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

India under Modi among top 10 autocratizing nations, on verge of 'losing' democracy status

By Rajiv Shah
A new report, prepared by a top Swedish institute studying liberal democracy, has observed that there has been a sharp “dive in press freedom along with increasing repression of civil society in India associated with the current Hindu-nationalist regime of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.” The report places India among the top 10 countries that “have autocratized the most”. Other countries that have been identified for rolling towards autocracy are -- Hungary, Turkey, Poland, Serbia, Brazil, Mali, Thailand, Nicaragua and Zambia.

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam*
RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Gujarat link of controversial US doctor who 'forced' WHO quiz Trump's wonder drug

By Rajiv Shah
A top American doctor, Sapan Sharankishor Desai, born and raised in the “affluent” North Shore (Chicago) region of Illinois by Indian parents, at one point of time involved in NGO activity through  dedicated to “improving” the lives of the impoverished in Gujarat, is in the eyes of a major international storm following his paper (retracted) in a “Lancet” questioning Donald Trump-promoted drug hydroxychloroquine.

Border conflict? RBI nod India's 'brotherly' help to China internationalise its currency

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*
In the middle of a global pandemic, China started an unprovoked border conflict with India. It unraveled trust deficit and ties between the two neighbours. As thousands of Chinese troops tried occupying Indian territory, the Narendra Modi-led BJP government directs the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to allow the Bank of China to start regular banking services in India. The Bank of China will now operate in India like any other commercial banks.

Dalits in India, Blacks in US suffer 'similar' humiliation: Macwan drafts letter to Trump

Counterview Desk
Well-known human rights activist Martin Macwan, recipient of the prestigious Robert F Kennedy Human Rights Award in 2000, has drafted an open letter to US President Donald Trump following the disturbing turn of events with the murder of George Floyd, leading to widespread protests in the US. He has sought signatures of concerned citizens before sending it to Trump.

RSS supremo Deoras 'supported' Emergency, but Indira, Sanjay Gandhi 'didn't respond'

By Shamsul Islam*
National Emergency was imposed on the country by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on June 25-26, 1975, and it lasted for 19 months. This period is considered as ''dark times' for Indian democratic polity. Indira Gandhi claimed that due to Jaiprakash Narayan's call to the armed forces to disobey the 'illegal' orders of Congress rulers had created a situation of anarchy and there was danger to the existence of Indian Republic so there was no alternative but to impose Emergency under article 352 of the Constitution.

Clean chit to British rulers, Muslim League? Karnataka to have Veer Savarkar flyovers

By Shamsul Islam*
The BJP government of Karnataka led by BS Yediyurappa is going to honour Hindutva icon VD Savarkar by naming two of the newly built major flyovers in Bangalore and Mangalore after him. There was a huge uproar against this decision of the RSS-BJP government as many pro-Kannada organisations with opposition parties and liberal-secular organizations questioned the logic to ignore so many freedom fighters, social reformers and others from within the state.

Hurried nod to Western Ghat projects: 16 lakh Goans' water security 'jeopardised'

Counterview Desk
Taking strong exception to "virtual clearances" to eco-sensitive projects in the Western Ghats, the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) in a statement has said urged for a review of the four-lane highway, 400 KV transmission line and double tracking of the railway line through the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary and Mollem National Park in Goa.

Disturbing signal? Reliance 'shifting focus' away from Indian petrochemical sector

By NS Venkataraman*
Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), a large Indian company, has expanded and grown in a spectacular manner during the last few decades, like of which no industrial group in India has performed before. RIL is now involved in multi various activities relating to petroleum refineries, petrochemicals, oil and gas exploration, coal bed methane, life sciences, retail business, communication network, (Jio platform) media/entertainment etc.