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

RSS wanted Constitution 'replaced' by Manusmriti which abused Dalits, women

By Shamsul Islam* The Constituent Assembly of India finalized the Constitution of India on November 26, 1949 which is celebrated as the Constitution Day This Constitution promised new born Indian Republic a polity based on democracy, justice, egalitarianism and rule of law. However, RSS was greatly annoyed. Four days after the historic event of approval of it, the RSS English “Organiser” in an editorial on November 30, 1949, complained:

Nuclear energy 'can't solve' global warming, will 'strain' financial, natural resource

Counterview Desk  Taking strong exception to Rafael Mariano Grossi, Director General, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), who has favoured nuclear energy as a solution to global warning, well-known power and policy analyst Shankar Sharma has said that the IAEA chief's “unsubstantiated advocacy” of nuclear power is associated with “diversion of considerable amounts of scarce resources, both financial as well as natural, of many developing countries, such as India.”

Covid taught us: Exams are cruel process of 'eliminating' those seeking education

By Sandeep Pandey, Seema Muniz, Gopal Krishna Verma* Some people are disheartened with the disruption in children’s education due to the menace of Covid and the successive lockdowns. While a number of children are getting used to attending online classes, their counterparts from the weaker socio-economic backgrounds continue to struggle either because of unfamiliarity with technology or because of having to share a single device with their siblings and/or parents. More unfortunate ones have been completely pushed out of the system which has resulted in the virtual drop in the rate of enrolment.

Book on Bhil rebels offers other side of history, neglected by 'nationalist' historians

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  One of the major accusations against Indian historians is that of neglecting and ignoring the role of the marginalised in the freedom struggle. Most of the time, we are ‘informed’ that there were some ‘heroes’ and ‘villains’ of the freedom movement, all of them belonging to the same stock of caste as well as ‘power’ positions as their opponents.

Mysterious death of Kishenji 'triggered' series of splits in Maoist camp in India

By Harsh Thakor* On November 24 fell the 10th death anniversary of Kishenji, a prominent Maoist leader, he was also a poet, a scientist, and a soldier. Since his school days he dreamt of planting the seed to create new man. Born in 1954 in Peddapally town (in Karimnagar district, north Telangana), Kishenji was raised by his father Venkataiah (a “freedom fighter”, he called him) and a progressive mother, Madhuramma.

Govt of India responsible for 71% delays in NREGA wage payments, say economists

Counterview Desk  In an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, more than 70 economists have urged the Government of India to release “adequate funds” for implementing the rural jobs guarantee scheme under the MGNREGA immediately, pointing out that the pandemic continues to adversely affect the living condition of working families.

Learning to bridge 'huge chasm' between highly educated, illiterate, badly literate

By Shrey Ostwal, Sandeep Pandey*  The pivotal point of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi’s journey to become Mahatma Gandhi began when his “political guru” – Gopal Krishna Gokhale – advised young Mohandas to travel around India. This rigorous journey was essential for Mohandas to understand his country and countrypersons better if he were to fight the inhumane and unempathetic British regime which had been looting India of its glory for about two centuries then.

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.

Arrest of top J&K civil society leader shows contempt for international law: PUCL

Counterview Desk  Commenting on the arrest of Kashmiri human rights defender Khurram Parvez, India’s top human rights advocacy group, People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), has said that the Government of India action is “one more attempt ... to silence peaceful, non-violent dissenters”, adding, it suggests how “a brutalizing state machinery" has been acting.

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

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".