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Noam Chomsky seeks justice from Modi as Medha Patkar's hunger strike off Narmada river enters fourth day

Chomsky
By Our Representative
World renowned veteran American linguist, social critic and political activist Noam Chomsky has extended his support to the project affected people of the Narmada valley when the indefinite fast and dharna of hundreds of people are underway in Narmada valley.
Signing a petition floated by a senior Indian Institute of Management-Kolkata (IIM-K) faculty, Chomsky has said, meeting the rightful demands of the people is “essential to ensure the faith of people in non-violent, democratic and constitutional governance and struggle for their rights.”
“I, on behalf of the people of Narmada valley, now appeal to you for immediate attention and intervention to save the people threatened by submergence”, he adds.
The petition by IIM-K environmentalist Jayanta Bandopadhyay, already signed by hundreds of other people from different walks of life, demands “justice” from Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the project affected families (PAFs). The petition has gathered signatures from 29 countries.
The support from Chomsky comes even as the indefinite fast of Medha Patkar and other PAFs in the submergence village Chikkalda, on the banks of river Narmada, in Madhya Pradesh, enters the fourth day. People are on fast against “forced displacement”, demanding “just rehabilitation” and putting a stop to intimidation of armed police camping in the submergence zone.
The petition says, “The Supreme Court order clearly states that resettlement and rehabilitation (R&R) of the PAFs to be complete in all respects before any forcible displacement of these villages is directed. Closing of the gates is de facto a method of forcible eviction and thus, not only a barbaric act but also a disrespect of the court order.”
The petition demands a comprehensive re-survey of PAFs, giving priority to rehabilitation first by following orders of the Supreme Court, so that no family is evicted without rehabilitation.
Jal Satyagraha in Narmada river
It also demands directions to the Madhya Pradesh government and authorities to provide benefits to farmers as per the Supreme Court orders to ensure alternative livelihoods and to constitute a committee to assess the impact on environment, river and forests by submergence and also the impact in downstream flow of the river.
Apart from addressing Modi, the petition, once signed by 1,000 people, would be sent to the Madhya Pradesh chief minister and the Union water resources minister Uma Bharti.
The petition warns, “The impending plight of the people residing in the Narmada Valley is unfolding as the monsoon arrives, adding, “Closing the gates of the dam will drown more than 40,000 families living in the Narmada Valley who are not rehabilitated yet.”
Pointing out that PAFs stare submergence of their land and livelihood due to closing of the gates of the Sardar Sarovar Dam at its full reservoir level of 138.68 meters, the petition says, “For these people without rehabilitation, basic amenities like drinking water and electricity are not available. Some sites have black soil, which makes it very difficult to construct houses.”
“Closing of the gates is de facto a method of forcible eviction and thus, not only a barbaric act but also a disrespect of the court order. More than 40000 families, with their residential houses, livestock, hospitals, schools, shops and all other civic amenities, are still living in these villages. The resettlement and rehabilitation sites are not even close to completion”, it says.

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