Skip to main content

"Resettled" Narmada oustees in Gujarat step up protest following govt efforts to take away their land

By Our Representative
Tens of Gujarat adivasis, threatened displacement from their Narmada resettlement site on the basis of the town planning Act for triggering industrial and urban development, sat on dharna on September 28, 2014 following clear indications that the promised meeting with the  district collector, Narmada, would not take place, as promised, for settling their grievances. The meeting was to take place to discuss the implications of the notices being given to the resettled Narmada oustees. "When a team of 15 oustees reached Rajpipla headquarters, they found that the collector was transferred overnight, and hence no dialogue was possible", the anti-dam Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) said in a statement.
"The adivasis -- Jikubhai, Karam Singh, Raman Bhai, Ratan bhai, Sumitra Ben and others -- were quite upset and desperate to make their grievances heard and justice sought", the NBA said, adding, "This forced them to begin their  fast at Devalia Chowkdi (square), putting up slogans about their demands towards full and fair rehabilitation of hundreds of families, who are evicted from original forest based villages on the bank of Narmada but have not received full entitlements."
Earlier, on September 26, they were pulled out of a state transport bus in which they were travelling to represent their case before chief minister Anandiben Patel. Patel was to reach Rajpipla, headquarters of Narmada district, for a programme. The operation of pulling down the victims was carried out by cops, according to information received by the NBA.
“In protest, they began a dharna (sit-in) at Devalia village. The action was withdrawn when they were promised a meeting with the district collector on September 27.” The town planning Act, if applied on a certain area, requires the landowners to hand over 40 to 50 per cent of their land for infrastructure development.
Signed by NBA leader Medha Patkar, the statement said, “Gujarat's adivasis resettled at the resettlement side for the last 15 to 20 years are facing displacement, as they have been asked to give away their land for town planning or canals for the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) project, with the help of Japan investment”, providing examples of how farmers are refusing to comply by the Gujarat government directive to hand over the land for industrial and town planning purposes.
“Simjibhai and others of Kukad site denied consent to give away land for canal. Bija Shankar refused to sign up papers of consent even after his house in Dabhoinada resettlement site was forcibly and illegally demolished. There are numerous examples of this type. They are all united with others from resettlement sites, who too sense the threat while they are yet to receive all their rehabilitation entitlements, as per law, even after 20 years they were shifted out.”
The statement claimed, “While hundreds of Narmada dam-affected families in Gujarat are yet to get their dues, there are others who have received land which is of no use. In Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra, the story is worse. There are thousands of families who are residing in their own villages in the submergence area, and are refusing to move out despite notices handed over to them. The pucca houses, shops and market, prime agricultural land, trees and forests, temples and mosques, cannot be destroyed and lives devastated”.
The Maharashtra government, meanwhile, has declared that there are 791 families, affected by the Narmada dam, who are yet to be rehabilitated. Contesting this, the NBA said, “There are, as per records, at least 400 others whose legal applications are pending before Justice Bagga, chairman, Grievance Redressal Authority GRA). A report submitted to the Narmada Control Authority (NCA) by the Government of Maharashtra's officials earlier was fraudulent, it has been proved. Land is yet to be located, beyond some dispersed pieces which are still to be offered to oustees after removal of encroachment.”
“In Madhya Pradesh”, the NBA said, “the hilly adivasis in Alirajpur, affected since 1994, are yet not fully rehabilitated and the process of showing them land is still on under GRA's orders. Hundreds of GRA's orders granting rights to the farmers and labourers with farms and houses are yet to be implemented. At least 2,000 project affected families in Madhya Pradesh are found to be duped through fake land registries (sale deeds) and the inquiry is on. All this and much more clearly indicates that the Narmada dam’s height, if raised to 138.68 meters by erecting 17 meters high gates is be illegal and brutal”.
Tribals next to Narmada dam also feel the heat
Meanwhile, in a separate statement issued by the Sitter Gaam Adivasi Sanstha, which represents tribals of the villages surrounding the Narmada dam, said that the adivasis are feeling the heat of the Gujarat government effort to implement the town planning Act in their region. The statement said, several of their leaders, including Kalpeshbhai Tadvi of Indravarna village, Lakhan Musafir of Mathavadi village, Narendra Tadvi and Vikram Tadvi of Kevadia village, and many others, were sought to be prevented from moving next to the dam. "It was totally unprovoked. We do not understand why this happened. There is no case against us", the statement said.  

Comments

TRENDING

It's now official: Developed Gujarat's regular, casual workers earn less than 19 top states

By Rajiv Shah
Though not as low as state chief minister Vijay Rupani claims it to be (0.9%), Gujarat’s unemployment rate, at least as reflected in a recent report released by the Government of India, is 4.8%, lower than the national average, 6%. Yet, ironically, the same report, released soon after the Lok Sabha polls came to an end in May 2019, brings to light an even grimmer reality: Lower wages in "model" and "developed" Gujarat compared to virtually the whole of India, including the so-called Bimaru states.

Telangana govt proposes to give unfettered powers to forest officials, 'help' corporates

By Dr Palla Trinadha Rao*
The Telangana Government is contemplating to replace the Telangana Forest Act 1967 with a new law - the Telangana Forest Act (TFA) 2019, trampling the rights of adivasis ensured under the Scheduled Tribes and other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 (FRA Act 2006) and Panchayats Extension to Schedule Area (PESA) Act 1996 both of which are central acts.

RSS, Hindu Mahasabha were 'subservient' to British masters: Nagpur varsity VC told

Counterview Desk
Well-known political scientist Shamsul Islam, associate professor (retired), University of Delhi, in an open letter to the vice-chancellor of the Rashtrasant Tukadoji Maharaj Nagpur University, Dr Siddharthavinayaka P Kane, has taken strong exception to the varsity decision to include RSS’ “role” in nation building in the syllabus of the BA (history) course, citing instances to say that the RSS ever since its birth in 1925 with its Hindutva allies like Hindu Mahasabha led by VD Savarkar worked overtime to “betray the glorious anti-colonial freedom struggle”.

Amaravati: World Bank refusing to share public grievances on Land Pooling Scheme

By Our Representative
A new report, prepared by the advocacy group Centre for Financial Accountability (CFA), New Delhi, has taken strong exception to the World Bank refusing to share its independent assessment of the Land Pooling Scheme (LPS), floated by the Andhra Pradesh government in order to build the new capital.

British companies export 'deadly' asbestos to India, other countries from offshore offices

By Rajiv Shah
“The Sunday Times”, which forms part of the powerful British daily, “The Times”, has raised the alarm that though the “deadly” asbestos is banned in Britain, companies registered in United Kingdom, and operating from other countries, “are involved in shipping it to developing nations”, especially India. India, Brazil, Russia and China account for almost 80% of the asbestos consumed globally every year, it adds.

Beijing-based infrastructure bank 'funding' India's environmentally risky projects

By Our Representative
A new civil society note has questioned the operations of the Beijing-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), a multilateral development bank that aims to support the building of infrastructure in the Asia-Pacific region, seeking to fund projects in India through the Government of India’s National Infrastructure Investment Fund (NIIF), calling it “a risky venture”.

Include all workers exposed to silica dust in anti-TB programme: Govt of India told

Counterview Desk
In a letter, sponsored by well-known civil rights organization, Occupational & Environmental Health Network of India and signed by more than 60 professionals and activists*, Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, has been told that Indian policy makers shouldn't just acknowledge higher TB risk to mine and stone crusher workers, but also “other silica-exposed workers”.

Universal healthcare? India lacks provisions to 'fight' non-communicable diseases

By Moin Qazi*
Universal health coverage (UHC) -- ensuring that all people receive proper and adequate health care without suffering financial hardship -- is an integral part of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. It enables countries to make the most of their strongest asset: human capital.

Polygamy in India "down" in 45 yrs: Muslims' from 5.7 to 2.55%, Hindus' 5.8 to 1.77%, "common" in SCs, STs

By Rajiv Shah
Amidst All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) justifying polygamy, saying it “meets social and moral needs and the provision for it stems from concern and sympathy for women”, facts suggest the the practice is down from 5.7 per cent of Muslim families in 1961 to 2.55 per cent in 2006.

TISS Hyderabad: Burden of funds cut falls on students from 'marginalized' sections

Counterview Desk
Top activists associated with the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), a civil society network, including Medha Patkar, Aruna Roy, Nikhil Dey, Shankar Singh, Dr Binayak Sen, and Prafulla Samantara, has protested against the decision of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) administration for “sine die” closure of TISS, Hyderabad Campus, even as “denying” hostel access to Dalit and Adivasi students.