Skip to main content

Gujarat govt's "cash for land" format for Narmada oustees boomerangs, protests break out in Alirajpur

By Our Representative
Fresh indications have emerged that the cash-again-land scheme, “worked out” for the Narmada dam oustees of Mahdya Pradesh (MP) as rehabilitation package by Gujarat government a decade ago allegedly to get over the “scarcity of land” problem in MP, has boomeranged. The National Alliance for People’s Movements (NAPM), an apex body of tens of civil rights groups across India, has informed that “hundreds of adivasis and farmers, representing the oustees affected by the Sardar Sarovar and Jobat dam projects in the Alirajpur district of Madhya Pradesh stormed the office of collector NP Deheria and engaged in a day-long protest, demanding the immediate of 40 adivasis, including six women.”
Gujarat government provided the “cash against land” scheme framework in the hope that the oustees’ problem would be resolved, and it would be able to begin further raise the Sardar Sardar Narmada dam’s current height from 121.94 metres to the full reservoir level, 138.64 metres, early. Under the Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal Award, it is obligatory to complete rehabilitation of the oustees before the dam’s height is raised at every stage. Clearance for raising the dam comes from the inter-state body, Narmada Control Authority (NCA) only after ascertaining that the rehabilitation has been completed.
But, apparently, this has not succeeded, and a dispute has broken out in MP’s affected areas. In a statement, the NAPM said, “the protesters were arrested on January 5 from the site of the Zameen Haq Satyagraha at Jobat”, adding, “They were stopped at the gates of the collectorate by a large contingent of armed police brought in from Alirajpur, Badwani, Dhar and Thandla, while the women, men, elderly and youth tried to barge inside for a dialogue with the collector. The women demanded that their family members must be immediately released, otherwise they would sit on an indefinite protest at the collectorate.”
The district collector, who came down to talk with the protesters, kept repeating that as “the oustees did not want land, they were being paid compensation”, the NAPM said, adding, contradicting the claim, provided by the Narmada authorities of the Madhya Pradesh government, the oustees’ representatives said, the “illegal submergence in the hilly villages of Sardar Sarovar began in 1994 and submergence in Jobat began in 2003. Till date, cultivable, irrigable, suitable and un-encroached land has not been provided to the affected families.”
Pointing out that “the only land offered to the SSP-affected adivasis was bad, uncultivable, encroached land, which is in utter violation of law and orders of the Supreme Court”, the statement added, “The Jobat Satyagraha is one of the longest non-violent, occupation struggles in recent history and has been resorted to by the oustees after umpteen attempts of petitioning, court cases and mass action by the adivasis. The oustees have been cultivating the land and have also reaped three harvests on this land.”
Over the last two weeks “notices were being issued to the oustees to vacate the land, else they would be forcibly evicted”, the statement informed, adding, “Replies to these notices and appeal for a concrete dialogue were not responded to by the authorities and a brutal eviction drive ensued.” Even Afroz Ahmed, director, rehabilitation, NCA, and Kantilal Bhuria, former tribal affairs minister, Government of India also visited the satyagraha and engaged in dialogue with the oustees.”
“Ahmed assured to raise the matter with the rehabilitation sub-group, Delhi, after which a direction was issued by the sub-group in its meeting on September 12, 2013 to the Madhya Pradesh government to offer government farm lands in rehabilitation”, NAPM said, adding, “The arrests have been made seemingly under Section 151 Cr PC. i.e. ‘causing disturbance to peace in the area’, while the oustees were in the farm land and there was absolutely nothing they did to disturb peace in the locality.”
“While in Sardar Sarovar, many hilly adivasis have not accepted any cash compensation, most of the Jobat Dam advasi oustees being illiterate, their signatures were taken on affidavits and were paid very meagre cash compensation, many years ago and the’, the NAPM said, adding, “The oustees have submitted a police complaint under the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 demanding legal action against all the concerned officers for arresting the adivasis, evicting them for the land, causing destruction of the standing crop at the Satyagraha and submergence of their lands and homes, without lawful rehabilitation.”

Comments

TRENDING

India performs 'poorly' in Quality of Life Index, ranks 62nd out of 64 countries

Counterview Desk “Expat Insider”, which claims to be one of the world’s most extensive surveys about living and working abroad, in a survey of 20,259 participants from around the globe, has found that of the 64 destinations around the globe, has found that while Taiwan is the best destination for persons living outside their native country, closely by Vietnam and Portugal, India ranks 59th.

Youngest of 16 activists jailed for sedition, Mahesh Raut 'fought' mining on tribal land

By Surabhi Agarwal, Sandeep Pandey* A compassionate human being, always popular among his friends and colleagues because of his friendly nature and human sensitivity, 33-year-old Mahesh Raut, champion of the democratic rights of the marginalised Adivasi people of Gadchiroli, Maharashtra, has been in prison for over two years now.

India's GDP down by 50%, not 23%, job loss 200 million not 122 million: Top economist

By Our Representative  One of India’s topmost economists has estimated that India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) decline was around 50%, and not 23%, as claimed by the Government of India’s top data body, National Statistical Organization (NSO). Prof Arun Kumar, who is Malcolm S Adiseshiah chair professor, Institute of Social Sciences, New Delhi, said this was delivering a web policy speech, organised by the Impact and Policy Research Institute (IMPRI), New Delhi.

Human development index: India performs worse than G-20 developing countries

By Rajiv Shah A new book, “Sustainable Development in India: A Comparison with the G-20”, authored by Dr Keshab Chandra Mandal, has regretted that though India’s GDP has doubled over the last one decade, its human development indicators are worse than not just developed countries of the Group of 20 countries but also developing countries who its members.

Stan Swamy vs Arnab Goswami: Are activists fighting a losing battle? Whither justice?

By Fr Sunil Macwan SJ* It is time one raised pertinent questions over the courts denying bail to Fr Stan Swamy, who was arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), and granting it to Arnab Goswami, editor-in-chief of the Republic TV, arrested under the charge of abetting suicide of Avay Naik, who ended his life in 2018. It is travesty of justice that a human rights activist is not only denied bail but is also made to wait for weeks to hear a response to his legitimate request for a straw to drink water, while Arnab Goswami walks free.

India among heavily impacted by Covid-19, China 'notoriously' evading transparency

By NS Venkataraman* With the year 2020 inevitably ending in the next few weeks, the thought amongst the people all over the world is whether the coming year 2021 will be free of Covid-19 (often dubbed as Wuhan virus, as it known to have spread from Wuhan in China).In the early 2020, many people thought that Covid-19 would be a localized affair in China but later on, it proved to be a global pandemic.

Namaz in Mathura temple: Haridwar, Ayodhya monks seek Faisal Khan's release

By Our Representative As many as 23 members of the Hindu Voices for Peace (HVP), including the founder president of the well-known Haridwar-based Matri Sadan Ashram, Swami Shivananda Saraswati, and a one of its top monks, Brahmachari Aatmabodhanand, have expressed their “dismay” over the arrest of Khudai Khidmatdar chief Faisal Khan and three others on charges of “promoting enmity between religions” and “defiling a place of worship” after they offered namaz in Mathura’s Nand Baba temple premises on October 29.

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Government of India 'refuses' to admit: 52% of bird species show declining trend

Finn's Weaver  By Our Representative The Government of India has been pushing out “misleading” data on the country’s drastic wildlife decline, says a well-researched report, pointing towards how top ministers are hiding data on biodiversity losses, even as obfuscating its own data. It quotes “State of India’s Birds Report 2020” to note that of the 261 out of 867 bird species for which long-term trends could be determined, 52% have declined since the year 2000, with 22% declining strongly.