Nearly 40,000 Families are Still Living in Thriving Narmada Villages:
Rehabilitation Sites are in Shambles.
Yet the Madhya Pradesh Govt Prepares to Evict or Drown
these Villages based on Falsehoods, Even Before Rehabilitation is Done,
Even When Many Deserving Affected Families are Yet to be Compensated.
Today is the 12th day of their indefinite fast,
demanding complete and just rehabilitation for all affected people.
New Delhi | August 07, 2017: Today,
National Alliance of People’s Movements and Bhumi Adhikar Andolan together
organised a press conference in Delhi to expose the lies of Madhya Pradesh Govt
regarding the status of rehabilitation of more than 40000 families in Narmada
Valley and Rehabilitation sites. Hannan Mollah, Former MP and Gen. Secretary of
All India Kisan Sabha, Soumya Dutta, Environmentalist and Energy Expert, Bharat
Jan Vigyan Jatha, and Annie Raja, Gen. Secretary at National Federation of
Indian Women together briefed the journalists about the present situation of
Narmada Valley and exposed the lies of Madhya Pradesh Govt.
The Madhya Pradesh government is going ahead with its preparations for a
state-engineered modern-day genocide in the Narmada valley. The waters of
the Sardar Sarovar Dam reservoir is rising after the closing of the dam-gates,
as more rain water flows in. There are about 191 villages and the small
town of Dharampuri which are threatened with submergence, mostly in
Nimadregion – some completely, some in large parts. The Narmada
Bachao Andolan estimates that about 40,000 families are stillliving in
these villages, who have either not been given rehabilitation entitlements, or
given in part. The government estimates a far lower 18,000+ families
that still needs to be rehabilitated.
Hundreds of temples-mosques-adivasi religious places, schools, health
centers, thousands of shops, small business places, very well developed fruits
& vegetable farms which are still being actively used…….. are all to be
drowned latest by 1st or 2nd week of October, as per the schedule issues by the
Some of the villages have yielded rich archaeological evidences of
pre-historic human habitations. From times very ancient to the present
day, innovative farming communities have made this valley a treasure house of
productivity. And yet, today we are witnessing its insane destruction, just for
a few MW of electricity and the elusive irrigation that is still a
The MP govt also have attempted condemnable acts of demolishing Mahatma
Gandhi Samadhi by the banks of Narmada in Badwani district, in the dead of
night, using construction machinery!.
The Honourable Supreme Court had – in its 2000 and 2005 orders, made it
clear that every project affected family losing land will have to be
rehabilitated based on land for land principle, six-months before their
displacement, along with house plots in fully developed rehabilitation sites,
containing a minimum of 17 listed facilities. Other oustees were also to be
rehabilitated in terms of their livelihoods lost. These were also the
original awards of the Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal (NWDT), in its 1979
The MP and Union governments earlier repeatedly lied to the SC, claiming
that there is “ZERO BALANCE” for rehabilitation, meaning
everyone deserving rehabilitation, have already been rehabilitated. The
Narmada Control Authority (NCA) authorized the closing of the 17 meter
high dam gates, effectively raising the dam height to 138.68 meters, based on
the latest report of the R&R subcommittee, housed in the Social Justice
Ministry. This also apparently claims rehabilitation is complete or
nearly so !
The Secretary of the same Union Social Welfare Ministry (who heads the
R&R sub-committee) later admitted – on June 27- that “they
know” there are still 18,000+ families living in the submergence
threatened villages, who needs to be rehabilitated. Tens of thousands of
fully grown trees are also standing in these villages, contrary to claims by
the MP government.
In the last 4 months, several independent (of NBA) groups and committees
have visited the affected area of Narmada valley, and found these govt claims
to be largely false. Out of 88 rehab sites, most are not even levelled, not to
talk about being provided with the 17 listed facilities, including drinking water,
approach and internal roads, drainage, electricity, schools, health care
In its last order dated 8th February 2017, the Supreme Court had ordered
the Governments to compensate Rs.60 lakhs (estimated price of 5 Acres of
agricultural land there) to all those losing over 25% of land and who have not
taken any compensation yet. As per repeatedly clarified orders, these
were to include adult children as separate families. Those who took the
earlier meagre compensation of 5.58 lakhs, but were cheated by the collusion of
officers and land-agents, were awarded 15 lakhs each family.
To know how these massive scams happened with collusion of high govt
officials, one can refer to the well investigated report of the Justice Jha
Commission, appointed by the MP High Court.
The MP Govt is deliberately mis-interpreting the last SC order, which
mentions the right of the state to evict villagers by force, once
rehabilitation is done. The moot point is REHABILITATION IS FAR FROM
DONE, IN MOST CASES – THIS HAS NOT EVEN BEGUN IN RIGHT EARNEST. BUT – the
MP govt has amassed large police forces in the area, conducting intimidating
drills in the villages, threatening villagers to vacate or else…….
VACATE, BUT WHERE TO? Many rehab sites are not even approachable by road.
Many are undulating rocky terrain, with large ditches as allotted house
plots!. Many have deep layers of black cotton soil, on which you cannot
place a house foundation without huge investment. Barsaati nallahs run through
some sites and house plots. One such site in Dharampuri town is just by
the side of a fast flowing hilly stream, which destroys its surroundings every
good monsoon! Tales of inhuman treatments to prosperous, hard-working,
peaceful farming communities abound in the threatened valley.
After all this, even the reservoir in Gujarat are already filled and some
of the canals are broken which increased the intensity of floods in Gujarat.
This proves that the decision of closing Sardar Sarovar Dam gates is not for
the water supply to Gujarat or Rajasthan but a mere tool to influence the
Gujarat elections. This is a shameless politics of governments, when the same
decision can drown lakhs of people in Narmada Valley.
Shanti Snigdha and Amit Kumar