Bhopal | June 22, 2017: The Sardar Sarovar Project is proving to be what was anticipated by the people in the Narmada Valley who have struggled for past 32 years. The social and environmental impacts should not only be fully investigated but compensated. More than ever the need to protect right to life and livelihood of the valley is imminent today complying with the Narmada Tribunal Award, state’s policy and Apex Court’s judgements, not one but many judgements since 1992 onwards till 2017.
After Narmada Seva Yatra trying to bring in credibility for Shivraj Singh Chauhan Government especially after the killing of farmers in Mandsaur, is now willing to sacrifice the lives and livelihoods along with their habitats in the most fertile farmlands and farming communities as well as associated classes of landless comprising of fish-workers, labourers, artisans, potters.
It’s also a sacrifice with a difference: on one hand, it’s full of illegalities, irregularity and inhumanity. It is an unprecedented murderous attack on them, flooding thousands of cattle and their generations old cultures, not only hundreds of temples and mosques with archaeological remnants since Palaeolithic age or Chalcolithic age, which have not been excavated. When rehabilitation is mandatory and so is land and alternative livelihood base, with house plots and all civic amenities, without ensuring the same, the closing of the gates is a barbaric act.
The Supreme Court’s order of 08.02.2017 accepting that the Government of Madhya Pradesh’s figure of ‘0’(zero) balance was a false claim, ordered the Gujarat Government to pay 60 lakh rupees per farmer eligible for land and have not got it. It has taken cognizance of Jha Commission Report that has exposed the rampant corruption and directed all civic amenities to be ready at each R&R site with the Grievance Redressal Authority, while payment of 60 or 15 lakhs to many land holders, especially women is still due, with wrong interpretation of the legal mandate and SC, delays by GRA and corrupt nexus the Project Affected families, old adivasis, widows etc. are harassed and people are openly deprived of what is rightfully due to them. No directives being given to NVDA by GRA, as ordered by SC on amenities at R&R sites, the works far from complete, villagers, farmers, and labourers cannot shift to the new sites where there is no agricultural land but merely house plots with huge mismanagement in Madhya Pradesh.
In this context when there are at least 40000 families in the area to be submerged, MP government has played a big game with back water levels and reduced the number by 15946 families declaring them “out of submergence” without intimating them and after acquiring their house plots.
In spite of such gross injustice, the struggle led to rehabilitation of almost 15000 families and it cannot accept submergence of habitats, farms, cultural-religious sites and millions of trees, without complete rehabilitation.
The decision to close the gates is thus totally illegal and inhuman, which will raise water level by 55 feet/ 17 meters. This is pushed and justified as political expediency. Every statement planted from Gandhinagar, Gujarat is totally based on wrong data and false claims. Why is the chief minister of Madhya Pradesh being fully aware of the ground situation staying completely mum? Has he not assessed the reality during Narmada Seva Yatra? Has he not seen the densely populated communities of the real Narmada Bhaktas?
As elections approach, the jingoistic masculine politics is taking centre stage, using the supposed benefits flowing out of Sardar Sarovar Dam over Maa Narmada. It is the next assembly poll that Modi Sarkar is trying to catch the votes for, through Maa Narmada. It’s exhibiting the water supplied to Aaji Dam and Kutch which had otherwise failed. This supply to Kutch and Saurashtra could have been made years ago since the water remained filled and not used by around 30-40%. How far will Mr. Rupani, Mr. Nitin Patel as well as Mr. Modi and Mr. Amit Shah hide the questions raised by the farmers whose water is being directed to corporates like Coca-cola, Tata Motors Nano factory, Adanis and Ambanis?
Amit Shah’s latest statement brings out the fake allegations as were made by Mr. Tushar Mehta, a senior counsel, before the Indore High Court on June 19th. NBA is not vested interest lobby but a people’s movement for rights and justice to the farmers and all the toilers.
It is the Madhya Pradesh government, hands in glove with Gujarat and centre’s political ambitious agenda to kill 192 villages that are nature based and self-reliant. This act will be as criminal, as communal violence. People will face war against non-violent communities now and the CM and his coterie will face people as voters later.
Devsingh Tomar, Shyama Machuaara, Kailash Awasya, Kamla Yadav, Rahul Yadav, Mukesh Bhagoria, Ankita
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