Skip to main content

Well attended NBA-led rally of Narmada dam oustees in Bhopal demands: Return "illegally acquired land"

NBA-led rally in Bhopal
By Our Representative
The Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), which led a well-attended rally of Narmada dam oustees of Madhya Pradesh in Bhopal, has triggered a hornet’s nest: In a letter submitted to chief minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan demanding justice to outees of the Narmada dam, the NBA has sought his intervention to implement the crucial section 24 of the new land acquisition Act – Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 – which says that any acquired land, if lying idle for five years, will be returned to the original owner.
Led by senior social activist Medha Patkar, the rally saw oustees declare, through NBA, that, as their land was not acquired five years prior to the date on which the law came into effect, January 1, they had “automatically become the rightful owners.” In its letter to the chief minister, however, NBA has not given any figures as to how many such oustees are there. The letter merely said, “Oustees are demanding their right. You cannot take away the ownership of their land and natural resources in the name of development.” It added, “You or the Centre cannot overlook the crucial law land acquisition law passed in Parliament.”
Contesting the Madhya Pradesh government claim that all oustees have been rehabilitated, NBA asked, “How could you allow the Narmada dam to be raised from 121.92 metres to 138.64 metres by sacrificing the rights of oustees of 193 villages?” It said, “Fake land records scam has been unearthed, and the Jha committee, appointed by the High Court, is inquiring into the matter. It is a scam worth Rs 1,000 crore. Facts suggest that thousands of oustees have neither received land nor any means of livelihood. How can the dam be allowed to be raised without the completion of the inquiry?”
Medha Patkar addressing rallyists
The letter said, apart from the landowning farmers, there are landless workers, fisherfolk, potters, others, who have lost their livelihood. They were merely offered Rs 40,000 to Rs 50,000 as compensation. “How could the government take away their livelihood and offer such pittance? Rehabilitation sites built by the government are not fit for living. In such a situation, how the villagers could be asked to vacate their villages and allow their land to go into submergence by raising the Narmada dam?”
Reiterating the demand for “a complete review of the entire Sardar Sarovar project” by stopping further raising of the dam, the letter wondered, “How is it that a project, for which the Gujarat government is ready to spend Rs 90,000 crore, does not have funds to properly rehabilitate the Narmada oustees? Why is it that even 30 years after the project began being implemented, only 30 per cent of the canal network has been constructed? While four lakh hectares (ha) land is being decommanded, why is it that merely 1.5 lakh ha is being irrigated out of 18 lakh ha proposed?”
Apart from Patkar, signatories to the letter include representatives from two dozen villages which NBA claims will be going into submergence.

Comments

TRENDING

Communal rhetoric? Hindutva preached by RSS-BJP is 'monolithic', not Hinduism

By Prem Verma*  I am a devout Hindu but not a believer of RSS Hindutva form of Hinduism which brings about hatred of other religions. My Hindu religion has not taught me to look down on other religions and neither has it instilled in me to go about converting others to my religion because my religion is superior.

Gross 'injustice' to children: Rs 5000 cr cut in education budget; 15 lakh schools shut down

Counterview Desk  More than 100 dignitaries, including educationists, academia, social activists, teachers’ union, civil society organisations (CSOs), various networks and people working on child rights, in a letter to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman have sought reversal of reduction in allocation for education in the Union Budget 2021-22, even as demanding substantial increase in it.

India sees 62 journo deaths, 4th highest, amidst pandemic: Swiss media rights body

By Our Representative The Switzerland-based media rights body Press Emblem Campaign (PEC) has noted that India is the fourth most affected country as far as mediapersons’ death on account of Covid-19 is concerned. According to Blaise Lempen, secretary-general of PEC, the global tally of casualties among media persons in the Covid-19 pandemic has reached 1,036 journalists in 73 countries till date.

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.

RSS love for 'killer' Myanmar junta behind Indian military presence at Tatmadaw Day?

By Shamsul Islam*  If a shameful act means an action which is criminal and nauseating, it would be an understatement to describe the attitude of the present RSS-BJP rulers of India towards the demolition of democracy and large-scale killing of the people of Myanmar by the military ( tatmadaw ) junta which took power through a coup on February 1, 2021 after renegading the election results in which the party of Aung San Suu Kyi, National League for Democracy, was a clear winner.

Chhattisgarh’s Apra riverfront imitates Sabarmati: 'Devaluing' water, environment

Sabarmati riverfront By Mansee Bal Bhargava*  This year’s #WorldWaterDay (March 22) focus was on ‘Valuing Water’. My school friend, Pragati Tiwari from Bilaspur, Chhattisgarh, called that day knowing my interest in water matters. We were remembering our childhood days as how we used to play on the banks and the bed of the Arpa Nadi (River) during the summer holidays and as how the river would swell like Anaconda to flow happily during the monsoon.

Bihar massacre on Holi day: Brahminical, casteist mindset behind 'uneasy' silence

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  Several people were killed in Bihar amidst Holi festivities, but not much response has come in from the media. The silence of the government and the society as a whole is also appalling. We seek to romanticise these festivals, yet we forget that every year they take so many lives. This despite the fact that Holi appears to be the best time for 'avenging things'.

India's draft migrants policy: Whither concern on job restrictions imposed by states?

By Anil Kumar*  India’s Niti Aayog has prepared a Draft Migration Policy. The draft policy acknowledges migration as an integral part of development, and it calls for positive government interventions that facilitate internal migration. With a rights-based solution to migration, the draft states that the policy should “enhance the agency and capability of the community and thereby remove aspects that come in the way of an individual’s own natural ability to thrive”.

Recalling Jallianwala martyrs' communal amity as BJP 'warns' of Sitalkuchi everywhere

By Shamsul Islam*  The RSS-BJP rulers declare India to be a battle-ground between Hinduism and Islam. Muslims have been declared as ‘internal threat’ by RSS ideologue MS Golwalkar (“Bunch of Thought”, Chapter xvi). Behaviour of many of their leading cadres, including those who hold high constitutional posts, is such that they seem to be conspiring over-time to ignite a civil war between the two communities. They are under the impression that this would help divert attention from failures of the Hindutva rulers on developmental front.