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Jal Satyagraha In 3 Districts Of Indira Sagar Area From The 1st Of September

By Narmada Bachao Andolan

29 August, 2013

Thousands of oustees affected affected by the Indira Sagar dam on the Narmada river in Madhya Pradesh, will commence Jal Satyagraha at Village Badkhalia in District Khandwa, Village Mel Pipliya in District Dewas and Village Unwa in District Harda from the 1st of September 2013. These oustees are demanding that the water level in the Indira Sagar dam be maintained at or below 260 M as per the Orders of the High Court and the Supreme Court, that the thousands of houses and lands falling in the submergence area be surveyed and acquired and the concerned families rehabilitated, that the affected landholders be allotted 5 acres of land each and the landless families be provided with a grant of Rs. 2.5 lakhs so that after displacement, the oustees become better off by restoring their lives and livelihoods.

255 villages in Madhya Pradesh are affected by the Indira Sagar dam on the river Narmada, which has the largest submergence in the country. Despite a land for land R&R Policy, land was not provided to even a single affected landholder and instead the farmers were brutally evicted with pittances by the way of compensation. As a consequence, nearly 85% of the farmers could not purchase any alternative land and became landless. In 2012, in violation of Orders of the High Court and the Apex Court, the State and the NHDC Limited raised the water level up to 262 m. In a petition filed by the Narmada Bachao Andolan in this matter, the Apex Court directed the State to file a reply by the end of January 2013. However no reply has been filed even after a lapse of 8 months. Yet, the State is now preparing to raise the water level of the dam above 260 M up to 262.13 M from the 1st September 2013. If this happens thousands of lands and homes will be submerged without acquisition and the concerned families evicted by the rising waters without completion of rehabilitation and resettlement.

State excludes 2500 houses found in submergence, after surveys and valuation

After surveys in 2007 and 2012, the State itself identified nearly 2500 houses in submergence in the affected villages. However after survey, identification and valuation, these houses were arbitrarily excluded from acquisition, and the concerned families arbitrarily denied R&R.

Thousands of houses and lands rendered into islands

In addition, another thousands of acres of land and houses which are not in the submergence have been cut off from the mainland and rendered into islands because of the Indira Sagar dam. As a result of this loss of access, these thousands of families are unable to live in these villages or cultivate their lands. Plans for building bridges and roads for these villages to create access have been made, but not even 15% of the work has been done till date, in the last one year. Some of these areas have already become islands last year, and all the rest will become islands once the water level in the dam is raised to 262.13 m.

3500 families condemned to unviable lives

The government surveys have found nearly 3500 houses of families living in villages where the entire agricultural land has been acquired and where the oustees have been left without any livelihood, but the houses have not been acquired. These families are living in great distress. Until their houses are acquired and they are compensated, these oustees are not in a position to leave the submerging village, where they have no livelihood. On the other hand, if they stay on in these villages, they cannot obtain alternative lands for themselves and restore their livelihoods. However even after surveying these houses, the State Government is not taking any decision to acquire their houses whereby they can finally leave the submerging villages and settle elsewhere.

Blocking of surveys in 41 villages

It is noteworthy that for the last 7-8 years the NVDA has consistently blocked surveys of 41 out of the 255 villages affected by the Indira Sagar dam. As a result, impact of submergence in these villages have not been assessed, and the affected properties have not been acquired and the concerned families have not been resettled and rehabilitated. However, almost 1500 houses and 15,000 acres of lands have become submerged in some of these villages at EL 260 M this monsoon. This includes the Kasbahs of Handia and Nemawar which had to be vacated last week because of submergence. The Central Water Commission has pointed out that the back-water impact has not be properly assessed because the flows in the large rivers draining into the Narmada has not been assessed and included in the impact.

The Narmada Bachao Andolan demands that

The State desist from the inhuman and illegal action of raising the water level beyond 260 M, without acquisition, rehabilitation and resettlement.

Provision of land for land with a minimum of 2 ha. of land to farmers, and a grant of Rs. 2.5 lakhs to the landless families.

Acquisition and payment of compensation for approx. 2500 houses left out after surveys and valuation.

Acquisition and payment of compensation for approx. 3500 houses, of persons whose lands have been acquired but not houses.

Creation of immediate access for lands and houses rendered into islands.

Surveys of 41 affected villages, and acquisition, compensation and R&R, as per impact.

In the face of this enormous repression, indifference and callousness by the State, the oustees have no option but to resist this repression, and to do or die. Hundreds of oustees will therefore enter the waters on the 1st of September 2013, believing that the truth of their voices cannot be defeated, and that in a democracy, no power can submerge lakhs of people without their prior rehabilitation and resettlement.

(Alok Agarwal) (Laxminarayan Meena- District : Khandwa ), (Ram Vilas Rathore- District : Harda ) (Ramnath singh- District : Mel-Pipliya)

Narmada Bachao Andolan
2, Sai Nagar, Mata Chowk,
Khandwa, Madhya Pradesh -450 001
Telefax : 0733 - 2228318
E-mail : nbakhandwa@gmail.com



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