Skip to main content

Narmada dam oustees: Claims of complete resettlement by Centre, states "false", thousands still affected

A rehabilitation site visited by the fact-finding team
By Our Representative
A National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM)-sponsored fact finding team consisting of two experts -- Raj Kachroo, a hydrologist, and Soumya Dutta, an energy and environment expert -- and Communist politicians has disputed the claims of the Government of India, as also Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh that resettlement and rehabilitation (R&R) of Narmada dam oustees, is complete. "The actual ground realities are totally different", it has claimed.
Other members of the fact-finding team were Hannan Mollah, general secretary of the CPI-M's All-India Kisan Sabha; Annie Raja, general secretary of CPI's National Federation of Indian Women; Binoy Viswom, ex-forest minister in the Government of Kerala; and Dr Sunilam, senior leader of the Samajwadi Samagam and two time MLA.
The NAPM, which is the apex body of tens of rights-based organizations of India, releasing details of the team's findings, said that the committee visited over 10 villages in the Narmada valley which are affected by the Sardar Sarovar project, to find the current and actual ground situation of the project-affected families, and extent of resettlement and rehabilitation.
Disputing the claims of the Centre and three states over R&R, on the basis of which the Gujarat government was allowed to raise Narmada dam height by 17 meters by installing piers and bridge over them, the committee found that there were "numerous complaints" from the dam oustees that they were still living in the villages in the submergence zone.
"They have not been given land-based compensation as per Supreme Court order and tribunal awards (which compels the Government to complete rehabilitation before starting further construction)", the committee, which visited Dhar district villages (Khalghat/ Ghazipura, Dharampurinagar, Ekalwara, Chikhalda and Nisarpur) and Badwani district villages (Bhilkheda, Rajghat, Pipri and Kharya Bhadal), said.
Annie Raja during a hearing with oustees at Bhadal village
The committee also met oustees from Alirajpur district villages such as Kakrana, Sugat and Jhandana and Bhadal, Dudhiya, Chimalkhedi, Jhapi, Falai and Dunnel from Maharashtra side, local MLA of Badwani Ramesh Patel, the ex-MLA, the Zilla Panchayat head and many gram panchayat heads.
The team found that "thousands of affected families are still waiting to get their due compensation and rehabilitation, as required by court and tribunal orders", and "hundreds of families and their house/land are about to be submerged, but their numbers and listing has not been properly done by the governments, contrary to claims."
The team found that even at the present height of about 122 meters, many families have not been recognized as submergence zone families, like those in Khalghat/ Ghazipur. "With the raising of the height of the dam structure by 17 meters to nearly 139 meters, thousands more will be severely affected/will be submerged", it added.
Calling it a disaster to happen, the team said, the governments seem to have done "large scale violations of both the Supreme Court’s orders and the orders of the Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal, and these violations are continuing."
The team found that the "physical condition" of rehabilitation sites they inspected were "pathetic, with wild growth on them, no roads, no water supply or electricity." Along with the lack of schools, health centers etc, affected families were "refusing to settle in these incomplete R&R sites".
The team found that some of the oustees who were given land in Gujarat’s Dabhoi resettlement area were now being dispossessed of those land, "as the township of Dabhoi is expanding and is trying to encroach on their land".
It also found that "the primary requirement of land-based rehabilitation, as ordered by the Supreme Court and the Tribunal, identifying demarcation and acquiring enough land by the government, is the biggest stumbling block in rehabilitation, as this critical task has not been done for large parts, particularly in Madhya Pradesh".
The oustees, said the team, also complained of large scale corruption as evident in "land allotment", pointing towards how "many land allotments were done in illegal ways, to people who are not really project-affected – for considerations of money – and this has led to many affected families' records being forged/obliterated."

Comments

TRENDING

Rescind Gates Foundation award to Modi, demand three Nobel Peace laureates

Counterview Desk
In a major boost to those opposing the award to the Gates Foundation’s proposed to be awarded to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his Swacch Bharat Abhiyan, three Nobel Peace Prize laureates, Mairead Maguire (1976), Tawakkol Abdel-Salam Karman (2011) and Shirin Ebadi (2003), have in an open letter called upon Milinda and Bill Gates to withdraw their decision, stating Modi is allegedly involved in human rights violations.

Gujarat's incomplete canals: Narmada dam filled up, yet benefits 'won't reach' farmers

By Our Representative
Even as the Gujarat government is making all out efforts to fill up the Sardar Sarovar dam on Narmada river up to the full reservoir level (FRL), a senior farmer rights leader has said the huge reservoir, as of today, remains a “mirage for the farmers of Gujarat”.
In a statement, Sagar Rabari of the Khedut Ekta Manch (KEM), has said that though the dam’s reservoir is being filled up, the canal network remains complete. Quoting latest government figures, he says, meanwhile, the command area of the dam has been reduced from 18,45,000 hectares (ha) to 17,92,000 ha.
“According to the website of the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd, which was last updated on Friday, while the main canal, of 458 km long, has been completed, 144 km of ranch canals out of the proposed length of 2731 km remain incomplete.
Then, as against the targeted 4,569 km distributaries, 4,347 km have been constructed, suggesting work for 222 km is still pending. And of the 15,670 km of minor canal…

Ceramic worker dies: 20,000 workers in Thangadh, Gujarat, 'risk' deadly silicosis

By Our Representative
Even as the country was busy preparing for the Janmashtami festival on Saturday, Hareshbhai, a 46-year-old ceramic worker from suffering from the fatal lung disease silicosis, passed away. He worked in a ceramic unit in Thangadh in Surendranagar district of Gujarat from 2000 to 2016.
Hareshbhai was diagnosed with the disease by the GCS Medical College, Naroda Road, Ahmedabad in 2014. He was found to be suffering from progressive massive fibrosis. He is left behind by his wife Rekha sister and two sons Deepak (18) and Umesh (12),
The death of Hareshbhai, says Jagdish Patel of the health rights group Peoples Training and Research Centre (PTRC), suggests that silicosis, an occupational disease, can be prevented but not cured, and the Factory Act has sufficient provisions to prevent this.
According to Patel, the pottery industry in the industrial town of Thangadh has evolved for a long time and locals as well as migrant workers are employed here. There are abou…

Bullet train impact report Japan agency property: Govt of India tells Gujarat NGO

The National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL) has told Gujarat-based environmental organization, Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS) that the detailed report of Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) representatives on their visit to Gujarat and Maharashtra assess the impact of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project on farmers is not its property, but that of JICA.

NHSRCL letter to PSS, signed by activists Rohit Prajapati, Krishnakant and Swati Desai, comes following the latter’s request to it on June 10 for the report. PSS was one of the NGOs that represented JICA on the project, saying, if implemented, it would adversely impact farmers, even as pointing towards the fact that the project itself is unviable and Indian Railways needs to invest, instead, more on upgrading the present railway infrastructure.
Following the NHSRCL reply, PSS has shot a second letter to JICA, insisting that the latter should share a copy of the report, even as providing details of the …

Report on "torture" in Kashmir jails: 44% detainees stripped naked, 29% electrocuted

Counterview Desk
A recent report titled “Torture: Indian State’s Instrument of Control in Indian-administered Jammu & Kashmir”, published by the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP), has claimed to build “on the body of human rights documentation on torture” in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) through an examination of 432 case studies. It seeks to focus on "the trends and patterns, targets, perpetrators, contexts and impact of torture" in the state.

Allow international human rights observers, media to access Kashmir: US lawmakers

Counterview Desk
In a letter to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, two members of the American Congress, Pramila Jayapal and James McGovern, raising "significant concerns" about what they call "humanitarian and human rights crisis in Jammu & Kashmir”, quoting "credible reports" from journalists and advocates on the ground" have said that "the Indian government has detained thousands of people with no recourse, imposed de facto curfews on residents' and cut off internet and telephone access in the region.”

Karma tribal festival an occasional to campaign for tribal rights: IPMSDL

By Our Representative
The International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL), in a solidarity statement has suggested that the current Karam festival of Central India -- which seeks to promote sisterhood, friendship, cultural unity, and closer link to nature -- should be the occasion to campaign against alleged efforts to violently drive away forest dwelling communities from their forest homes.
"Millions are threatened to lose lands and livelihood under the implementation of Forest Rights Act (FRA) of 2006", the statement States, adding, "As corporate interests continues to enter tribal territories and extract profit from its natural resources, indigenous people are pushed to further marginalization and discrimination."
Asserting that indigenous movement in India "remains steadfast in keeping their culture, deeply linked to their lands alive by carrying out their heritage and struggles", IPMSDL, even as extending "…

Amidst Modi celebrations, thousands protest 'massive' submergence in Narmada Valley

By Our Representative
Thousands of women and men gathered on at the Shaheed Stambh in Badwani, Madhya Pradesh, to raise their voice against what they called "the destruction of the Narmada Valley", protesting against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Gujarat BJP rulers for celebrating the Sardar Sarovar dam being filled up to the full reservoir level (FRL) on September 17, which also happens to be Modi's birthday.
Calling it a black day for the people of the Valley, whose villages and farms got submerged because of highest-ever water level having been achieved in the dam, the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), which organised the parallel rally across the border with Gujarat, regretted in a statement that Modi's celebration at the dam took place amidst " martyrdom of the Valley".
The demonstration in Badwani was preceded by a vehicles rally, which took rounds of the city streets. They were joined by people from several villages of Dhar district. They gather…

Narmada valley: SC notice to Gujarat, MP, M'rashtra on submergence sans rehabilitation

By Our Representative
Thr Supreme Court has issued notice to Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra governments following a Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA)-backed petition seeking the explanation as to whether large areas of Narmada Valley have gone into submergence by filling up the Sardar Sarovar dam up to the full reservoir level (FRL) without rehabilitating the project affected families (PAFs).

Historic Chikhalda, temples, mosques submerged, activists 'rescue' Gandhi idol

By Medha Patkar
The first farmer of Asia was born in Chikhalda, if one is to believe archaeological researchers. A historic village, 50 percent of its population is of Hindus and 50 percent of Muslims, yet it has always remained peaceful. Chikhalda has struggled to save water, land and people along Narmada river.