Protest against 'forced eviction' from Narmada dam area

New Delhi


A group of protesters led by Naramada Bachao Andolan (NBA) on Thursday staged a demonstration at Jantar Mantar here against alleged forced eviction of people by the government in the wake of the Sardar Sarovar Dam gates on Narmada river being closed.

Some project-affected people were also among the protesters, who blamed the government for evicting them without effecting proper rehabilitation work.

Former legislator and farmer leader Sunilam said the central and Madhya Pradesh governments were using illegal and inhuman ways to evict the project-affected people from 192 villages in the Narmada Valley, which would be submerged once the dam gets operational.

"There are over 40,000 families facing the threat of submergence. Instead of rehabilitating them properly, the government is trying to evict them forcefully and illegally. It wants these people to live in structures which are no better than shanties," Sunilam said.

Kamala, one of the project-affected persons, said the government had deputed about 8,000-10,000 policemen in the area to "terrorise us".

"We cannot leave our homes since the plots offered to us are on uneven land. They are also threatening us that we will lose Rs 80,000 compensation money as well if we do not leave our places immediately," she said.

Another project-affected person, Kailash Avasya, alleged that the government had submitted false affidavits about rehabilitation to the Supreme Court.

"No matter what the government does, we will not leave our places unless proper rehabilitation arrangement is in place," Kamala added.

Anjali Bhardwaj of the National Campaign for the People's Right to Information, Annie Raja of the National Federation of Indian Women and Sandeep Pandey of the Socialist Party were among the protesters, who expressed their anguish over high-handed attitude of the Madhya Pradesh government and suppression of the protest in the Narmada valley.

NBA leader Medha Patkar has been on indefinite fast in Chidhalda village of Dhar district of Madhya Pradesh for the last eight days, seeking proper rehabilitation of the project-affected people.