Land to be allotted will be shown to oustees. Forest Rights will be granted.

Fourth day of the agitation by 400 adivasis of the Satpuda mountain range from the Narmda river bank was full of hectic discussion and filing affidavits. It came to an end only after further steps were declared. The decision to return back to Narmada came after the Div. Commissioner, Nasik agreed to a concrete program of showing land to Sardar Sarovar Oustees from the entire 33 Dam affected villages in Maharashtra. During four days dharna (sit-in), by hundreds of adivasis and supporters, the Commissioner and the Collector, Nandurbar, agreed to carry out a hectic schedule of village-wise program to show agricultural land after much debate, it was agreed that the same would be carried out before monsoon, and hence it was scheduled between April 28th to June 15th.

Lal Singh Vasave of village Chimalkhedi and Jalma Nukatya of village Manibeli plainly conveyed to the Commissioner that they could not survive without land and would die if evicted without land based rehabilitation. The NBA has also proposed to have an urgent meeting of planning committee which they are members of, so as to arrive at a total R&R plan locating new sources for land.

Before withdrawing the agitation, the NBA posed challenge to the governments, the state and the center that if there is any further illegal submergence, beyond what has already occurred then the people in the valley would face it through a Jansatyagrah. NBA has also decided to have land right satyagraha if the government fails to give land and continue offer cash against law and rehabilitation policy. It is noteworthy that the Maharashtra government since last few years has begun inciting the adivasi oustees to give up their right to land and accept the cash in lieu of land. However, a large majority of oustees has rejected the offer and none who accepted the offer has been able to purchase land.

Div. Commissioner, Mr. Eknath Davle also ensured that the pending work related to implementation of FRA, 2006 in the affected villages would start at the earliest so as to include the forest land cultivators in the rehabilitation scheme. PDS scheme would be restarted at each dam-affected village by the Supply Food Department through Narmada river water transport. The Commissioner also ensured regular social audit on MGNREGA in selected villages in the valley and public hearing as per the Act at tehsil-level. Another important discussion was the opposition of adivasis to 8 dams planned as per the Narmada Tapi river link project on the 8 tributaries of Narmada within Maharashtra. It was contented that when all the Gram Sabhas of the affected villages denied approval of the project, the government must preview the same.

Protesting villagers concluded by deciding that no more atrocities against lives, livelihoods and nature will be tolerated. They also criticized the new Land Acquisition policy and the efficacy of the model of development propagated by the Narendra Modi led government. When rehabilitation has been ensured repeatedly and yet people in Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh have to struggle, it already tells a lot about the policies around displacement caused by development projects.Jpeg

NAPM India