Skip to main content

Apprehending massive submergence, 10-km human chain along Narmada river opposes Govt of India move on dam gates

By Our Representative
The powerful anti-dam organization, Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), stepped up pressure on Monday by creating a unique 10 km long human chain against the Narmada Control Authority (NCA), which is to meet on May 9 to decide on closing the Narmada dam’s gates, saying such a step would submerge 244 villages and a town.
The NCA is the Government of India's inter-state body established under the Narmada (Water Dispute) Tribunal Award, is to finalize the dam’s height and other issues related with the Narmada project, including rehabilitating dam oustees.
Participated by nearly 5,000 people from the Narmada valley, the human chain touched on borders of living village communities and on the banks of the river. The protesters raised slogans and placards against closing the dam’s gates, which would allow the dam’s reservoir to store water up to 139 meters.
In a statement NBA said, “After 31 years struggle, 15,000 families have been rehabilitated, but very few of them have been resettled in Madhya Pradesh. Nearly 40,000 families live in the villages which face submergence.”
Project affected persons – women, men, children, farmers, fishermen, potters and labours –blocked Rajghat Bridge on the river in Badwani, on the border of Gujarat, holding a public meeting there.
Among those who joined the human chain included former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijay Singh, a known Narmada dam votary of yester-years, along with his Congress supporters.
Participants said, thousands of families are yet to get the new package in lieu of land, announced by the Supreme Court. “Thousands of landless have not received any package”, one of them, Devram Kanhera, said.
Added Pemal Behan from Dhanora village, “We can’t build our houses with meager compensation. The resettlement sites are not ready and widows, poor single women have no support to raise a plinth.”
People from scheduled areas, especially tribals, said they would hold special Gram Sabhas in the coming days and pass resolutions bringing out facts and figures related to balanced rehabilitation. 
Their resolutions will form the legal basis for any further decision.
Addressing protesters, NBA leader Medha Patkar said, “Lack of monitoring of rehabilitation and environmental measures have resulted in fraudulent reports and affidavits on compensation to the dam oustees.”
Meanwhile, in a statement, prominent citizens, including CPI-M’s farmers’ leader Hannan Mollah, well-known religious leader Swami Agnivesh, socialist Dr Sunilam, activist Vimal Bhai, and journalist Sumit Chakravarty said that “it is a countdown towards impounding waters in the 214 km land stretch where more than 40,000 families are residing till date.”
“There are standing crops and massive plantations; thousands of pucca houses, schools, other public and private services erected; hundreds of temples, tens of mosques (as opposed to three temples claimed by the authorities), adivasi gods and worship places, all of which will be submerged”, they said.
“There are lakhs of trees in the submergence area. People are continuing with their daily lives, and except for a few villages in the hilly mountainous region, falling in Alirajpur district, all other villages in the plains, at least 150 have large populations (hundreds of families in each) with functioning panchayats”, they added.

Comments

TRENDING

Green revolution "not sustainable", Bt cotton a failure in India: MS Swaminathan

Counterview Desk
In a recent paper in the journal “Current Science”, distinguished scientist PC Kesaven and his colleague MS Swaminathan, widely regarded as the father of the Green Revolution, have argued that Bt insecticidal cotton, widely regarded as the continuation of the Green Revolution, has been a failure in India and has not provided livelihood security for mainly resource-poor, small and marginal farmers.
Sharply taking on Green Revolution, the authors say, it has not been sustainable largely because of adverse environmental and social impacts, insisting on the need to move away from the simplistic output-yield paradigm that dominates much thinking. Seeking to address the concerns about local food security and sovereignty as well as on-farm and off-farm social and ecological issues associated with the Green Revolution, they argue in favour of what they call sustainable ‘Evergreen Revolution’, based on a ‘systems approach’ and ‘ecoagriculture’.
Pointing out that Evergreen Revol…

Rejoinder: Inescapable to have Central Water Commission as strong technical body in India

By BN Navalawala*
This is with reference to Counterview Blog (December 5, 2018), "Modi govt 'shelves' water reforms report, shows 'no interest' in its recommendations", below mentioned are my comments/observations thereon:
A committee was constituted under the Chairmanship of Dr. Mihir Shah, Former Member, Planning Commission, for restructuring of Central Water Commission (CWC) and Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) for optimal development of water resources in the country in the backdrop of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM).

Some Hindu bodies in US defending BJP-RSS' divisive, violent activities: Agnivesh

Counterview Desk Last week, Washington DC saw speakers at a religious freedom roundtable, chaired by the US Ambassador for Religious Freedom, Sam Brownback, express concern over "eroding" space for religious freedom in India. Dr Mike Ghouse, executive director, of the Center for Pluralism in Washington DC, referring to the roundtable, said in an email alert that Indian-Americans have "a moral duty to prevent India from being labeled as a Country of Particular Concern by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF)".

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.

Preventing childhood deaths: India performs worse than Bangladesh, "equals" Pakistan

By Rajiv Shah
A just-released study, “The Pneumonia and Diarrhea Progress Report 2018”, prepared by the International Vaccine Access Centre (IVAC) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, has identified India among 15 other countries which are still far off the mark in achieving the targets of the Global Action Plan for the Prevention of Pneumonia and Diarrhea (GAPPD).

India's rewritten textbooks talk of demerits of democracy, praise Hitler, underrate Mughals

Counterview Desk
A detailed, 3,800-word review of the books rewritten under directions of the BJP rulers across India since Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in May 2014 has suggested that one of aims of the books is to instill a sense of doubt about India’s democratic polity among the country’s young minds. Reviewed in the prestigious US journal, “The New York Review of Books”, in its latest issue (December 6, 2018) by Alex Traub, the scrutiny insists, the effort has also been to paint Indian history from the angle of “Hindu triumphalism”, even as creating “Islamophobia”.

Govt of India "tarnishing" NGO reputation, dossier leaked selectively: Amnesty

Counterview Desk
Amnesty International India has said that a deliberate attempt is being made to tarnish its reputation by leaking a dossier, supposedly made by investigating agencies, to media without giving it access to any such information. The high profile NGO’s claim follows a Times Now report about proceedings launched by investigative agencies, including Enforcement Directorate (ED) against the rights body for “violations” of rules pertaining to overseas donations.

Four children die after poor UP Dalit, Muslim families forced to flee to forest area: PVCHR

Counterview Desk
Peoples’ Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR) has said that the forest department police’s crackdown, allegedly without any prior notice, on Dalit and Muslim households in Dakhin Tola, Churk Bazaar, Sonbhadra district, Uttar Pradesh, beating up “children and old people, women, and men in an inhuman way”, has led to “forced displacement, starvation and discrimination”. This has reportedly affected about 350 people.

Social workers, architects, students, historians, common people come together, protest "politics" of renaming Ahmedabad

By Nandini Oza*
No sooner did the BJP leaders of Gujarat announce the intention of changing the name of Ahmedabad to Karnavati just before Diwali, on November 7, 2018, many people’s mood changed from festivity to heated debate and furor across the state. For many of us, an online petition, initiated by Bandish Soparkar, on change.org protesting name change came to immediate rescue.

Vedanta is out but corporate loot continues in Odisha: Local activists tell NAPM yatra

By Our Representative
Lok Shakti Abhiyan leader Prafulla Samantara, winner of the Goldman Environmental (also known as Green Nobel) Prize in 2017, has regretted that though Sundergarh in Odisha, like other forest areas, is a fifth schedule area, where Forest Rights Act (FRA) and Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act (PESA) is applicable, but these laws are being “outrightly violated to facilitate corporate loot.”