Even though Sardar Sarovar Dam affected farmers from Narmada valley have the right to agricultural land with house plots and civic amenities in rehabilitation, the government of Madhya Pradesh and Narmada Valley Development Authority (NVDA) is trying to extinguish this right, part of right to life, by threatening and compelling them to accept grossly insufficient monetary compensation and deem them as ‘rehabilitated’.
MP government has been, since beginning, avoiding its duty to ensure rehabilitation of PAFs belonging to various occupational categories. The farmers including adivasis and some Dalits, whose entitlement to land was not ensured and they were either sent to Gujrat or were allotted absolutely uncultivable land for years which was illegal as per the Narmada Tribunal Award as well as the Supreme Court judgements, especially one dated 15.03.2005. Refusing to accept anything less than the entitlement, large number of families in the Satpuras (District Alirajpur) and in Nimad plains many of whom are yet to get land. Those who felt compelled to accept cash were either cheated in fake registry scam or had to stop halfway through!
Justice Jha commission, through seven years long enquiry, has proved that the ‘Special Rehabilitation Package’ (SRP) in lieu of land is a wrong policy and the nexus between officials and agents continue to misused it, collectively managing to bring out 1589 fake registries! Instead of taking criminal action against them, the government of MP is trying to propel the cash compensation scheme forward.
A few thousand PAFs who are entitled to land based rehabilitation yet were not offered cultivable land in MP. Other than those who went to Gujrat seeking land, could not accept hilly or rocky land including such where a colony is built or a tank exists. They were then misled or compelled to accept cash as SRPand collected the first instalment (i.e. half) of the SRP amount from which middlemen took away their share. However, since they did not get their land entitlement, they still have to be allocated land as per the decision of NCA which was repeatedly communicated to the MP governmentbetween 2007-2011.
Even then, instead of informing the people who have accepted the first instalment, not just NVDA, but also the retired judges sitting as Grievance Redressal Authority (GRA) has been repeatedly telling poor, tribal and affected families to bring their bank passbooksand collect theirremaining cash compensation!
“Where will we provide the land from? It has become so expensive. If you can’t buy the land, then buy a tractor with that money. You won’t get land even in ten years.” Said 0ne of the honorary member (a retired judge) of GRA, who in return received incensed replies from many widows and tribals. Many are even harassed and compelled to accept cash, with their right to land extinguished.
This was also proved through the Affidavit filed by the Government of MP before the apex court in 2000. The villages where ‘no land suitable for agriculture’ was reported, are mentioned in the notices of offering land! Clearly defying the orders of Narmada Tribunal, 2000 and 2005 orders of the Supreme Court and orders of NCA, the Rehabilitation officers of NVDA have issued notices to hundreds of PAFs, in different tehsils of Badwani and Dhar districts,stating that since they haven’t accepted the land allocated to them by the Land Bank, their eligibility for alternative agricultural land has exhausted, that too years ago! Also, the land offered then was found to be totally uncultivable, rocky, hilly or encroached since years! The oustees therefore, had the right to reject the same and they did! In many cases, they were never informed of the land offer mentioned in the notices issued to hundreds during the last few days.
This is completely fraudulent as neither the Rehabilitation office nor NVDA has any authority to exhaust their eligibility to agricultural land.
Conspiring to violate this righto land, of the tribals is a crime under section 3,4,5 ofThe Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.
The notice also stated that if, within 2-4 days, (by 30.12.2016), the second instalment of SRP cash compensation (less than 2.5 lakhs) is not collected from GRA at Indore,then they will be deemed as ‘rehabilitated’ and the amount will be deposited with the Revenue Department. Without complete hearing and without any order from GRA, how can NVDA of GRA take any decision? Does depositing the amount in revenue ex chequer mean ensuring rehabilitation with land and/or livelihood? This move is an absolute violation of law (The Narmada Tribunal Award) as well as judgments of the High Court of MP as well as the Apex Court. And why is there no attempt to ensure land and house plots to thousands who have not accepted cash?
Women and men with activists screamed, trying to get answers to all these questions. Hundreds of PAFs gathered in front of NVDA’s rehabilitation office yesterday. TheRehabilitation officer, MR. Guha was questioned and cornered to explain why were such fraudulent, threatening notices issued and under whose instructions? He admitted that it was done under the oral instructions from the Commissioner (NVDA)!
Sumanbai of Pichhodi, questionedthe authority on receiving a notice stating that having denied the land allocated to her by the Land Bank, she must collect her second instalment within the stipulated date. Also, she stated that she was never informed about the land allocated to her.
In a similar story, Kalabaistated they she never received the notice of a plot being allotted to her but has recently received the notice of collecting her second instalment as her eligibility for the allocated land has exhausted due to her non acceptance of the same. Also, she complained that the house plot that is said to be allocated to her was located from far her current village.
PAFs excluded are also issued notices to collect cash compensation
Kailash Yadav from village Kasrawad, said that this whole village has been declared as falling out of submergence with revised back water levels. All 15,946 families who are similarly excluded must be given their properties back since those were faultily acquired and transferred in NVDA’s name if the revised back water levels (BWLs) are true and scientifically computed. NBA has already challengedthe revised BWLs and exposed thefraud showing that the old BWLs continue to appear on the Gujarat’s website.
The Rehabilitation officer has agreed to visit Kasrawad and look into the records once again.
FIR filed against the Rehabilitation Officer
Mayaram, S/o Sukya, village Pichhodi, tehsil Badwani has filed a case under The Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, against the Rehabilitation officer, Mr. V.S. Guha, at the Special Police Station, Badwani.
DevramKanera, MukeshBhagoria, kamala Yadav, BhagirathDhangar, Rahul Yadav and MedhaPatkarall raised various issues of legal violations leading to serious injustice and challenged the Madhya Pradesh government to prove that more than 40,000 families which are still in the submergence areas are rehabilitated and all social cultural monuments and amenities from the original villages are shifted to rehabilitation sitesare shifted and newly constructed at rehabilitation sites. In this aspect too, huge corruption has occurred that is vindicated by the report of Justice Jha commission. How can village Sondul shift to a new site where there is only wild tree cover and the hilly site is unlivable? The women from Sondul asked the Rehabilitation Officer who was speechless on the issue.
The tribals and farmers, widows and youths, expressed their determination not to get trapped in threats and pressure, through such illegal moves,promotions and corruption and will continue to fight for their rights.
They are also aware that the compensation of 2.79 lakhs was given years back, and giving balance amount 2.50 lakhs to 3 lakhs now in lieu of five acres irrigated land is utter fraud. The cost of 5 acres irrigated land at present is estimated to be between 50 lakhs-2 crores. If land can be bought for 2.50-3 lakhs, then why doesn’t the authority buy it itself and then allocate it?
Till the time PAFs are not rehabilitated with land,livelihood and housing facilities, the gates of the Sardar Sarovar Dam cannot be closed.
NBA appeals to all the supporters to condemn the demonetisationstrategy of MP government and Narmada authorities which is torturing and will deinstitutionalise the adivasis and the farmers who have been living with least monetised, more or less cashless economy, since generations and are now being compelled to go for cash at the cost of their rights to livelihood, that too illegally. Write letters to the PM and CM of MP and the ministers of water resources, Uma Bharti, at the centre.
Pawan Yadav, Prema Bapu, Shyama Machwara and Gendalal Uchave