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NIMAD FARMERS BRING IN TRACTORS FOR ADIVASIS, ISSUES NOTICE TO NHDC

Satyagraha Update
17 July 2007

LAND CULTIVATED, NIMAD FARMERS BRING IN TRACTORS FOR ADIVASIS

FARMERS ISSUE NOTICE TO THE NARMADA HYDRO DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION

Zameen Haq Satyagraha has been on for 5 days now …with an added vigour today. When the Government agencies, especially Krishi Vigyan Kendra, attempted to bring in their tractor to cultivate the land now occupied by the adivasis and others affected by Sardar Sarovar Dam, women Satyagrahis gheraoed it and didn't allow it to move. Soon thereafter the farmers of Nimad brought in 20 of their tractors and helped adivasis by cultivating the entire occupied land i.e. 90 acres. It was a scene of unity and integrity cultivated by Andolan since years that has brought in results and should go a long way.

The women of Nimad and adivasi region are engaged in weeding together…engaging and exchanging views. Subhan of Kakrana and Atya of Kharya Bhadal said, "we are determined that we will take the crop and not run away." Hundreds of families have become aware of their rights and have raised their voice. They have come forward and recorded their complaint at the Satyagraha pandal.

People are determined to obtain the land plot and every right, even if at a great cost. Hundreds of farmers whose motor pumps are submerged have sent a notice to the Narmada Hydro Development Corporation (NHDC) saying that they either fully compensate or the NHDC will be sued in the court. There is no clear response to the issues, including land-based rehabilitation, from NCA or NVDA till date.

Medha Patkar Ashish Mandloi Kailash Awasya Kamla Yadav

TO VIEW THE LAND OCCUPATION ACTION:

Click the link below for a slide show of scenes from Taloon land occupation site. You do not need to sign in. Once you enter the page, just click 'play'.

http://www.kodakgallery.com/Slideshow.jsp?Uc=91x71je7.5luefhm7&Uy=-vkczyw&Upost_signin=Slideshow.jsp%3Fmode%3Dfromshare&Ux=0&mode=fromshare&conn_speed=1

BACKGROUND NOTE:

'Zameen Hak' (Land Rights) Satyagraha – Land Occupation Action from July 13th

The SARDAR SAROVAR affected families have begun the 'Zameen Haq' Satyagraha in Madhya Pradesh on July 13th demanding land-for-land rehabilitation instead of cash compensation and declaration of all those who are kept out of the list. Hundreds of affected adivasis and other farmers, including river-bed cultivators, have occupied 100 acres of government land in Taloon, reserved for seed farm, in Badwani district, Madhya Pradesh as an expression of a well known principle: expropriators must be expropriated. The Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal Award, The Supreme Court orders, Constitutional rights of citizens, all stand violated as submergence without rehabilitation continue to happen in the valley, year after year. 22 years of persistent struggle by NBA has achieved much in terms of rehabilitation and without struggle, the remaining populations will not get their due, especially in Madhya Pradesh.

Rationale:

We can't remain silent and peaceful anymore, when more than 2 lakh people are still residing in the submergence area of Sardar Sarovar Dam alone. When the state is callous and ready to drown us, we can't merely protest through this Satyagraha but also acquire what is our due. It's obvious that in spite of Special Rehabilitation Package (SRP), land for 11,000 families, 90 resettlement sites, right to 5 acres of land for each major son of affected family, which SSP-affected could seek through long struggle of past 22 years, much remains to be done and attained. No appropriate and sufficient land is in sight and hence the adivasis in the hilly areas who are determined to get land for land as their right, including mostly those who led the struggle with commitment and vision that is known to the world and all of us. The fight has to be on.

Events leading up to the Satyagraha:

On July 4th, people had met the Collector Badwani. The issue of unjust displacement was once again raised during the big rally in Badwani. After more than an hour of road blockade, the people met the Badwani District Collector and expressed their concerns. Many new areas may be affected this year as the dam stands at 122 meters and the submergence may be unpredictable as the contour surveys were found to be incorrect in many places. With heavy rains expected during this monsoon, it is a dangerous situation as people already affected are not yet shifted, as either resettlement sites are not yet ready, unsuitable, far from the agricultural lands or families have not yet been declared.

On 5th July, the people affected from Sardar Sarovar, Omkareshwar, Indira Sagar to Bargi dams met the Governor of M.P. Dr. Balram Jhakar in Bhopal. He called the struggling displaced people as 'freedom fighters' of modern India, who are fighting for their lands and resources, which have been snatched away by State in the name of the so called development. He also took note of the huge corruption involved in the resettlement process (ref. Note on Land Scam circulated on July 3 rd)

On July 10th, the adivasis in Alirajpur tehsil had earlier met the Collector of Jhabua (M.P.) who has called a meeting to discuss allotment of private lands to the Project Affected Families (PAFs). About 500 families still remain in these 26 villages, half of whom are still undeclared! The gross violation of their legal and human rights have not yet been considered.

Day to day Happenings:

July13th, SSP-affected people occupy 100 acres of government lands in Taloon, near Badwani

July 14th, 50 acres have been measured and divided among more than hundred families and they have started co-operative farming. 5 acres are set apart for fisherfolk families who were doing river-bed cultivation. Khajanbhai and Vesta Dediya of Anjanwada, Ratanbhai of Sugat, Surban of Kakrana, Gokhru of Karya Badal, Kuman Singh of Bhitada and scores of others are determined to assert their right to life and land and send a message across to the insensitive authorities. Madubhai of Chikhalda and others have joined them as Nimad and Adivasi areas together initiate this land occupation action, integral to Satyagraha.

Movement of the slum displaced from Mumbai, Nandurbar - Maharashtra, Indore (M.P.) sent their representatives to extend their support.

July 15th, the Collector, Badwani gave a statement that case will be filed against 17 persons on charges of violation of law and order and illegal occupation! On the other hand, the farmers and peasants in Nimad have filed hundreds of applications at the Satyagraha site regarding the motor pumps which got submerged and destroyed due to sudden release of water from upstream dams. The Narmada Hydro Development Corporation (NHDC) is responsible for this calamity.

July 16th, a total of 90 acres of land brought under cultivation since July 13, 2007. Adivasis from Kharya Badal village (District Badwani) have filed an FIR under Scheduled Caste – Scheduled Tribes/Prevention of Atrocities Act, 1989 in Badwani Police Station against – Land Acquisition Officer (NVDA, Badwani), Rehabilitation Officer (NVDA, Badwani) and Collector (Badwani). Their land is destroyed, some houses submerged and yet no cultivable land is offered to them as yet. They have served a notice to the M.P. Government through the collector against the Rehabilitation Officer (NVDA, Badwani), Land Acquisition Officer (Badwani), Commissioner (NVDA, Indore) and Director of Rehabilitation, NCA, under Section 80 of CPC for destroying their main source of livelihood.