, NHRM and other programmes meant for marginal or weaker sections. In addition, there are many more things going on an everyday basis in the valley.
You have been with us in this journey for years in various capacities. It is in this context that we invite you to share with you the details of our struggle at various front and brief you of developments and explore strategies for taking forward the struggle. We need your support in order to fight the new forces which are working hard to defeat us at every front but nothing can deter our resolve to fight and defeat corporate and communal forces.
We look forward to seeing you on August 3rd at 3:30 pm at Society for Promotion of Wasteland Deveopment, 14-A, Vishnu Digamber Marg, Rouse Avenue Lane, New Delhi -110002, Telefax: +91 11 23236440, 23236387
Kamla Yadav Meera Pema Bapu Devender Tomar Mansaram Jat Manglya Pavra
Yogini Madhuresh Kumar Seela M Mahapatra Vimal Bhai Rajendra Ravi
Contact: 09212587159, 09818905316