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PRESS RELEASE - 6 JANUARY 2007

NARMADA BACHAO ANDOLAN
62-Gandhi Marg, Badwani, Madhya Pradesh-451551
Phone: 07290-222464, E-mail: nba.medha@gmail.com/abarada@rediffmail.com

Press Release 06.01.2007

• SARDAR SAROVAR AT 122 MTS HEIGHT IS ILLEGAL.
• MAHARASHTRA & M. P. GOVTS SHOULD NOT ALLOW GATES TO BE ERECTED UPTO 138.68 MTS TILL 2 LAKH PEOPLE ARE REHABILITATED
• CONTEMPT OF COURT PETITION FILED IN THE SUPREME COURT.
• ENQUIRY INTO CORRUPTION CHARGES MUST BEGIN.

Narendra Modi, the CM of Gujarat, has made it public that he is inviting the Chief Ministers of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh and the former CMs of Gujarat on 7th of January to convince them of SSP benefits and also the need and readiness to erect the gates on the dam wall of 122 metres. If decided, this will prove to be inhuman and brutal flushing out at least 2 lakh people residing in the SSP affected region in the 3 states. This should not be allowed!

Kailash Awasya, a project affected adivasi, has filed a contempt of court petition in the Supreme Court on January 4th 2007 claiming total violation of Narmada Water Dispute Tribunal Award, SC judgments and PM’s assurance to the Court in July and October 2006. Managing Director, Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd., Chairperson, Sardar Sarovar Construction Advisory Committee, Chairperson, Narmada Valley Development Authority, Madhya Pradesh, Chairperson, NCA (Secretary, Ministry of Water Resources) and Chairperson, R&R Sub-Group (Secretary, Ministry of Social Justice) are the officials who are accused of contempt and made parties.

During 3 days long sit-in (Jan 2-4) by 500 adivasis and farmers, men and women and children from the Narmada valley, the people struggling for last 21 years have got an assurance from the Chairman, NCA, Smt Gauri Chatterjee, Secretary, Ministry of Water Resources that NCA has not and will not allow the Sardar Sarovar gates to be put up on the wall of 122 mts. If the gates are erected, the height will reach 138.68 mts and it’s known and proved through a number of surveys including one by Shunglu Committee (Oversight Group) appointed by the Prime Minister that there are 25,000 families in the submergence area of MP alone and large number of ‘major sons’ as separate families are yet to be added to the list. We have repeatedly asserted that there are at least 35,000 families in the 122 metre-affected areas in the 3 states. Rehabilitation is not in sight since M.P has no cultivable land to offer and special rehabilitation package as compensation has led to huge corruption but not land purchase by most of the PAFs. Others, including all adivasis of Jhabua have refused to accept SRP as an option and demand land allotment by the government. They have, through not one but many petitions and applications challenged the legality of SRP itself.

In Maharashtra too, there are a few thousand families including the recorded, the undeclared and those residing or farming in the area to be marooned, as proved from Yashada, Pune’s report, 2006. Those at the resettlement sites also face many difficulties including no land demarcation, no irrigation and inadequate civic amenities.
In Gujarat too, there are hundreds of adivasis strangulated due to bad land allotted or no land allotted till date. Those affected by Project (Kevadia) colony, canals and now the newly planned Tourism and Garudeshwar reservoir are not least rehabilitated.

In this situation, no erection of gates can be allowed, the Central Authorities agreed in our meetings. The PM too had promised a complete review and compliance on rehabilitation before further construction while submitting the Shunglu Committee report to the Supreme Court. A mere meeting based review has taken place and the minutes of the same also indicate non-compliance and at least 34,000 families as yet not shifted to the rehabilitation sites an residing in the submergence area. There is thus no question of raising or completing the dam, at this stage if R&R has to precede submergence.

In any case, the dam at 110 mts itself has not performed up to the mark. Only 10% of 2500 benefited villages have received somewhat regular drinking water while all 8265 villages could have got it at that height. When it was claimed that 5.5 lakh hectares would be irrigated then, only 57000 hectares could be. The expected power at 110 mts was not generated and the calculations show that with gates the benefit to Maharashtra would be only to the extent of .2% of the state’s present annual consumption. M. Pradesh too will receive meager benefits while these two states and their vulnerable population in lakhs are to receive massive losses and face deprivation. Is this worth the human distress?

Last monsoon, Gujarat got heavy rainfall & destructive floods resulting in no water release into canal during monsoon. That water too is not fully used. Moreover, Gujarat has started allocating large amount of water and land to the corporates such as Reliance in the command area of SSP indicating that there is no urgency and primacy for water to the people as was claimed.

Ending their Delhi dharna after holding discussions with the ministries, the people have retuned to the valley with a vow, not to run away, take up the challenge and stay on the land till just and complete rehabilitation is attained. NBA has also filed a detailed complaint with concrete cases of corruption related to the manipulated record of oustees, fraudulent land purchases in Madhya Pradesh and demanded a serious enquiry through the Central Vigilance Commission.

Ashish Mandloi Clifton Rozario Yogini Khanolkar Medha Patkar