People affected by the Omkareshwar and Indira Sagar dam have been standing in chin-deep water since last Saturday, even as the water level continues to rise.
They are protesting the government\\\’s decision to raise the water level in the dams. This raising of the water level would result in the submergence of the homes and lands of thousands- who have yet to be rehabilitated.
The NAPM activists have drawn the attention of the MPHRC by highlighting that the dam oustees were staging protests in Khandwa and Harda district by standing in water, which has reached up to their chin since last eight days.
The activists have further alleged that the administration was doing nothing for them.
They said that it was also the violation of the Supreme Court guideline that rehabilitation should be done within six months before the places get submerged as many families were yet to be rehabilitated.
Here is the full statement by NAPM:
The National Alliance of People’s Movements and all its associates express deep concern at the gross violation of the right to life and livelihood of thousands of nature – based communities across various dam and canal projects in Narmada valley, especially the serious situation of the oustees – farmers, adivasis and landless facing threat of illegal submergence prior to lawful rehabilitation, due to construction of the Indira Sagar and Omkareshwar Dams.
We salute the non-violent, inevitable struggle undertaken by the oustees and activists, braving the rising reservoir waters for the past 8 days, despite the wholly insensitive attitude of the State.
Seeking the immediate and direct intervention of Mr. Pawan Kumar Bansal, Union Minister for Water Resources (MoWR) to ensure legal and human justice to the Satyagrahais and the thousands of oustees, represented by them, Medha Patkar, Sanjay Parikh, Advocate, Supreme Court, along with a delegation of activists including Madhuresh and Seela Manaswinee met the Minister on 28th August and expressed deep anguish and protest at the brutal approach and attempts of the State Government and the NHDC in filling the reservoir of both these dams, without complying with the directions of the High Court and the Supreme Court as also the binding provisions of the Rehabilitation Policy and statutory clearances to the Projects, regarding land and livelihood based rehabilitation.
It was categorically pointed out to the Minister that the Narmada Control Authority, directly under the MoWR is fully empowered as per the Narmada Water Scheme, 1980 and 1987 issued under the Inter State Water Disputes Act, 1956 to ensure the faithful compliance with all terms and conditions for lawful rehabilitation of the oustees given at the time of clearance of all the projects in the Narmada Valley i.e. the 30 large dams, 135 medium dams and 3000 small dams. It may be noted that the only basis for the Courts to permit construction of these dams in ‘national interest’, was on the guarantee that prior lawful rehabilitation would be ensured to all the oustees and that they would be ‘better-off’ after rehabilitation.
The acts of the State would clearly worsen the situation of the oustees and pauperize them by snatching away their self-reliant livelihoods and causing unjust submergence of lands and houses of thousands in each reservoir. Submergence of a few hundred acres of land and houses, has also already occurred in an illegal manner and we condemn the same. The same villages which the State Government claimed in the Supreme Court would not be even temporarily affected, are now facing the severe impact, proving the facts stated and position taken by the oustees and their organization, as true.
We also warn the Madhya Pradesh Government that the experience of illegal and unilateral cash – disbursements leading to no actual rehabilitation and only corruption worth crores of rupees in the case of Sardar Sarovar should be an eye – opener for the rehabilitation oustees in other projects. Cash cannot and should not be a substitute for actual R&R entitlements, especially in the case of adivasis, dalits, small and marginal farmers, we assert. Likewise, imposing the fraudulent land bank with completelyuncultivable, un-irrigable and encroached land in lieu of legally mandatory cultivable, un-encroached land shall also be challenged by the oustees and all of us.
We await immediate intervention at the highest level, including by the MoWR, as promised to us. We warn the authorities that people’s movements across the country shall not remain silent to the injustice being inflicted upon the oustees in the Narmada Valley and shall stand by the struggling masses for their rights.
Medha Patkar, Prafulla Samantara, Sandeep Pandey,Gabriele Dietrich, Arundhati Dhuru, Roma, Gautam bandopadhyay, Sister Celia, Maj Gen (Retd.) S G Vombatkere, Vimal Bhai, Dr. Sunilam, Suniti S R, Akhil Gogoi, Ramakrishnan Raju, Bhupinder Singh Rawat, Anand mazgaonkar, Geo Jose, Rajendra Ravi, Shrikanth, Devram kanera, Kamla Yadav, Shrikanth, Surbhan Bhilala, Madhuresh Kumar