Skip to main content

Madhya Pradesh Narmada dam oustees shave their head to tell Modi: Your governance is "dead"

Protest in Bhopal
By Our Representative
In a unique protest against Prime Minister Narendra Modi's birthday bash, scheduled for September 17 at the Narmada dam, 30 of the dam's oustees shaved their heads in order to tell the governments of India and Madhya Pradesh that, as far as the project affected families (PAFs) are concerned, the governance is "dead". The birthday bash will see Modi dedicating the "completed" Narmada dam to the nation.
Part of what they called"chunauti dharna" or challenge protest, which lasted for two hours at Neelam Park, Bhopal, speakers on the occasion said, Modi would celebrate his birthday in the presence of the chief ministers of BJP-ruled states of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, at a time when people living in the Narmada Valley -- adivasis, farmers, dalits, workers, fisher people, artisans, women, children and others -- would be fatally affected.
The people of valley and their supporters would challenge the unjustified submergence being brought to them without proper rehabilitation, they said, adding, the celebration was being organized by Modi for political gains.
Protest in Delhi
People had come from all over the valley, and, following the dharna, it was decided to hold mass protest at Barda (near Anjad, District Badwani), where many religious places are in the submergence area, something not acknowledged in government reports.
Led by the anti-dam Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) the Chetavani rally saw an intensive dialogue with a senior Narmada official, Rajneesh Vaish, principal secretary, Narmada Valley Development Authority. Vaish told the protesters that all the oustees' issues have "already been debated and decided upon by various courts."
When NBA leader Medha Patkar said that the rehabilitation sites were far from complete, Vaish claimed, water supply had already been provided to all the sites. However, oustees from Nisarpur and Awalda told him true. An oustee, Rameshwar Bhilala, said, the Barwani district collector was not providing true picture of the sites.
Protest in Mumbai
Vaish claimed, Madhya Pradesh would receive receive irrigation and drinking water from the Sardar Sarovar reservoir and there was no legal barrier for this, adding, he would ensure that the demand of getting reservoir waters to every resettlement sites were met. He admitted, some of the outstanding works would soon be completed, and tenders were in the process of being issued.
Meanwhile, reports from Nisarpur village said, the Shivling of Shiva Temple at the banks Narmada tributary, Uri-Baghni, was forcibly uprooted amidst opposition of the people. People of the village were being shifted to rehabilitation sites which were not yet equipped with adequate water, proper house plots, roads and basic amenities.
In a parallel development, a group of prominent citizens protested in front of the Ministry of Water Resources and submitted memorandum to the Secretary in New Delhi. Those were in the delegation included Hannan Mollah (former Member of Parliament, CPM); Richa Singh (National Alliance of People's Movements), Krishna Prasad (All-India Kisan Sabha), Vimal Bhai (Matu Jansangathan), and others.
Madhya Pradesh protesters dialogue in Bhopal
In their representation, they said, the Government of India's response to the oustees' problems was "apathetic, shameless and completely undemocratic." They added, "In Gujarat, canals are incomplete, and the government has reduced the planned irrigation command area from 18 lakh hectares to mere 12 lakh hectares last year."
"Even then they are only able to irrigate mere 3 lakh hectares", they said, adding, "Meanwhile, The length of Narmada canal was reduced consistently and silently. From earlier planned 90,389 km, it has been reduced to approximately 71000 km, of which still they need to construct 42,000 km of canal network."
They wondered, "By closing gates of the Sardar Sarovar dam, and submerging people of the Narmada valley, whom are they providing water without canals? Modi's Narmada mahotsav has been planned only to highlight the  government's lies. It is merely a campaign for votebank politics."
In a simultaneous development, Maharashtra tribals protested in Mumbai, asking chief minister Devendra Fadnavis not to participate in Modi's birthday bash at the Narmada dam on September 17, submitting a memorandum, which said the state's oustees' rehabilitation issues had still not been settled.

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)".

Karnataka: NGO Akshay Patra "not sensitive" to nutrition demands of school children

Counterview Desk
Well-known civil rights organizations, Right to Food Campaign and Jan Swasthya Abhiyan, have sent a letter to the Union minister of human resource development, the Chief Minister of Karnataka, other concerned ministers and officials of the state expressing concerns regarding the mid-day meal (MDM) to school children, insisting, all contracts to the Akshay Patra for supply of MDM should be immediately terminated.

Rejoinder: Worldwide anxiety post-Fukishima is fading, slowly and steadily

By Dr KS Parthasarathy* 
EAS Sarma, former Secretary, Government of India (GoI) in a letter addressed to the Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), GoI, stated that, there has been "worldwide anxiety about the consequences of catastrophic nuclear accidents, either due to manual lapses or natural calamities" (Counterview, December 2, 2018). "In the recent years, globally, the pace of growth of nuclear power has escalated in leaps and bounds, causing a great deal of public concern and apprehension."

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”.

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).

Modi's PRO, who served previous Congress, BJP CMs in Gujarat with "equal" competence

By Rajiv Shah
A public relations officer (PRO), even as maintaining anonymity, is supposed to “manage” reputation of his or her client, reflecting the client’s views in order to influence opinion and behaviour. A PRO is also known to use, the world over, media and communication to build, maintain, manage and plan publicity strategies and campaigns, even as dealing with enquiries from the public, particularly media, organising promotional events such as press conferences, open days, exhibitions, tours and visits. A PRO is also supposed to final touches to press statements for his or client.

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.

Proposed expansion of Karnataka N-plant "ignores" worldwide anxiety post-Fukishima

Counterview Desk
EAS Sarma, former secretary, Government of India (GoI), in a letter addressed to secretary, Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), GoI, with copies to chairman, Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) and chairman Karnataka Pollution Control Board, has said that radiation and environmental risks have been ignored in DAE’s proposal to set up Units 5 & 6 (2X700MWe) at Kaiga Nuclear Power Station in Karnataka.