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Press Release- Modi’s Gujarat Govt and Manmohan’s Central Govt should stop fooling people

PRESS RELEASE

DATE: 31 March 2014

  • ’s Gujarat Government and Manmohan’s Central Government should stop fooling people: Garudeshwar Weir-Dam affected tribals, ‘70 Gam Adivasi Sangathan’, Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti, Sahiyar (Stree Sangathan), Radical Socialist, Sahaj-Shishu Milap, Jyoti Karmachari Mandal, Vyavasaik Swasthya Suraksha Mandal and Vadodara Kamdar Union.

On April 1, between 5.00 p.m. to 6.30 p.m. Garudeshwar Weir-Dam affected tribals of ‘70 Gam Adivasi Sangathan’ struggling for their right to life, right to water, land, jungle, rivers and livelihood will demonstrate at Bhagat Singh statue, Nyayamandir, Vadodara and seek answers from Mr. Modi and Mr. Manmohan.

These are not just tribal issues, but concern each one of us. Government is building the Garudeshwar Weir–Dam illegally spending taxpayers’ money, while the Central Government watches silently.

12 kms downstream of Sardar Sarovar Dam, near Garudeshwar, Gujarat government is illegally constructing 31.75 meter high Weir-Dam that will displace 11,000 tribals from 11 villages.

The Garudeshwar Dam-weir construction by Gujarat Government is ILLEGAL BECAUSE

Ø      Gujarat government has not taken any environmental clearance for the construction nor carried out any public hearing as per the law.

Ø      It has not sought the permission of the Gram Sabha for the construction as per the law. It persisted with the construction despite protests by Gram Panchayats and locals.

Ø      It never took people into confidence about the impact of the Weir-Dam, how many will be affected and rehabilitation measures.

Ø      This Weir-Dam water will be stored around ‘Statue of Unity’ and to develop tourism at the spot, with proposed boating, water sports and five star hotel amenities.

Ø      The dam waters of Sardar Sarovar and Karajan have not benefited the tribals living in their vicinity for their irrigation needs.

Ø      Gujarat Government has not studied the possible impact of constructing a Weir-Dam and Statue of Unity on a geological fault line on environment and life around. And if it has carried out an impact study, it refuses to make it public.

Despite repeated demands, Gujarat Government has not shared the environment clearance – permission to construct the Weir-Dam, if it had acquired one. Neither the central government stopped the work or replied to letters nor were there any answers to people’s questions. As a result PSS and representatives from the affected villages had to petition against the government at the National Green Tribunal (NGT) – Application No.10/2013 (WZ).

Gujarat government could not submit the environmental clearance even at NGT. On 31 January 2014 after Gujarat Government sought four week duration to submit the clearance letter, NGT directed it to submit on February 25. The NGT in its January 31 order also said: “We deem it proper to grant three (3) weeks time to Respondent No. 1 to file reply affidavit and make it clear that in the meanwhile if any work is done, it will be subject to final outcome of the present Application, without claiming any right of equity arising out of execution of construction work and without pleadings in advance of any ‘fait Accompli’. Stand over to 25th February, 2014.” After Gujarat government failed to submit compliance letter on February 25, it again sought two month’s time. The NGT order now allows Gujarat Government to submit its reply on April 17. Gujarat Government also violated spirit of NGT orders and continues Weir-Dam construction.

The lack of categorical reply in court reflects that there is no substance to the hyped perception of Mr. Modi’s efficient Government of Gujarat. To file reply with crucial information about environment clearance and issues raised by us in our petition Government of Gujarat needs two months time. That clearly indicates that even prima-facie all is not well with Garudeshwar Weir and the legality of the on going construction of Garudeshwar Weir is in question.

Let us support the tribals’ struggle against the Weir-Dam construction. Let us categorically ask Gujarat Government to stop Weir-Dam construction immediately.

Representatives of ‘70 Gam Adivasi Sangathan’ will brief about their plight in an interactive session with media from 3.30 pm – 4.30 pm at Bhumiputra office, Hujarat Paga, Bhutadi Jhampa.

Did you know?

Are teachers, principals, students and all the rest of Barodians aware that the Chief Minister laid the foundation stone for Statue of Unity without getting lawful environmental clearance?

That many women in this region had their maternal homes submerged during Sardar Sarovar construction and now their marital homes are at submergence risk due to Garudeshwar Weir-Dam meant for tourism?

Gujarat Government is busily promoting, publicizing the Rs 2500 core worth 182 meter high Statue of Unity while 75,000 tribals life and livelihood will be affected due to tourism project around Statue of Unity.

The tribals were forced to sacrifice earlier in the name of national interest, the parched Surashtra-Kutch lands during Sardar Sarovar construction and now once again labeling tourism as national interest, tribals are once yet again forced at the sacrificial altar. Presently the SSP reservoir waters at the present 122 meters height are not being even fully used as the several CAG reports have pointed because Gujarat Government failed to build the canal network. 

Gujarat government has not taken the woes of this 75,000 people seriously. Should we also similarly turn blind to their plight?

  • Red Carpet for industries and Red Polluted waters for farms and animals!
  • Clean drinking water a mirage for many, while waters unleashed for tourism projects!
  • We are now experiencing in a single day summer, winter and monsoon having interfered with the Nature.
  • We cannot have affordable food grains, vegetables by finishing off farming.

 

Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti      Radical Socialist     Sahiyar (Stree Sangathan)

Jyoti Karmachari Mandal                         Vadodra Kamadar Union

Vyavasaik Swasthya Suraksha Mandal         Sahaj-Shishu Milap

 

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