Release of Report
Independent People’s Tribunal on Sardar Sarovar Project
4 Retired Justices call upon Supreme Court and Govt. of India to review the status of displacement, submergence and rehabilitation of Sardar Sarovar oustees
New Delhi: In a Press Conference organised by Delhi Solidarity Group, the Final Report of the “Independent People’s Tribunal on Sardar Sarovar – Claims and Realities of Development and Rehabilitation” was released for general distribution to expose the fraudulent data flagged by the government to justify height increase of the Sardar Sarovar Dam. About 10,000 oustees of Sardar Sarovar Dam were present at the People’s Tribunal or Jan Adalat held on 11th and 12th September 2015 in Rajghat, Badwani (Madhya Pradesh) before a panel of 4 retired Judges of various High Courts including Jst. P.C Jain (Rajasthan High Court), Jst. Nag Mohan Das (Karnataka High Court) and Jst. V.D. Gyani (Madhya Pradesh High Court) and Jst. N.K. Mody (Madhya Pradesh High Court). Based on their observations and assessment of the legal and field situation, the panel concluded gross violations of the Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal Award and Judgements of the Supreme Court and expressed grave concern at the displacement of about 2.5 lakh people due to the completion of the Dam and the mass violation of the constitutional right to life, destruction of livelihoods, as also wiping out of an entire culture and civilization. They stated that the further dam work and installation of gates should not proceed in the present circumstances of clear evidence of multiple violations. Observing that the concerned authorities have miserably failed to comply with the provisions of the Award and the Apex court’ orders and have committed serious dereliction of legal obligations, they called for a serious review of the entire situation and a serious social-economic impact assessment.
Mr. Soumya Dutta (Convenor, Bharat Jan Vigyan Jatha) addressed the Press with Retd. Justice R. Sachhar, Jst. P.C Jain (Rajasthan High Court) and Jst. N.K. Mody (Madhya Pradesh High Court). Just. Sachhar recalled his long association with the Narmada Valley and emphasized that people who once considered SSP as the 8th Wonder of the World were soon disillusioned by it. He also recounted the attrocities, injustices and human rights violations that the people of the valley have been facing for the last 30 years. He also questioned the role of media in underexposing the limitations of the project that have been covered up by the government. Just. Jain spoke about his horror at discovering such blatant violations of rehabilitation rights of the oustees where one house in the same street falls under the submergence zone and is entitled to rehabilitation whereas the next house is not accounted for. His visit to the Dharampura town also revealed such instances where markets, archaeological sites and temples will be submerged if the dam height is further raised. Just. N.K Mody spoke briefly about the Justice Jha Commission that is constituted to investigate the frauds in rehabilitation and added that the authorities have recieved over 15,000 complaints. Mr. Saumya Dutta denounced the entire background logic of raising the dam height as untruthful and spoke about the Central Water Commission research on backwater levels in the Narmada Valley which are entirely illogical. Mr. Dutta also warned that this year a drought situation prevented submergence but next year rains can displace over 2.5 lakh people from the valley and requested media to not take it lightly.