Skip to main content

Apprehensions fly high: 5,000 Narmada dam oustees to be forcibly evicted after July 31 by Madhya Pradesh govt

Narmada dam/reseroir: Waiting to be filled up
By Our Representative
Is the Madhya Pradesh government preparing to forcibly evict about 5,000 project affected families (PAFs) of the Narmada dam after July 31, the date said to have been fixed up the Supreme Court (SC) to "resettle" all the dam oustees by paying them a "hefty" cash compensation?
While Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) leader Medha Patkar says it “cannot do it”, the view has picked up among knowledgeable circles that this may well happen if the authorities follows the latest SC order.
Patkar told Counterview from Maharashtra’s Manibeli village, situated on the banks of Narmada upstream of the dam, “We don’t have the certified copy of the SC order yet, hence we can’t comment. But clearly, the very fact that the SC asked for paying Rs 60 lakh to each of the 581 PAFs a whopping Rs 60 lakh compensation is a victory.”
Referring to the SC ruling given by of the bench consisting of Chief Justice JS Khehar and Justices NV Ramana and DY Chandrachud, she insisted, “Such compensation has never been paid before to any dam oustees.”
Apart from Rs 60 lakh to these PAFs, who had refused to accept land against cash compensation of Rs 5.58 lakh for two acres of land, another 4,216 PAFs are to be paid Rs 15 lakh each to those who were forced to buy up whatever land was offered from the Rs 5.58 lakh compensation.
However, fear has gone strong among the supporters of Narmada oustees that the Madhya Pradesh government would take advantage of the SC judgment and “forcibly remove” all PAFs – 581 plus 4,216 – to ensure that the Gujarat government closes its chapter of completing the Narmada dam. Both Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat are BJP ruled.
While technically the dam is complete, built up to the full reservoir level (FRL) – 138.64 metres – the Gujarat government cannot fill it up beyond 121.92 metres till all the oustees’ resettlement is complete.
In fact, Gujarat awaits Government of India agency Narmada Control Authority (NCA) nod -- that all the Narmada dam oustees have been resettling in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra, so that it could close the 31 gates and take the waters up to FRL, necessary for taking irrigation waters to far away Kutch and Saurashtra regions.
Nandini Oza, formerly a senior NBA activist and currently an independent researcher on developmental issues, has quoted media reports to say that “judges asked the 4,897 families to vacate their land by July 31 this year, failing which the authorities will be free to "forcibly remove them".
Oza says, “It is very painful, as it not only violates the rehabilitation and resettlement (R&R) principles laid down by the Narmada Water Dispute Tribunal (NWDT) but also denies the Narmada oustees' rights to justice and dignity.”
In a Facebook post, she insists, “The NWDT has clearly stated that PAFs must have land-for-land as rehabilitation and not cash compensation. Further, it states that irrigable lands must be made available to the oustees and they have to be rehabilitated one year in advance of submergence. It also has laid down the principle of community resettlement and so on.”
Oza insists, “Any amount of cash as compensation therefore violates miserably and fundamentally the rehabilitation rules laid down by NWDT in case of the Narmada dam oustees.”
Meanwhile, a media report says, “The top court used extraordinary powers vested under the Constitution's Article 142 to bring the curtains down on the 38-year-old legal battle. The provision empowers the court to pass any order, decree or judgment for "complete justice" to litigants.”
While the Centre and the Madhya Pradesh government have been asked to pay 681 families Rs 60 lakh each and 4,216 others Rs 15 lakh each within two months, the report says, “The judges asked the 4,897 families to vacate their land by July 31 this year, failing which the authorities will be free to ‘forcibly remove them’.
An keen observer says, “The court said that the payments are in keeping with the Land Acquisition (Resettlement and Rehabilitation) Act, 2013, which entitles the landholder to four times the market value as compensation. The families concerned are supposed to get their due amount by July this year and vacate the place.”
“The order, however, goes against the promise of the Narmada Nigam to provide land for land. Cash compensation is a step backward. It now turns out that Gujarat, the beneficiary State, has been unable to provide land for the oustees, most of whom are from Madhya Pradesh.”

Comments

TRENDING

Missed call drive for VVPAT verification follows online plea to "pressure" poll panel

By Our Representative
Several political activists have begun a new campaign, asking concerned citizens to give a missed call on 9667655855 to “support the demand that 2019 Loksabha elections must be declared only after verification of 50% electronic voting machines (EVMs) with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) receipts.” The effort, supported by civil society networks across India, is meant to "further pressure" India's election machinery to ensure that the poll outcome becomes more transparent.

Did Modi own, buy digital camera costing Rs 7 lakh in 1987-88, also used email?

Counterview Desk
In an interview to the news channel News Nation, aired on Saturday last, Prime Minister Narendra Modi declaring that he had approved the air strike despite bad weather because he felt the clouds would hide Indian planes from Pakistani radar is known to have become a laughing stock across India.

When a neo-nationalist "invaded" hijab clad ladies, Bengali looking scholar in Delhi metro

By Aditi Kundu*
Travelling in Delhi metro on a daily basis to commute from Mayur Vihar to Dwarka, I see diverse people everyday. One can hear them talk about different aspects of life, from kitchen pilitics to national politics. On the morning of May 13, I witnessed a strange incident; disturbing and amusing at the same time.

Terror attacks: Difference in public reactions in India, those in Colombo, Christchurch

By Battini Rao*
Recently, on April 20 during Easter Sunday, more than 250 people were killed in a series of coordinated terrorist attacks in churches and hotels in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Local Islamic organisations Thawheed Jamath (NJT) and Jamathei Milathu Ibrahim (JMI) are held responsible for the attack. Islamic State has also claimed responsibility.

Women lost 88 lakh jobs in 2018: Why Modi "failed" to address their disempowerment?

Counterview Desk
Five human rights leaders Anjali Bhardwaj, Shabnam Hashmi, Purnima Gupta, Dipta Bhog, and Amrita Johri of the Women March for Change have posed 56 questions (alluding to Modi’s claim of 56 inches chest) to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP against the backdrop of his interview with a Bollywood star, which was allegedly masqueraded as a “non-political” conversation.

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Disproportionately high death sentences against Dalits, Adivasis, Muslims: UN told

Counterview Desk
In their joint submission to the United Nations Human Rights Committee to meet for the listing of adoption of list of issues at its 126th session, July 1-26, 2019, top Dalit rights organizations have taken strong exception to, among other things, "disproportional application of death sentencing by the judiciary of minorities, such as Muslims, Dalits and Adivasis".

Ex-IAS, IPS, IFS officers tell Modi: Pragya Thakur doesn't represent India's rich heritage

Counterview Desk
In an open statement, a group of former civil servants have said that normally they would have dismissed the candidature of Pragya Thakur, who is BJP’s choice for the Bhopal Lok Sabha constituency, as an act of political expediency. However, they were forced to react to her candidature after none other than Prime Minister Narendra Modi termed has as a “symbol of our civilisational heritage.”

India's 80% construction sites "unsafe", deaths 20 times higher than those in Britain

By Rajiv Shah
The Government of India may be seeking to project India’s construction sector as the country’s second-largest employer of the country after agriculture, providing jobs to more than 44 million people, and contributing nearly 9% to the national GDP, yet, ironically, its workforce is more unprotected than any other industrial sector of the country. Data suggest that the possibility of a fatality is five times more likely in the construction industry  than in a manufacturing industry, and the risk of a major injury is 2.5 times higher.

India sans Modi preferable, Congress worthier recipient of Indians’ votes: The Economist

By Our Representative
In a strongly-worded and crucial commentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the electoral political battle is on, influential British weekly “The Economist”, has declared that “Indians, who are in the midst of voting in a fresh election, would be better off with a different leader”, even as pointing out that that under Modi, “India’s ruling party poses a threat to democracy.”