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Why concerned citizens of Narmada Valley and across India are challenging the decision to close the gates of the Sardar Sarovar Dam?

BECAUSE  even today, about 40,000 families live in the submergence area  of the Sardar Sarovar Dam - thousands of farmers and tribals  are being denied their legal right to cultivable land based rehabilitation, thousands of landless workers, fisher people, potters, small traders, are being deprived of their livelihood without rehabilitation and well-settled flourishing villages are being submerged.

BECAUSE thousands of hectares of prime cultivable land, rich variety of farm produce, lakhs of trees, temples, mosques, hospitals, markets, tribal sacred spaces  in the submergence area of hills and plains of the valley – spread across  245 villages  in the states of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat will be consigned to a watery grave!

BECAUSE in the name of rehabilitation, farmers have been mostly given barren and non-cultivable lands or meagre cash compensation . The resettlement sites are not in a state of habitation. In such a situation, the decision to flood the thickly populated original villages with the dam waters is ghastly inhumanity.

BECAUSE a massive corruption scam of Rs. 10 billion  has been investigated by a High Court appointed Judicial Commission since the last 7 years. Approximately 1,500 fake land registries, embezzlement of billions of rupees in 88 resettlement sites, fraud in house plot allocations, disbursement of livelihood grants which has led to loot of thousands of poor and illiterate by the nexus of middlemen and officials  has been exposed by the Commission. The decision to drown the Narmada Valley, without any action against the corrupt is nothing but a political conspiracy.

BECAUSE the judgements and orders of the High Court and the Supreme Court are being violated,  hundreds of complaints are still pending before the Grievance Redressal Authorities and the decision to close the dam gates without rehabilitation  is nothing short of judicial contempt.

BECAUSE thousands of poor, dalits, scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, other backward classes, minorities, women, widows and children  are being denied their legal rights in an unjust manner and their lives are being destroyed.

BECAUSE, as per the 2013 Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation Act, 2013, thousands of oustees are actually owners of their acquired lands , houses and properties , since the land acquisition as per the Old 1894 Act has lapsed.  Thus, dispossession of oustees from their lands and houses is a total violation of the 2013 Act  and mockery of the letter and spirit of Parliamentary power of legislation. 

BECAUSE Rs. 700 billion has been the estimated dam cost at 2012 prices and the present estimates go upto 900 billions ! In the garb of irrigation, electricity and drinking water the people of Gujarat also are being misled. Same is the plight of people in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra who are being looted in the name of ‘free power’,  while these two states are contributing in terms of thousands of hectares of land, forests, investments and river itself !

BECAUSE Narmada Valley is being drowned by projecting false statistics and promises of free electricity; while even after the 17 mts height increase, there would only be a marginal increase of 10-20% more electricity.

BECAUSE even though Mr. Narendra Modi was the chief minister of Gujarat for 13 years and  despite no protests against the construction of canals, barely 30% canals have been constructed so far. Using less than 20% of the water of the reservoir is a failure of the Gujarat Government. It is also a sham against the people of Kutch and Saurashtra. Even after throwing thousands of families in the submergence zone, irrigation of only 2 lakh hectares of land is a serious fraud!

BECAUSE depriving the primary beneficiaries (farmers and villagers) and diverting water and land to industries and corporates is a betrayal of the people of the Gujarat and the Narmada valley, too.  Isn’t giving away 1000 litres of water at just Rs. 10 to companies in the name of development a way of promoting loot?

BECAUSE the decision to de-notify 70,000 hecatres of land from the command (beneficiary) area and plan to exclude 4 lakh hectares, is only aimed at fetching profits to companies  by snatching away the legitimate rights of farmers and villages.

BECAUSE the Central Environment Ministry has rejected the questionable report of the Narmada Control Authority to exclude 15,946 villagers from the list of affected people. The 2013 monsoon submergence has proven that at the full height of 138 metres, and in the event of high flood, none of the properties acquired will be saved. The game of numbers, false surveys and paper rehabilitation is illegal and un-acceptable.  

BECAUSE many reports of expert committees appointed by the Environment Ministry have proven that the clearance conditions have been violated.  Though millions of rupees are shown to have been spent on command area development, compensatory afforestation, health impacts, fisheries, seismic risks, archaeological impacts etc. yet the requisite studies and safeguard measures, as per law, are not in place.

BECAUSE the politics of displacement and tourism  is being pushed ahead in the name of late farmer’s leader, Sardar Patel; expenditure of 30 billion  (more than the cost of rehabilitation of 3 states)  on the ‘Statue of Unity’ Project is inhuman and a disgrace to Sardar Patel himself.

 Therefore, we, the concerned citizens and civil society groups across India, declare our full support and solidarity with the struggle of the people of Narmada Valley and challenge the unlawful and unjust decision of the Government of India to close the Sardar Sarovar Dam gates and evict 40,000 families by force!





For more details:  Himshi Singh +91 9867348307 | Rishit Neogi +91 9560986354



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