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Call to join campaign against "unlivable" Narmada oustee rehabilation sites, starting July 31 at Badwani

A Narmada dam oustee gets a damaged house. Photo source: NBA
By Our Representative
Giving a call to activists across India to join its campaign to “save” Narmada river, starting at Badwani along the Narmada river on July 31 and ending on August 2 at Manibeli, the anti-dam Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) has alleged that the campaign is in response to the February 8, 2017 Supreme Court judgment, which, over the last one year, has “created panic” and “outcry” across the valley.
The Supreme Court judgment – even as ordering Rs 60 lakh and Rs 15 lakh compensation to two different categories of Narmada dam oustees of Madhya Pradesh (MP) – asked the state government to begin vacating all oustee families from the submergence area starting July 31, 2017.
In the course of the last one year, says NBA, “The MP government spent crores of rupees in the name of temporary rehabilitation, which was not accepted by even a single family”, adding, “Tin sheds, food camps and fodder camps lie vacant till date.”
Even as state assembly elections are approaching later this year, says NBA, the MP government has been forced to “announce a Rs 900 crore worth of package, approving the rights of fish workers, potters and boatsmen.”
It adds, “While thousands of families got house-plots and grants were distributed, the rehabilitation is still incomplete. The rehabilitation sites do not have permanent source of water yet, the oustees have to depend on tankers for drinking water.”
A flooded resettlement site. Source: NBA
Despite this package, which has been given to nearly 15,000 families, NBA says, “Even today, around 35,000 families are living in the submergence area. The whole environmental condition of the Narmada river has deteriorated. The river is drying up and sea water has ingressed up to not less than 60 km inside the estuary in Gujarat.”
Meanwhile, NBA says, Narmada river’s banks are being subjected to illegal mining with the help of a politician-mafia nexus. “Having lost the sand that retains water and forests that refills the aquifers to rivers and reservoirs, the depletion of water sources has reached its peak in the river”, it adds.
At the same time, it says, “Huge pipelines as ‘links’ are being tendered to extract Narmada waters by corporates and other vested interests. These vested interests are grabbing farmlands along the valley to build power projects, claiming land and water both.”
This year’s campaign would be on lines of the one, which took place last year around the same time, when when hundreds of supporters and activists rushed to the valley and participated in its struggle, even as “saving lakhs of people from drowning and eviction by massive police forces”.
“From Amarkantak to the districts of Narsingpur, Jabalpur, Mandala and Khargone, there is an anger and agony felt everywhere, with a plea to save Narmada from the dams raised along the river”, NBA says, adding, the campaign would take place along the Narmada river, and reach Manibeli via Nandurbar district of Maharashtra on August 2, visiting rehabilitation sites.

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