Hundreds of Adivasis visited Mumbai to request Maharashtra CM to not participate in PM Modi’s birthday celebration
The Sardar Sarovar Dam cannot be celebrated as an achievement until every single family who sacrificed their land and livelihood for this project, is rehabilitated as promised.
Mumbai | 14th September, 2017: There is a bitter reality behind what today is projected as ‘development’ work by further increasing the height of the Sardar Sarovar Dam. This is the same project that the World Bank stopped funding after finding the project disastrous and not feasible. Today hundreds of Adivasis from the Sardar Sarovar affected area in Maharashtra visited Mumbai to meet Maharashtra Chief Minister Mr. Devendra Fadnavis so as to request him to not PM Modi’s birthday celebration.
When the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi inaugurates the Sardar Sarovar Project, to celebrate his birthday on the 17th of September this year, he will actually be celebrating the death and destruction of the life, livelihoods, culture and environment of those farmers, fisher folk, potters, adivasis and dalits who have sacrificed their land for this project and in return – paying them with complete abandonment and life threatening submergence!
Assembly elections in Gujarat are scheduled in November-December this year. The SSP is to be show – cased as an achievement in the poll campaign. That is the reason why this project is being shown as completed and the Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi himself is to inaugurate it on the 17th of September – his birthday! However, whilst he puts on this show, the rising water levels will endanger the lives and livelihoods of tens of thousands of project affected persons living in the submergence zone of the Sardar Sarovar Dam. While the government claims that rehabilitation work is complete and threatens to submerge the area where thousands of families in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra still reside, the villagers cannot vacate their original villages as a large number of rehabilitation sites remain uninhabitable and without even basic facilities.
These villagers are being evacuated forcefully to temporary tin shed shelters. Thousands of families earlier declared as project affected with the right to receive rehabilitation, including those who have suffered from severe submergence when the dam height was 121 mts., are miraculously now declared as not affected by the project when the dam height is close to 139 mts! Compensation is not fully distributed.
This project diverts precious water promised to farmers and drought affected regions to big corporations making automobiles and Coca Cola ! The benefits advertised for drought prone areas like Saurashtra and Kutch when the project was planned remain just that – illusory mirages!
After much of agitation outside the Mantralaya, a delegation of Adivasis met with Principal Secretary to CM, Mr. Pravin Pardeshi and briefed him about the status of rehabilitation in Maharashtra. The delegation also pointed this out that Mr. Fadnavis should behave as the Chief Minister of Maharashtra and not BJP and hence side with the affected adivasis by not participating in the 17th September’s grand celebration. Noorji Vasavi, Nima Vasawe, Vijay Valvi, Suniti affected adivasis) S.R.(NAPM) and Latika Rajput (NBA activists) was part of the delegation that met Mr. Pardeshi.
A press conference was also held which was addressed by adivasis from affected areas. Simantini Dhuru, activists, Yogini Khanolkar, (NBA activist), Anand Patwardhan (film maker) and Ramdas Bhatkal (writer) also joined the press conference.
Vijaya Chauhan, Jamil Akhtar, Uday Mohite, Suhas Kolhekar, Poonam Kanojiya Pervin Jehangir, Sharad Joshi, Bilal Khan