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20,000 Narmada dam oustee families "not calculated" as project affected, just 50 resettled in Madhya Pradesh

By Our Representative
Top social activist Medha Patkar has accused the Madhya Pradesh government of “constantly fudging” the backwater level data (click HERE) of the submergence zone of the Narmada dam, thereby keeping approximately 20,000 project affected families (PAFs) out of the number of beneficiaries.
Calculating the outees without any “scientific and legal” basis, Patkar says, “The government has denied them their due resettlement and rehabilitation (R&R) share – initially 4,374 PAFs and then another 15,900 PAFs.”
Pointing out that in three decades of struggle, the NBA “succeeded” in ensuring land to 14,000 oustees – Adivasis, Dalit farmers and their families in Gujarat and Maharashtra – the petition says, “But Madhya Pradesh is a different story; only 40 to 50 displaced families have been allotted land.”
Asserting this in an online petition, Patkar says, “Villages that lie in the submergence zone are full of life and activity with its houses, panchayats, temples, mosques, shops, markets and lakhs of trees which cannot be submerged without proper resettlement violating the Narmada Water Dispute Tribunal and Supreme Court judgments of 1992, 2000 and 2005.”
The petition, which is proposed to be sent to Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan, simultaneously asks Prime Minister Narendra Modi to first ensure completion of R&R of all Narmada dam oustees – whose number she estimates to be a whopping 40,000 – even as asking the Gujarat government to “stop construction of the dam” till then.
The petition asks Chauhan “to make public the Jha Commission report on corruption in land distribution to the Narmada dam oustees public, and send the guilty officials to jail.”
Pointing out that the organization she heads, Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), has “challenged the government’s false affidavits on the question of complete R&R and exposed the massive corruption involved in the process”, Patkar says, “Through our petition, the Madhya Pradesh High Court constituted a Commission of Enquiry under Justice SS Jha.”
She adds, “The Jha Commission submitted its report after nearly seven years of detailed hearings into cases of corruption involving influential people and accepted the massive fraud to tune of Rs 1,000 crore.”
Objecting to the NBA being denied access to the report, the petition says, “The State of Madhya Pradesh has challenged our access to this report of enquiry in the courts citing privilege of the State Assembly.”
Recalling that there has been a massive protest against failure to rehabilitate dam oustees, Patkar says, “From April 27 to 29, thousands gathered in Bhopal, the capital of Madhya Pradesh in a ‘Chetavani Upwas’ with a set of demands for the state and the Centre. Solidarity actions were held in Hyderabad, Bhubaneshwar, Delhi, Bihar, Jharkhand and other places.”
Asking the signatories to also write directly to the Prime Minister of India and Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, pressing for the demands, the petition insists on organizing “solidarity actions, programmes, discussions wherever you are, schools, colleges, streets, villages, cities and so on.”
“Take to social media, post solidarity messages, postcards, memes, or whatever it takes to create the buzz and pressure on authorities to act”, the petition says, adding, “The NBA has survived on the support and cooperation from the people and in future. It has been three long struggle filled decades since the people of the Narmada valley have been non-violently opposing the Sardar Sarovar Dam.”
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Click HERE for online petition

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