Sardar Sarovar Project Affected Commits Suicide
Frustrated for not getting Rehabilitation
Government responsible for the suicide of Tembhrya Kutarya.
It’s illegal to complete the Dam that takes life of Adivasis.
Chimalkhedi | 10th July: Yesterday, on 9th July 2015, in the village Chimalkhedy, barely 10 to 12 kms away from the Sardar Sarovar Dam, TembhryaKutarya consumed poison and committed suicide. This news reveals the actual dire reality underlying the false tall claims of rehabilitation by Maharashtra Government. While this press note is being drafted the dead body of the old man Tembhrya Kutarya is decaying on the banks of the river Narmada in the village Chimalkhedy and the Govt. is “still thinking” how to take MBBS doctor there to do postmortem. Dr. Anil Patil appointed on the riverine dispensary on the medical barge that is very irregular, in spite of being in Kevadia colony (the colony near SSP) since yesterday morning was apparently neither aware of nor was concerned about this incident. When, he was on his way to Nandurbahar (in opposite direction) this morning around 6 am, he was strongly told by activists to go back to the village and not to the district place, Nandurbahar. Even though he is not permitted to do postmortem, since he is BAMS, not MBBS, he has stayed back.When the dead body is decaying the height of the Sardar Sarovar Dam is being raised by 17 meters to 139 meters submerging several villages and thousands of Adivasis. Only future will decide how many more may have to commit suicide as 2.5 lakhs people in the submergence area are being sacrificed.
The story of Tembhrya Kutarya tells a lot. For the last 30 years Andolan with its consistent efforts, pushed and tried till govts have rehabilitated 11,000 families in Gujarat and Maharashtra by giving land for land and also compelled Madhya Pradesh government, with hardly any will power, to prepare rehabilitation sites. Beyond this, as of today there are 1200 families in Maharashtra and 5000 families in M.P. who are yet to get land rights. Tembhrya Kutarya was one of those.
In the list of displaced adivasis from Maharashtra, right from the beginning the name Tukya Kutarya being unique was conspicuous Tembhrya Kutarya was his brother, as joint landholder. Andolan has been consistently exposing confusions and errors in the lists. Tembhrya’s name was misspelled as “TembhryaTukya” and in spite of Andolan pointing out; the government has not corrected the records. The second error was listing him as landless.
In the 2002, during Task force work for 1 ½ to 2 years Andolan activists worked with the government and prepared record of the displaced. The government system being such, confusions continue and hundreds of families are still left out. Tembhrya’s four sons were excluded too, TembhryaKutarya was not declared as landholder with joint landholding( with his brother) but was declared as adult son and was given only one hectare land. Even this he had not actually obtained because only one of the four was given notice and the land is in different place. Thus, he was not given his right to 2 hectaresof land and also the decision about his sons. As per the traditionaladivasi families Tembhryadaya (old man) has eight sons’ in his family, of them four are married. Each has 2 to 4 children (some are not surviving); only one has married late and has only one child. In such a situation claims for his 5 sons to be declared as adult sons are pending for last 5 years. Tembhryadaya’s application for correction in his name is also pending with GRA (GrievanceRedressal Authority). Thus GRA has been formed by Supreme Court during the Narmada Bachao Andolan’s case and till now in Maharashtra 3 retired judges have chaired this. The present chair is Justice Bagga. Thus, either because of the lapses in the system or by the different attempts, to get real PAF declared takes years of efforts.
The authority without taking any decision sent back applications of Tembhrya daya’s 4 sons to additional collector a year ago. All the 4 have been labeled non-eligible because they could not show unwarranted proofs like Ration cards of 1987 and names in voting list. The land of this family is submerged since 2003! The decision of labeling them non-eligible was taken in February but the letters of all 4 were sent only 4 days ago. So, on the same day in great depression he told his wife “my eight sons and their families cannot survive on my one hectare. So I don’t want to live “and he ended his life by committing suicide. In fact this is the homicide of adivasis by the exploitative government system.
The Maharashtra government is now trying to not even search for any land but try to give cash and break law. The tribal demanding their legal rights, insisting for land based rehabilitation refused government’s move of cash compensation. The entire community based rehabilitation has been pending. The future looks even more threatening, as lakhs of families including Adivasis in the mountains as well as planes of Nimad that include farmers, farm laborers, fisher folks and traders to face water or give up life/ commit suicide? Fighting for the rights to life, Andolan achieved many things but the system is crooked and works violating not only laws but even court orders obtained through long struggle. The selfishness in politics leads to cruel decisions like the blind one by Mr.Modi. Inspite of 6 years enquiry into in M.P., crores of rupees are wasted but rehabilitation with the land or livelihood does not reach the displaced people. Some try to take bribes to include false names and let down tribals in the name of lack of “proofs”. Thus, it is the government system that is to be blamed for compelling PAF’s to commit suicides after facing submergence of homes and farms for years. IN THE CASE OF ADIVASIS LIKE TEMBHRYA, IT IS NO DOUBT A CASE OF ATROCITY AGAINST ST!
One must say that, with the suicide of Tembhrya Kutarya this new chapter has begun. Last year’s water level of 129 meters will now reach 134 meters (at dam site) this monsoon. It seems the next chapter is inevitable devastation and the andolan has to reach its peak. In a way Tembharyadaya has given a warning. Will the government and the society take this seriously?
Medha Patkar Yogini Khanolkar Vijay Valvi Noorji Vasave
Punya Vasave KantiPawara
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