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Veteran Gujarat politician apologises to NBA for opposing anti-Narmada dam movement

By Our Representative
Is the support for the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), considered an "untouchable" by politicians of all hues, growing in Gujarat? It would seem so, if one goes by what a veteran leader from Saurashtra, Pravinsinh Jadeja, former Gujarat environment minister, had to say at an NBA-sponsored meet in Badwani, Madhya Pradesh, where hundreds of displaced persons had gathered in a protest rally.
Jadeja told the NBA meet that he would like to apologize to those displaced because of the Narmada dam on behalf of the people of Gujarat. He said, "We had been demanding water in the name of Kutch and Saurashtra, even as opposing NBA's anti-dam stance. But we have been proved wrong. All that NBA said is proving to be true today."
According to him, "While Kutch-Saurashtra farmers haven't received water, those displaced because of the dam are suffering in Madhya Pradesh because of the dam. On the other hand, Narmada waters are being diverted to big industries, to Adanis-Ambanis."
Taking a similar stance, fisherfolk leader Bharat Patel said, US Supreme Court ruling on a plea by Kutch fisherpeople recently has allowed them to file a case against the World Bank, which has funded a big power plant at Mundra, Kutch, displacing them and causing environmental damage, in the same way as the Narmada dam has done. The World Bank had taken the stand that it could not be challenged in the court of law.
Patel said, the victory of the displaced fisherpeople against the World Bank following their struggle on the ground and international support reminded one of the victory of the people affected by the Narmada dam in early 1990s under NBA. NBA successfully fought against the World Bank, which was forced to withdraw its decision to fund the dam.

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