Rehabilitate 40,000 Narmada dam affected families immediately
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This is an unfolding genocide, perpetrated by the state on its innocent citizens. The Sardar sarovar Dam on Narmada river has been raised to its full design height of 138.68 meters by closing the gates, and slowly, a humanitarian disaster is being created.
In my last 4 visits to the Sardar Sarovar Narmada dam affected villages and towns, as part of an independent Fact Finding Committee & otherwise, I met thousands of farmers, fishers, artisans,... in these villages who are yet to be resettled and rehabilitated, while the dam waters have started rising slowly, by end-July. The 40,000 would be displaced families are residents of thriving villages with advanced agriculture and a highly productive local economy.
The Supreme Court - in 2000 and 2005 has repeatedly ordered that all would be displaced have to be fully rehabilitated 6 months prior to displacement. And yet, many families have not even been given full compensation. Thousands have been cheated of their rights and entitlements by the collusion of corrupt MP govt officials and land-agents. Thousands have also been fraudulently thrown out of Project Affected category, by malicious manipulation of back-water levels. The background and details are available in the Fact Finding Report we wrote in 2015, called - "Drowning A Valley - destroying A Civilization".
The condition of the rehabilitation sites are pathetic - with hardly any infrastructure, resembling run down slums, and the 15 ft X 12 ft "tin-sheds" being constructed now, over muddy grounds without roads, water supply, sanitation etc, cannot house even the most desperate refugees.
To demand complete rehabilitation befre drowning, renowned social activist Medha Patkar and 11 others are on an indefinite fast - nine days passed. Their health conditions are fast deteriorating.
The Prime Minister of India and Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh must act now, open dialogue with Medha Patkar and affected families and arrange immediate and full rehabilitation. The dam gates - closed now - must be opened till that time.
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