and respond to the Jal and Jammen Satyagraha
The farmers, labourers, potters and fish workers in the Sardar Sarovar affected areas, many of whom are also affected by the canals of the Indira Sagar and Omkareshwar Projects and those affected by the Jobat Dam warn the Government of Madhya Pradesh against its totally insensitive attitude and illegal moves, destroying the lands and livelihoods of thousands of oustees affected by the Indira Sagar and Omkareshwar Projects. We stand by the nature based communities, the women and men who on the 14th day of the Jal Satyagraha, are facing the waters, protesting against the Government’s plan to make their villages a watery grave and evict them by the watery force. About 2,500 land holder families in Omkareshwar and thousands of families in Indira Sagar are pushed, not merely into ‘submergence’, but ‘destruction’ zone, that too without prior and legal rehabilitation.
It is absolute injustice meted out to the adivasi and non-adivasi farmers and the Madhya Pradesh Government has violated all norms, both its own Rehabilitation Policy and Judgements of the Supreme Court. In total contempt of the communities living in the Narmada valley since generations, the Chief Minister, Shivraj Singh Chauhan and his cabinet is refusing to acknowledge not just the gross illegalities but also the truth and non-violence expressed through the Jal Satyagraha of the oustees and the activists of Narmada Bachao Andolan, Chittaroopa Palit and Alok Agarwal.
They refuse to take note of the scenario wherein not one but all dams in the Narmada valley are pushed ahead illegally, with scant respect for environment, law and justice. The two Ministers, as envoys of the CM, who visited the site of the Satyagaraha yesterday, failed to put forth any concrete proposal before the Satyagrahis and the oustees. The Centre too, through the Narmada Control Authority and the Ministry of Water Resources and Ministry of Environment have not promptly intervened in this critical situation, appearing to be beyond control when not one but at least waters from 8 dams are released and the downstream areas are flooded, destroying hundreds of acres of standing land and houses.
In Sardar Sarovar, the oustees of ISP and OSP have flooded more than 300 houses, along with a few shops in Nisarpur and hundreds of acres of standing crop in dozens of farms, across villages. The SSP is however, stopped and no permission is granted for any further raise in height, since 40,000 families are still residing in the submergence zone and huge scandal of Corruption in the Rehabilitation is unearthed and is under scrutiny by Justice Jha Commission.
However, while in SSP, for the last 27 years of struggle including Jal Satyagraha to Jal Samadhi, agitations have led to the land-based rehabilitation of 11,000 families in Maharashtra and Gujarat, but not one is rehabilitated in Madhya Pradesh. The situation is same in all the large dams in the Madhya Prdaesh part of the Narmada valley – Bargi, Maheshwar, Omkareshwar, Indira Sagar, Maan, Jobat, Veda, Goi etc. This is self-evident of the state government’s disrespect for the adivasis and farmers. Madhya Pradesh is locating and allocating land for investors across the globe but denies the same to the project – affected and only forces them to accept rocky, uncultivable or decades-old encroached land from its ‘Waste Land Bank’.The same insensitivity is reflected in its silence in dealing concretely with the 10 month long Jobat Zameen Haq Satyagraha by the SSP oustees, mostly the hilly adivasis, displaced since 1994. The oustees who are on the verge of reaping the second crop on the government seed farm land they have ‘occupied’ since 10 months is another slap in the face of the State!
It is this callous attitude that is being challenged, staking lives and livelihoods in Omkareshwar and Indira Sagar dam affected areas today and the same must be responded to immediately. We appeal to all the agencies, including the NHRC, the Commission for Scheduled Tribes to intervene, at least now, after 15 days of the Satyagraha. The High Court and the Supreme Court can also take suo moto notice of the crisis and intervene to protect the rights and lives, with due respect to those sacrificing their land and village communities from the oldest of the civilizations, i.e. Narmada in ‘public interest’. If not, an intensified struggle all over will challenge the power holders on the entire issue of the Narmada valley.
Medha Patkar Devram Kanera Khema Vestha Shrikanth Ghokru Bhilala
Ph: 09423965153 / 09179148973
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