Skip to main content

Sardar Sarovar oustees up in arm against MP officials on refusal to assess damage due to submergence

By Our Representative
Unprecedented submergence in the densely populated villages of Nimad region of Madhya Pradesh in the last week of August has spurred a series of mass actions by the Sardar Sarovar project-affected families – most of them poor landless labourers, fish workers, potters, adivasis and other farmers, who are waiting to be fully rehabilitation with alternative land, house plots, amenities at resettlement sites, alternative livelihood etc. 
The situation brought oustees, backed by Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) activists, and the Madhya Pradesh officialdom face to face. The officials argued it was not necessary to assess the damage, as the submerged area had already been acquired for the Sardar Sarovar Project. This led villagers to retort that mere land acquisition was not rehabilitation, that as per the Narmada Tribunal Award, until rehabilitation was complete, no properties can be submerged and the oustees have every right to continue to reside in their original villages and cultivate lands.   
First, more than 500 families gheroed the Badwani collectorate, the oustees in three tehsils of Dhar District – Manavar, Kukshi and Dharampuri -- took out rallies, and at some places stormed into the offices of the tehsildar, demanding answers for "sudden and illegal release" of reservoir waters from the upstream dams, leading to submergence of their farms with standing crop, houses, household items, fodder, food grains,fishing nets etc. 
They raised issues related with lack of relief services and disaster preparedness of the administration and said, claims of rehabilitation by the Narmada Valley Development Authority were fake. On September 2, at Manavar tehsil the deputy tehsildar had to face angry questions from women and men, who came in hundreds from the villages of Ekalwara, Semalda, Gangli, Kavthi, Perkhad etc. It was only when the the deputy tehsildar finally agreed that an assessment of the damanges would be recorded that the oustees returned.
On September 4, at Kukshi, almost 800 oustees, largely women from the villages of Chikalda, Nisarpur, Karondia, Kothada, Koteshwar, Gehelgaon, Khaparkheda, Bajrikheda, Malwadi, Bodhwada etc. grilled the tehsildar and resettlement and rehabilitation (R&R) officer for almost five hours and said there was "rampant corruption in the R&R process". As arguments became heated, local MLA Mukam Singh Kirade reached the spot and spoke to the collector. Only after this the officials agreed for video-recording of the affected houses and properties.
On September 6, at Dharampuri, 500 women and men marched through the main streets and reached the office of the tehsildar, where the assistant R&R officer was also called, who listed to the woes after facing the wrath of the women, who said that till now (since August 23) their kitchen fires have not been lit and the government, which has been claiming of rehabilitation, did not care to even visit the villages when water was released in the midnight.
At all the three tehsils, the oustees also issued legal notice on government officials, including collector, district Dhar to ensure that the assessment of all losses and impacts are duly recorded as per the revenue book circular rules and the oustees are duly compensated. The oustees issued an ultimatum to the authorities that if their demands are not met soon, the struggle would be intensified and cases would be instituted against the officials in courts.

Comments

TRENDING

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Modi model? "Refusal" to build Narmada's micro canals, keep Kutch dry; help industry

By Medha Patkar*
This is the latest photograph of the Kutch Branch Canal (KBC) of the Sardar Sarovar, as of April 8! What does it show, expose, and what memories do you recall? Is it dry or dead? Is it a canal or a carcass of the same?

Bill Gates "promoting" GMO, Bt cotton, like cartels that have roots in Hitler's Germany

By Our Representative
World-renowned environmental leader and ecologist Dr Vandana Shiva has expressed concern that Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft Corporation, has joined the bandwagon of “a poison cartel of three" – Monsanto and Bayer, Syngenta and ChemChina, Dow and DuPont – all of whom allegedly have “roots in Hitler’s Germany and finding chemicals to kill people”.

Indian talc products contain "contaminated" asbestos structures, can cause cancer: Study

Counterview Desk
A recent study, using polarizing light microscopy, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), electron diffraction, and X-ray analysis on multiple over-the-counter Indian talc products for the presence of asbestos, has concluded that large quantities of body talc products are likely to pose a public health risk for asbestos-related diseases, especially for the cancers related to asbestos exposure.

Why are you silent on discrimination against Dalit jawans? Macwan questions Modi

By Rajiv Shah
Close on the heels of releasing his book in Gujarati, "Bhed Bharat", which lists 319 cases of atrocities against Dalits and Adivasis across the country over the last five years, well-known Gujarat Dalit rights leader Martin Macwan has shot an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, telling him the reasons why he does not want vote for the BJP.

Jharkhand Adivasi lynched to death by mob "chanting" Jai Shri Ram: Fact-finding team

Counterview Desk
On April 10, 2019, Prakash Lakda, a 50-year old Adivasi of Jurmu village of Gumla’s Dumri block, was lynched to death by a mob of men from the Sahu community of neighbouring Jairagi village. Three other victims from Jurmu – Peter Kerketta, Belarius Minj and Janerius Minj – sustained severe injuries due to the beating by the mob. A fact-finding team of Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha (JJM), comprising of several activists and representatives of member organisations, conducted a fact-finding inquiry into the incident on April 14-15.

Investigation shows Narmada downstream "seriously" polluted. Reason: apathy, greed

By Rohit Prajapati, Krishnakant, Swati Desai*
Our investigation regarding quality of water flowing in the Narmada river downstream of the Sardar Sarovar Dam (SSD), dated April 6, 2019, between 11.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. reiterates, what is commonly known now, that the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) is planned without considering its impact on the downstream Narmada River stretch of 161 kilometres, its ecology, biodiversity and fishery, and lakhs of people living close to and dependent on the river directly or indirectly. This, in turn, has led to its present disastrous state.

Emergence of a rare Dalit teacher in IIT-Kanpur "disturbed" certain faculty members

By PS Krishnan, IAS (Retd)*
Dr Subrahmanyam Sadrela, a faculty member in the Department of Aerospace Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Kanpur since January 1, 2018, and one of the rare Dalit members of the faculty in IIT group of institutions, is facing the threat of revocation of his PhD thesis, and thereby also jeopardizing his job and career.

RTE in remote areas? Govt of India "plans" to close down 2.4 lakh schools

By Srijita Majumder*
The Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009, came into effect on April 1, 2010, for the first time made it obligatory on the part of the State to provide free and compulsory education to all children from 6-14 years of age in India. The Act, despite its limitations, had progressive elements like neighbourhood schools, community participation, ban on corporal punishment, no detention, continuous and comprehensive evaluation and it hence it appeared that India was not far from achieving universal elementary education.

Election Commission suffering from worst-ever "credibility crisis": Ex-bureaucrats

Counterview Desk
In an open letter to President Ram Nath Kovind, a group of ex-bureaucrats have lamented ‘weak-kneed’ responses of the Election Commission of India (ECI) in the run up to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Citing various violations of the model code of conduct, and pointing towards how ECI has taken little action, the letter asks the President to tell ECI to “conduct itself in a manner where its independence, fairness, impartiality and efficiency are not questioned.”