INDIA: Narmada Jal Satyagraha of Omkareshar dam oustees commences People are prepared to sacrifice life to obtain rights
July 16, 2012
Today, in the presence of the thousands of oustees, the Narmada Jal Satyagraha of the Omkareshwar dam oustees, commenced in Village Ghogalgaon. At the commencement of the satyagraha, thousands of oustees expressed their determination that they would give up their lives if need be, but that they would not move without taking their rights. Public meeting was attended by representatives of Maheshwar, Indira Sagar, Man, Upper Beda dams and people’s organizations from all over the State.
Satyagraha will continue without break
The satygraha tent has been built in Village Ghogalgaon just above the present reservoir level of 189 meters, where night and day, thousands of oustees will sit on satyagraha. The oustees have declared that if the authorities try to fill the dam above 189 meters, the oustees will not budge and are prepared to give up their lives. Along with village Ghogalgaon, the oustees of all the villages affected by the Omkareshwar dam will not move and will face the submergence the State and the authorities are attempting to wreak on the people to force them to flee.
Submergence not acceptable without rehabilitation and resettlement
Addressing the public meeting, senior activist of the Narmada Bachao Andolan Shri Alok Agarwal said that the satyagraha which is commencing today, will take the struggle of the people for their rights to a new phase. Today, when the authorities are yet to give thousands of families land, house plots, rehabilitation grants, hundreds of houses in the submergence are yet to be acquired, thousands of landless families are yet to be given resources whereby they can earn dignified livelihoods, in such a situation the decision of the State Government and the authorities to submerge the area and evict the people is not only inhuman, but is also illegal and unconstitutional. Submergence without provision of rehabilitation and resettlement will not be tolerated.
Narmada Andolan activist Ms. Chittaroopa Palit said that on one hand the Supreme Court has passed a judgment stating that all displaced families losing their land should be given a minimum of 2 ha. of land, that too before the dam is fully constructed, and at least six months prior to submergence. On the other hand the State Government is planning to submerge the area without rehabilitating and resettling the inhabitants of area, in violation of the Orders of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in a demonstration of complete arbitrariness and impunity.
Shri Mansharam, Sarpanch of Ekhand declared that every child of Omkareshwar dam is prepared to give his life but will not move without taking their rights and entitlements.
Shri Sunilbhai, National Vice-President of Smajwadi Jan Parishad said that the companies will loot of Jal, Jangal and Jameen (land, water and forests), which we will stop through our struggle. Shri Anurag Modi, senior activist of Shramik Adivasi Sangathan said that the struggles all over the country will support the struggle of the people of the Narmada valley.
Film-maker from Mumbai, Ms. Jharna Jhaveri said that film-makers, lawyers, educationists and people from all walks of life are connected to this struggle and will contribute their skills and perspectives to the struggle. The public meeting was also addressed by Smitaji of Kisan Adivasi Sangathan, prominent leader of the Maheshwra struggle Shri Radheshyam Patidar, Shri Ramchandrabhai, Kailashbhai, and others.
Satyagrahis will come from all over the country
The satyagraha that has commenced today will continue without break, in which many committed individuals and representatives of the people’s organisations will participate. Women’s conference, Youth sammelan, Bal Mela and workshops on many issues will be held during the satyagraha.
Narmada Bachao Andolan
2, Sai Nagar, Mata Chowk,
Khandwa, Madhya Pradesh -450 001
Telefax : 0733 - 2228318