Action Alert- Stop another planned #Uttarakhand- Challenge drowning of 2 lakh population in the Narmada Valley


 

Challenge drowning of 2 lakh population in the Narmada Valley

 

Dear saathi,

 

We are writing to you amidst a situation of extreme urgency. The two lakh population of adivasis, farmers, fish workers, potters etc. in the Narmada valley – in the three states of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat in the 245 villages require your immediate support to save their lives and livelihoods.

 

Reportedly, the state governments have submitted reports of ‘complete rehabilitation’ to the R&R Sub Group of the Narmada Control Authority (NCA) and the NCA is to take a final decision on the 2nd of July at Indore, regarding permission to raise the height of the Sardar Sarovar Dam from the present 122 mts to final height of 138 mts.

 

Thousands are yet to get land, thousands more alternative livelihood, fishing rights, house plots at R&R sites and other amenities and entitlements. Corruption worth, 1,000 crores is under judicial investigation. Major environmental non-compliance has been exposed by MoEF’s expert committees’. In such a situation, drowning the 2 lakh population in the living village communities would be a human massacre, worse than the painful Uttarakhand disaster.

 

Please intervene to stop the political conspiracy to complete the dam by violating all laws and judicial dicta, when only 10% of its claimed benefits have been realized and the financial, social and environmental costs have increased ten-fold. Please find enclosed our press release, which describes the situation in detail.Please do immediately write to the PM, Water Resources and Social Justice Minister and others to act by law.

 

With sincere regards,

 

Medha Patkar (09423965153)        Mukesh Bhagoria (09826811982)

 

Meera (09179148973)            Kailash Awasya (09009147868)

 

 

 

Contacts:

 

Shri Manmohan Singh,
Prime Minister,
Government of India
South Block, Raisina Hills,
New Delhi 110 101
Fax: 011-23019545, 23016857
E-mail: manmohan@sansad.nic.in
Kumari Selja,
Minister,
Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment,
Government of India
Shastri Bhawan, Dr. Rajendra Prasad Marg, New Delhi

Ph: 011- 23381001 and 011-23381390
Fax: 011-23014432, 011-23012117
E-mail: min-sje@sb.nic.in andpsmsje@gmail.com ;Shri Harish Rawat,

Minister,

Ministry of Water Resources,

Sharam Shakti Bhawan

Rafi marg

New Delhi-110001

Office: 11-23714200 , 11-23714663 and 11-23711780

Residence: 11-23791352

Fax: 11-23710804 (O) and 11-23793184 ( R)

E-mail: minister-mowr@nic.inMs. Sonia Gandhi

President, United Progressive Alliance

10, Janpath

Fax: 011-23794616 / 23014481

E-mail: soniagandhi@sansad.nic.in

Shri Afroz Ahmed
Director,
(Rehabilitation and Impact Assessment),
Narmada Control Authority,
Narmada Sadan, Vijay Nagar, Indore.
Fax: 0731-2554333
E-mail: dir.rehab.nca@nic.in
afrozahmad@hotmail.comShri Sudhir Bhargav,
Chairman, Resettlement and Rehabilitation Sub Group (SSP) and
Secretary, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment
Government of India
Shastri Bhawan, Dr. Rajendra Prasad Marg,New Delhi

Ph: 011- 23389184 ; Fax:011-23385180
Email: secywel@sb.nic.in ,

secywel@nic.in

Shri Shivraj Singh Chauhan
Chief Minister,
Government of Madhya Pradesh,
Vallabh Bhawan,
Bhopal, M.P
Fax: 011-2441781
E-mail: cm@mp.nic.inShri Prithviraj Chavan,

Chief Minister, Maharashtra

Phone +91-22-22025151,22025222

Fax: 022-22029214,

23633272, 23631446

Email:

chiefminister@maharashtra.gov.in

Dr. Patangrao Shripatrao Kadam

Minister for Forests, Rehabilitation and Relief Works, Earthquake Rehabilitation,

E-mail: Min_Forest@maharashtra.gov.in

Office Ph: 91 22 22025398 and +91 22 22024751

Residence Ph: +91 22 23635688 and +91 22 23632748

Mantralaya, Mumbai.Shri Milind Mhaiskar, IAS

Secretary, Relief Commissioner,

Project Director

Relief & Rehabilitation

NAB

14th Floor

Ph: 22025274

sec_r&r@maharashtra.gov.in

   

 

===============================================

National Alliance of People’s Movements
National Office : 6/6, Jangpura B, Mathura Road, New Delhi 110014
Phone : 011 26241167 / 24354737 Mobile : 09818905316
Web : www.napm-india.org

Twitter : @napmindia



This mailing list is for dissemination of news and views on the communities struggles in India defending their land, water, air, rivers from hungry predatory corporations, policy formulations, announcements on struggles, action alerts and request for support.

 

Huge rally of Narmada dam oustees in Bhopal


  • NBA PR: 28th June 2013Jeevan Adhikar satyagraha and Upwaas begins with demand for rehabilitation and resettlement

    Thousands of oustees affected by the Indira Sagar, Omkareshwar, Maheshwar, Upper Beda and Man dam demonstrated in capital city Bhopal today and began their Satyagrah. Despite continuous rain in the entire Narmada valley, over 8000 men and women displaced persons have reached Bhopal to camp here for the next 5 days. The affected people demand that all the oustees of these dams should be rehabilitated and resettled with land and all other entitlements, and the injustice being wreaked on them for decades be stopped. Shri Alok Agarwal, senior activist of the Narmada Bacahao Andolan along with 4 men and women oustees have started their fast for 5 days in this “Narmada Jeevan Adhikar Satyagraha and Upwaas”.

    Thousands of oustees marched from Yadgaar –e – Shahjahani Park through Moti Masjid, and gave a Memorandum to the Chief Minister in front of Kamla Park, and then moved to Neelam Park to begin their satyagraha and upwaas. For five days during the “Narmada Jeevan Adhikar Satyagraha and Upwaas”, Narmada Bachao Andolan activist Shri Alok Agarwal, along with Omkareshwar dam oustees Sakubai and Kalabai, Maheshwar dam oustee Bhagwati bai, and Indira Sagar dam oustee Shri Kishor Chauhan would be on fast and they have already begun their fast.

    It is noteworthy that as per the common R&R Policy of the Government of Madhya Pradesh for the oustees of the Omkareshwar, Indira Sagar, Maheshwar, Man and Beda dams, the oustees have to be allotted land and other benefits of the R&R Policy, and resettled well before submergence. But there was no compliance with the R&R Policy, because of which the oustees reached a pitiable state. In its Order and judgment dated 11.05.2011, the Supreme Court gave a finding that the State Government had not offered land to even a single oustee, and had not fulfilled any of its obligations under the R&R Policy, because of which 89% of the displaced farmers could not purchase any land. The Supreme Court directed that the R&R Policy must be strictly followed for all these dams. However the thousands of oustees of these dams have been denied their rights under the R&R Policy, especially the right to be allotted land with a minimum of 2 ha. of irrigated land.

    Recently, the State Government has announced a grant of Rs. 2.5 lakhs to the landless families of the Omkareshwar dam. But the condition that the landless families would have to break their houses by the 15th of July in the middle of the monsoons in order to obtain the grant was both inhuman and impossible. It is clear that this condition must be immediately set aside. It is also noteworthy that the additional package of Rs. 2 lakhs per acre announced by the Chief Minister for the farmers of the Omkareshwar dam is not for an entitlement of 5 acres or at market value of land. Because of this, the displaced farmers will not be able to purchase land for land with a minimum of 2 ha. of land, as per the R&R Policy.
    The State Government has also not provided any land for the landholders or grant for the landless families of the Indira Sagar, Maheshwar, Man and Veda dams, and these rights remain to be provided.

    The oustees of these dams have lost their homes, villages, lands, and culture and have been completely pauperized. Their demand is:
    1. The farmers of the Omkareshwar, Indira Sagar, Maheshwar, Man and Beda dams must be provided land to the extent of land acquired, with a minimum of 2 ha, of land, or they should be assisted to purchase these entitlements.
    2. Every landless family of each of these dams should be provided Rs. 2.5 lakhs, and a time period of 6 months after providing this grant for the purchase of productive assets.
    3. All R&R entitlements to be provided before submergence and displacement.
    4. Those persons who have lost lands, but whose houses have not submerged, their houses should be acquired and the concerned families rehabilitated.
    5. The 41 villages of the Indira Sagar project whose back-water survey has not been carried out, the back-water survey must be done, and the necessary lands and properties acquired and the villagers rehabilitated and resettled.
    6. People of New Harsud resettlement site are suffering enormously because of lack of employment. Immediate arrangements for their employment must be made.
    7. The lands of five villages of Dewas namely Dharaji, Kothmir, Narsinghpura, Nayapura and Guwadi who are affected by the Omkareshwar dam must be acquired and the villagers rehabilitated and resettled.

    Thousands of oustees are resolved that they will take their rights and entitlements at any cost. Their slogan is that “Give us rehabilitation and land. Else empty the dam.”

    Alok Agarwal Sakubai Ram Vilas Rathor
    Omkareshwar Dam Indira Sagar Dam

    Radhubhai Bana Bai Govind Rawat
    Maheshwar Dam Upper Beda Dam Maan Dam

 

Press Release- Decision to raise Sardar Sarovar Dam height illegal


29th June, 2013

 

Decision to raise height of SSP illegal and political conspiracy

Central Authorities cannot permit drowning

of 2 lakh population without rehabilitation 

The decision to permit raising of the height of the Sardar Sarovar Dam from the present height of 122 mts to the final height of 138.68 mts, as per the news published in the Times of India, has been taken by the Resettlement and Rehabilitation Sub Group of the Narmada Control Authority (NCA) on 26th June. This is supposed to have been done on the basis of the reports by the 4 states, including Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra, confirming, that ‘rehabilitation is complete’. All this is absolutely unbelievable and unacceptable since there are more than 40,000 families in the 245 villages in the submergence area spread across three states, but the maximum (193) are in Madhya Pradesh alone.

 

There are at least 4,000 families in M.P. and about 1,000 in Maharashtra who are yet to receive alternative agricultural land as per the eligibility. Thousands of landless including agricultural labourers, fish workers, potters and other artisans are yet to get an alternative source of livelihood as per the state policy and Action Plan, endorsed by the Supreme Court. Those at the resettlement site in Gujarat or Maharashtra or at a very small percentage in M.P. are certainly not rehabilitated, till date, as there are hundreds of families without full land, as per entitlement or amenities, yet to be attained.

When huge corruption through a massive scandal of about 5,00 to 1,000 crores, misappropriated by officials and agents in rehabilitation is under inquiry, by Justice Jha Commission, appointed by the High Court for the past 5 years, there is no way that M.P. can approve the fake rehabilitation. M.P. has allotted land only 21 families till date, that too in the past two months, while 4,000 + remain to attain their due, many of whom are cheated through fake land registries. These include hilly adivasis habited in the Satpuda and Vindhya ranges, who are to be taken special care of as per the policy and judgements. Maharashtra too is still searching and locating land to establish R&R sites, more and Gujarat’s oustees are also awaiting declaration, allotment of land and / or amenities in the original villages as well as resettlement sites.

The Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal Award and all the Supreme Court’s judgements, (1991, 2000, 2002, 2005) and the last interim order that has clearly directed full and fair implementation of the NWDTA, are to be violated once again, is there is any raise, in the dam height,  at this stage. Flooding the villages, where life is on with pucca houses, shops, markets, schools, temples and mosques and lakhs of trees will be a gross injustice, against law and contempt of court. The Prime Minister himself had given a written commitment to the Apex Court on 17th April, 2006 i.e. on the 21st day of fast in New Delhi, that all the families upto 122 mts were not rehabilitated while that height was sanctioned and that rehabilitation would be complete within 3 months i.e. by June, 2006. The same has not yet happened and hence there could be no permission granted for further work at the dam.

 

Moreover, not one, but many committees of MoEF and the latest chaired by Shri Devendra Pandey have clearly concluded based on the documents and data that almost all the conditions in the environmental clearance are not fulfilled, but violated. Be it Gujarat on the non-compliance of CAD Plans, or Maharashtra and M.P. with targets and plans on protective / preventive measures, compensatory afforestation, health measures for all the three states.

It is, therefore, obvious that any clearance granted is only a result of political expediency. Mr. Narendra Modi since, last few months had been raising SSP issues publicly to blame or challenge the UPA Govt, which is succumbing to these pressures unnecessarily and unjustifiably. When Gujarat doesn’t have its canal network ready and not built beyond 25-30% over the last 30 years, what is the need to raise the height and fill more water to drown the valley? Why can’t the MoEF and the Narmada Control Authority under the Ministry of Water Resources compel Gujarat to complete execution of all environmental measures and building of canal network phase-wise and thereby utilize the already ponded waters?

 

The issue is politicized with nearing of 2014 elections, no doubt but people’s lives and livelihoods being at stake, we can’t allow such a heinous crime to be committed by flooding houses, communities, fields, and forests any more, not till all legal pre-conditions are fulfilled. We warn the NCA not to clear the raising of the dam height and also warn R&R Sub – Group to withdraw its decision. The people of the valley will compel these authorities to comply with law and are prepared to fight it tooth and nail.

Surbhan Bhilala            Devram Kanera          Kamla Yadav            Kailash Awasya

 

Ghokru            Ranveer Tomar         Shannobehan    Madu Machuara   Medha Patkar

 

Phone: 09179148973 / 09423965153

 

 

Rs 212 crore for Omkareshwar dam oustees


 

image
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Author(s): Aparna Pallavi
Date: May 30, 2013

Activists allege farmers being shortchanged; demand strict implementation of rehabilitation policy and Supreme Court guidelines
Last year, people affected by the Omkareshwar and Indira Sagar dams protested the raising of dam storage levels by staying in neck-deep water for over a fortnight (photo courtesy Narmada Bachao Andolan)
Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has declared a rehabilitation package worth Rs 212 crore for people displaced by the Omkareshwar dam on the river Narmada. The announcement was made late on Tuesday night. The project has affected five villages and a total of 2,500 families.

The project affected people had been agitating for rehabilitation since July last year when they staged a jal satyagraha after the government ordered the dam reservoir to be filled without providing alternative land or compensation. Following the agitation, the government constituted a complaint redressal cell for the oustees . However, the cell failed to function as desired. A press note of the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), a people’s front fighting for the rights of those displaced, stated the government even showed displaced villagers land that had already been given to those displaced because of other development projects, which nearly sparked off a conflict between the two groups.

No land in lieu of land taken

The current rehabilitation package promises Rs 2.5 lakh as compensation to landless oustees, while farmers have been promised Rs 2 lakh compensation per acre (one acre equals 0.4 hectare). Though the NBA has welcomed the provision for the landless, it has criticised the package provision for farmers.

Talking to Down To Earth from Khandva district, NBA activist Chittaroopa Palit said that the Supreme Court in its May 2011 order has said that the rehabilitation policy should be strictly followed. The policy says that all farmers ousted should be given minimum five acres of land. The present compensation package, however, does not envisage such a clause and offers to pay farmers only for the land they actually have, which will impact farmers with less than five acres badly. Also, the actual cost of land is much higher – this year Indira Sagar dam oustees have been paid Rs 5.80 lakh per acre. The NBA press note demanded that government either give every displaced farmer five acres of irrigated land, or pay for the purchases made by him.

Another unreasonable clause in the rehabilitation package is that only those villagers who vacate the submersion area by July 15 will be paid compensation. “This clause is illegal, and goes against the spirit of the rehabilitation policy,” says Palit. “Supreme Court has also said clearly in its order that oustees will be given six months to vacate the area after payment of compensation,” she adds.

‘Compensate those displaced by other dams as well’

NBA has demanded that compensation should not be limited to only Omkareshwar oustees, but should also be paid to those displaced because of all dams in the Narmada valley – namely Indira Sagar, Maheshwar, Upper Beda and Mann.

Omkareshwar dam is a multi-purpose project built at a cost of Rs 2,224.73 crore. Its installed capacity is 520 MW; the power is produced by eight power stations. The project is supposed to generate 1,167 million units energy every year, while also meeting the irrigation needs of at least three districts.

 

Gonds rally round fellow tribals protesting Chutka nuclear plant


Chutka (M.P.), May 25, 2013

Staff Reporter, The Hindu

Villagers demonstrating against the proposed nuclear plant at Chutka village in Mandla district of Madhya Pradesh on Friday. Photo: A.M. FARUQUI
Villagers demonstrating against the proposed nuclear plant at Chutka village in Mandla district of Madhya Pradesh on Friday. Photo: A.M. FARUQUI

Riding boats across Narmada, dam evictees join stir ‘for future generations”

Gond tribals and anti-nuclear activists took out a celebratory rally here after a public hearing, scheduled for Friday, on the Chutka Nuclear Power Project was indefinitely postponed by the Mandla Collector. They had threatened to picket the hearing on the environment impact assessment report, as they had received copies in English, and not in Hindi as they demanded. The project, on the drawing board since the 1980s, has been planned in a 497.73-hectare area in Narayanganj tehsil, on the banks of the Narmada. The area falls in a “high damage risk” seismic zone.

Villagers of Chutka, Tatighat, Kunda and Manegaon, predominantly of the Gond Scheduled Tribe, have been protesting against the project since it was cleared by the Union government in 2009. Most of them were displaced by the Bargi Dam in 1984.

On Friday, scores of Gonds, all dam evictees, came to this the village in boats to support their tribesmen. They crossed over from Seoni district, across the Narmada, where they now eke out an existence as marginal peasants and labourers.

“It is mother Narmada’s will that the parmanu [nuclear plant] must go away. Otherwise we would have drowned. We came here to tell the bureaucrats not to take away the homes of our brethren again. I am so happy that they did not come. Even if I don’t have food today I can dance,” said 50-year-old Radhabai from Bakherimal in Seoni.

Ram Singh Uike, 70, said he had received Rs. 30,119 for his 19 acres in the 1980s. “I have faced more sorrows than any man should face. The money got over fast and we are like birds which fly from one place to another for food.”

His kinsman Raghuvir Narti said: “This is for our future generations. We have decided not to vote for any party that brings the plant and to support the party that stops the plant. If no party supports us, we will ensure poll boycott in 54 villages in the block during the Assembly elections.”

Activists of the CPI(ML)-K.N. Ramachandran group led the protest against the state and nuclear energy. Then came the rally by around 500 villagers along with members of the Chutka Parmanu Sangharsh Samiti, which has been spearheading the protests.

Uike’s boat group was led by former Gondwana Gantantra Party leader Mahatlal Barkade. He said the villagers would remain wary of not only the state but also activists.

Officials of the Madhya Pradesh Pollution Control Board, which had called the hearing, and the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited, which will run the project, were in the dark over reasons for the cancellation.

 

In Narendra Modi’s Gujarat, no Narmada water for dalits #WTFnews


Fact-finding Report on Implementation of Food Security Programme in Kalahandi district, Odisha

Vijaysinh Parmar, TNN Apr 10, 2013,

CHITALIYA (RAJKOT): In the villages of Jasdan taluka in drought-hit Saurashtra, dalit women prefer to remain silent. That’s for the fear of the upper castes in a state whose chief minister Narendra Modi is busy trying to conjure up an eclectic image to subserve his perceived prime ministerial ambitions for 2014 polls.

“Those people (upper castes) will abuse us again if we speak,” mumbled one of the women, only to be given a warning look by the others.

The water scarcity in Saurashtra is due to deficient rainfall, but the calamity is man-made for the dalits. Members of the community claim they are not allowed access to Narmada water, the only source of drinking water, by upper caste members. Ironically, upper caste farmers have their own borewells and don’t need Narmada water as much.

The dalits in ten villages of the taluka allege they are not even allowed to draw water from the main sump. “We have to listen to casteist remarks and are even threatened if we get close to the sump,” said Jaya Makwana, who fetches water under scorching sun from a source 3km farther. The worst affected are villages of Chitaliya, Khadvavadi, Kanesara, Parevala, Jivapar, Nani Lakhavad, Kothi, Barvala and Devdhari. There are around 100 dalit families in each village dominated by Kolis.

Unable to bear both injustice and thirst, women from these villages recently approached the deputy collector with their tale of woes. But the women were allegedly threatened on their return for taking up the issue with the authorities. “Should we remain thirsty because we are untouchables?” Makwana fumed.

Narmada water in Chitaliya is so erratic that villagers would not even get supply once a week. After the trip to the deputy collector’s office, water is being released once in five days. But the dalits say the main sump is still off-limits for them while the small one doesn’t get a drop.

The sump in the dailt area of Kothi village was never connected with the Narmada pipeline. “Our only source was a hand-pump which went dry last month,” said Maniben Makwana, 65, a dalit.

“We are looking into complaints of discrimination. We have also directed the water resources department to connect hand-pumps to the pipeline,” deputy collector R H Gadhavi said.

 

Amenities elude Sardar Sarovar evictees


ANNU ANAND, The Hindu

Makeshift existence: Life at Anjanwada village. Photo: Annu Anand
Makeshift existence: Life at Anjanwada village. Photo: Annu Anand

Displaced by the Sardar Sarovar Dam project, hundreds living on the hills lining the Narmada banks are denied basic amenities

A satisfied smile flashes across Chuna’s face. At least for few months, she won’t have to worry about feeding her children. Leaving behind all the day’s work, 35-year-old Sarla was also rushing to the village outskirts. She didn’t want to let this opportunity go.

Just like Chuna and Sarla, all men and women were running towards the village end, near the bank of the river, where in the name of a ration shop, wheat, sugar and salt were scattered on the ground. The village was getting PDS grains after a gap of six months. Running towards this makeshift ration shop, the villagers were simultaneously worried by the thought that the PDS shopkeeper may leave before they reach and their children may have to face hunger and starvation again.

This was the scene in Bhitada village in Madhya Pradesh’s Alirajpur district — one of the villages that have been affected by the Sardar Sarovar Dam project. One can reach this village only after travelling 44 km by road followed by a one-hour travel boat ride and a three-km-long walk. The whole village has been divided into five clusters or falias and these clusters are inhabited by about 350 families. Each cluster is at a distance of about two km.

According to the draft Food Security Bill, it is the responsibility of the State government to ensure that each family below the poverty line gets subsidised ration from the PDS shops. But families living on the bank of Narmada — affected by the Sardar Sarovar project and inadequate rehabilitation — are forced to live on the mercy of government officials for their day-to-day sustenance. They get rations after months on end and that too for only a few hours. By the time the news of ration arriving spreads in their scattered homes in the village, the makeshift PDS shop gets dismantled. Nandla Bhai who came to deliver PDS ration was selling the salt costing Re. one a packet for Rs. 5 to the villagers. He justifies his action saying, “Transporting the ration over such a distance increases the cost of the goods.” But transport charges are being paid by the government! Nandla didn’t have any answer.

There are 15 villages in the Alirajpur district that are surrounded by the Narmada due to the dam project. As the dam’s height kept on increasing, these villages got submerged leading to loss of land and homes. Improper rehabilitation has led these villagers to struggle for their basic needs like food, health and livelihood. Government schemes like PDS, mid-day meal, MGNREGA and anganwadi are implemented in these villages in the official records but because of inaccessibility, their scattered nature and inefficiency and corruption on the part of the government, most of these schemes remain exist only on paper.

Around 13 years ago, these villages were filled with lush green fields. There was a road to reach the village. But beginning from 1996, these villages started getting affected. By 2000, their farms and houses were completely submerged. In this situation, many villagers had to seek shelter in the hills that line the bank of Narmada. The rocky nature of these hills makes it difficult for the villagers to even find a place to set up their homes.

Anjanwada is one such village. The health, school facilities and nutrition for children here remain a challenge. The population of this village is around 360. The government has started a primary school for the children in the village but for most of the children, the school is only accessible by an arduous boat ride or an hour long walk through the rocky terrain. The school and the anganwadi are situated at the same place. The anganwadi is unable to provide nutrition to needy children since it is difficult for them to cross the river or cover the long distance daily. There is no health centre in the village. Electricity and roads still seem like a distant dream for these villagers.

Khajan Singh of Anjanwada lost his 12-year-old daughter and 18-year-old son three years ago as he couldn’t provide them timely treatment. The nearest health sub centre is located in Kakrana, 12 km away and can only be reached by a two-hour-long boat ride from Anjanwada.

The Madhya Pradesh government claims that all 45,000 displaced in the Sardar Sarovar Project have been given adequate compensation. Meera Kumari of Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), however, says, “ Nearly 3,300 families have been given the first instalment of cash component. But due to the Fake Registry Scam, they have been unable to buy the land. As of now, the matter is in High Court.”

 

Narmada Bachao Andolan is not against development


‘We are not against development’

Dev Ram Kanera, a farmer from Khaparkheda village in Dhar district, Madhya Pradesh, has been raising his voice against the injustice wrought by dams in the Narmada Valley. He talks about three decades of struggle.

Dev Ram Kanera
Dev Ram Kanera, 59, Activist, Narmada Bachao AndolanPhoto: Sarang Sena

EDITED EXCERPTS FROM AN INTERVIEW

How did it all begin?
It was towards the end of the 1970s. The struggle against dams in the Narmada Valley was still in the initial stages. One day I was returning to my village from the market on a bicycle and stopped at a tea stall. I met a group of four or five persons, including a young woman. She asked me the name of my village. I told her. She said my village came under the submergence zone, that my house, fields and granary will all go under water. She asked me if I knew what I would get in lieu of what I would lose. I had no clue about all this. Then she said that we should ask the government. The woman was Medha Patkar, and that was the day I joined the Narmada Bachao Andolan.

What change have you experienced since joining the movement?
Of course, there was change. Only those who remained committed to the movement could get their voices heard, to some extent at least. The compensation rates were raised. The government agreed not to raise the height of the dam. But those who did not do anything and stayed away from the movement faced the greatest injustice. They got almost nothing for the land and houses that they gave up.

What exactly have you been opposing?
We are not against development. We are only opposing the way in which development is being imposed on people. Our houses and fields are being submerged in the name of generating electricity, but the electricity does not reach us. We don’t want as much electricity as a five-star hotel demands, we ask for only the minimum that we need. But even that eludes us. In short, the very people who sacrifice the most for development are the ones who are ignored the most in the process. This cannot go on.

Vikas Bahuguna is Chief Copy Editor, Tehelka Hindi.
vikas@tehelka.com


 

DNA investigation: Sardar Sarovar Project hit by illegal mining


Published: Saturday, Oct 13, 2012, 8:44 IST
By Sandeep Pai | Place: Indore | Agency: DNA

Rampant illegal sand mining across the Narmada valley on land acquired by the Narmada Valley Development Authority (NVDA) from oustees of the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) is not only threatening the delicate ecological balance of the area but could also reduce the project life of the dam.

While truckloads of sand is being mined without any permission, the activity also contravenes the Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal Award of 1979, which expressly states that land acquired for the SSP may be used only for agriculture or for reservoirs.

The project life of the SSP, meant to irrigate 18 lakh hectares of land in Gujarat, 75,000 hectares in Rajasthan and 37,500 hectares in Maharashtra, is expected to be reduced because the mining is in the dam’s submergence areas, environmentalists say.

The illegal mining started after the collectors’ of the Badwani, Alirajpur, Khargone and Dhar districts in MP gave out mining licences on government lands adjacent to the NVDA’s acquired land. The licences were granted once in 2009
and again in 2011, for a period of two years.

The mining contracts are themselves a subject of debate as the government lands also lie in the submergence areas on both sides of the Narmada River. But more dangerously, illegal miners are now blatantly breaching boundaries of assigned mining areas, extracting sand instead from areas acquired by the NVDA.

In response to a Right to Information application, the NVDA has stated that it has not leased any land. “Thus, any mining activity on their land is illegal,” says social activist Medha Patkar, who has repeatedly raised the issue with the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) over the last two years.

Over 100 complaint letters were written during the same period by individual villagers and by panchayat representatives to police officers and district collectors. However, no action has been taken.
At least half a dozen gram sabhas have passed resolutions stating that prior approval of the gram sabha has not been obtained for the mining activity. The resolutions all state that the sand mining should be stopped.
Activists estimate the loss to the exchequer to be about Rs100 crore per year. In 2011, after a complaint about illegal mining in the submergence areas of SSP, the collector of Badwani conducted an investigation in two villages — Pendra and Barda — and recovered Rs3 crore in fines from illegal miners. “If we calculate for even 40-50 villages, the amount of revenue loss would exceed a few hundred crores per year,” said Srikant, an activist with Narmada Bachao Aandolan (NBA). As many as 192 villages are directly impacted by the SSP.

The collector’s report even named members of the sand mining mafia of the Badwani district, but no prosecution was initiated.
One complaint by the NBA to Union minister for environment and forests Jayanthi Natarajan in August said the government is on one hand spending crores of rupees for “catchment area treatment” that is mandatory as per the environment clearances issued to the SSP, and on the other hand is a mute spectator to hundreds of truckloads of mud, the topsoil discarded by sand miners, is being thrown into the reservoir. This could seriously affect the lifespan of the project, the NBA complaint pointed out.
A visit to the villages shows complete disregard for rules and the environment. In Perkhard village in Dhar district, huge heaps of top soil and even trees uprooted by miners have been thrown into the river. Large tracts of land acquired by the NVDA have turned into trenches due to unabated mining.

In Chottabarda village in Badwani district, DNA saw several trucks ferrying tonnes of sand. “On one side we have the Narmada and on the other we have these huge sand mining trenches. When the rains came this year, an entire settlement of fish workers was not able to move out – they were surrounded by water on all sides,” said Dayaram Yadav, former sarpanch of Chottabarda.

Villagers who protest are threatened, even assaulted, say villagers. “When I tried to stop the miners, they tried to strangle me,” said Om Prakash, from Piplav village in Badwani.

Complaints sent to the central government’s Narmada Control Authority and the NVDA were just forwarded to district collectors, to which the standard official response has been that no illegal mining is underway.

Afroz Ahmed, NCA director, said that whatever complaints he got were forwarded to the NVDA. “I have not received any reply from NVDA despite reminders,” said Ahmed. On his part, joint director of NVDA AK Khare simply denied that any illegal activity was going on. “All allegations are false,” he said.

Narendra Modi Fakes Narmada Canal High Income Story in Worst Drought Year #mustshare


There was story of ‘Gujaratis don’t have money to spend on education’ on Sep25 within a week Modi planted FAKE story of High Income of farmers in Narmada Canal command area.

This Education Year farmers in Gujarat ‘Invested in Raising New Crops’ but Monsoon was delayed by two months and there was 60% to 80% crop loss.

CAG had reported in normal rainfall year – Narmada Canal served just 6.56% of Narmada Command area or  utilization of 1.2 lakh hectares out of 18 lakh hectares 2009-10 but dubious Private Institute claimed farmers have more money to spend and claimed 6 lakh hectares utilization. 

Gujaratis don’t have money to spend on education: National Survey

TNN Sep 25, 2012

AHMEDABAD: How much can a parent spend for higher education for their children in the state? The National Sample Survey (NSS) report, “Key Indicators of Household Consumer Expenditure in India”, in 2011 had revealed that Gujarat’s average monthly per capita expenditure (MPCE) – considered measure of the ability to spend – is just a paltry Rs 1,110 in rural areas, and unimpressive Rs 1,909 in urban areas.

Higher education fees run into lakhs of rupees, which makes it inaccessible to a large section of society. The 2011 NSS report suggests that Gujarat’s MPCE in rural areas is lower than seven other states, including Kerala, Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana and Andhra Pradesh.

Things are not rosy in urban Gujarat, too. If Gujarat ranks eighth in rural MPCE, the state’s urban MPCE rank is tenth and states including Kerala, Maharashtra, Punjab, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Haryana are way ahead. Worse, on both the counts, Gujarat has slipped since 2005, the NSS study suggests.

“Ironically, the state government had worked out an average per capita income of Rs 45,000 in 2009-10, but interestingly, the spending power is just a paltry Rs1,100 per capita per month. This only points to a large economic gap in the society,” says a senior state government official.

Gujaratis don’t have money to spend on education: National Survey

Narmada brings sharp rise in incomes

Farmers Spending More On Kids’ Education; Expenditure On Nutrition Has Increased: Study

Rajiv Shah TNN Oct 01, 2012
Gandhinagar: A high-level study carried out by Hyderabad-based Institute for Resource Analysis and Policy has said that thanks the availability of Narmada waters, incomes of the farmers have substantially gone up in about six lakh hectares (ha) where canal waters have reached since 2007. Just submitted to the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd (SSNNL), the study says that farmers who have shifted to cash crops have particularly gained. Their net incomes from cotton increased by Rs 70,977 per ha in Bharuch, Rs 69,399 per ha in Vadodara, and Rs 49,568 per ha in Panchmahal.
From castor, an exceptionally high increase in net income was in Bharuch (Rs 94,279 per ha). From fennel grown in Mehsana, it was Rs 55,363 per ha, from cumin in Surendranagar, which was introduced after the arrival of canal water, the farmers started earning Rs 49,350 per ha on an average. But for foodgrains, the incomes didn’t rise as much. “From wheat, farmers secured a higher net return ranging from Rs 4,505 per ha in Panchmahal to Rs 15,052 in Vadodara.”
However, the study admits, “The effect of inflation on net income is not factored in while estimating the income change”, even as claiming, “The effect of inflation on change in net income from crops is not expected to be high, as the time lag between pre-Narmada and post-Narmada situations ranges from a minimum of two years in most locations.”
The study covers locations where the canal networking has been completed and waters reach fields by gravity, and also those (like in Mehsana, Ahmedabad and Surendranagar) where farmers siphon off water straight from the Narmada canal by sinking up to three km long pipelines.
The study says that average per capita income of people in the Narmada command area, too, has gone up substantially. “The largest increase was seen in Surendranagar (from Rs 65,526 to Rs 2.01 lakh), followed by Bharuch (from Rs 1.76 lakh to Rs 3.37 lakh), Mehsana (Rs 1.02 lakh to Rs 2.29 lakh), and Ahmedabad (Rs 1.19 to Rs 1.90 lakh)”, it says.
The study argues, “With increase in annual income from farming, the families have started spending more money on children’s education. The expenditure on family nutrition has also increased substantially.” It says, “Literacy data from Census 2011 shows that districts which are already being served by Sardar Sarovar Narmada Project have recorded high decadal growth in literacy in comparison to the state figures.”
It adds, “Between 2001 and 2011, literacy rate increased from 51% to 66% in Banaskantha, 60% to 73% in Narmada, 60% to 71.5% in Kutch, 61% to 72% in Panchmahal, 62% to 73% in Surendranagar, and 72% to 84% in Kheda district.”

http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=73098

Annexure-II

 Average MPCEMMRP and food share: major States, 2009-10
State rural urban
average MPCE  (Rs.) per capita food exp. (Rs.) % share of food in cons. exp. average MPCE  (Rs.) per capita food exp. (Rs.) % share of food in cons. exp.
(1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7)
Bihar 780 505 64.7 1238 655 52.9
Chhattisgarh 784 456 58.2 1647 720 43.7
Orissa 818 507 61.9 1548 749 48.4
Jharkhand 825 503 60.9 1584 816 51.5
Uttar Pradesh 899 521 57.9 1574 728 46.3
Madhya Pradesh 903 504 55.8 1666 694 41.7
West Bengal 952 604 63.5 1965 907 46.2
Assam 1003 646 64.4 1755 929 52.9
Karnataka 1020 577 56.5 2053 869 42.3
All-India 1054 600 57.0 1984 881 44.4
Gujarat 1110 640 57.7 1909 882 46.2
Maharashtra 1153 623 54.0 2437 999 41.0
Tamil Nadu 1160 635 54.7 1948 876 45.0
Rajasthan 1179 647 54.8 1663 798 48.0
Andhra Pradesh 1234 717 58.1 2238 1002 44.8
Haryana 1510 815 54.0 2321 1001 43.1
Punjab 1649 795 48.2 2109 933 44.3
Kerala 1835 843 45.9 2413 970 40.2