NBA workers protest

NEW DELHI MAY 29. Even as the Narmada Bachao Andolan's writ petition protesting the decision to raise the height of the Narmada dam in Gujarat is coming up for hearing tomorrow, hundreds of people who are to be displaced are camping in Mumbai and Indore. They are demanding that the Governments of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh put forth the correct ground realities about displacement and resettlement before the court.

The Supreme Court had on May 23 admitted a writ petition by the NBA challenging the decision to raise the height of the dam from 90 metres to 95 metres even before the displaced people were resettled and rehabilitated. The apex court had issued notices to State Governments returnable by May 30.

According to the NBA representatives, over 100 tribal families from 33 dam-affected villages in Maharashtra have been picketing in Mumbai demanding that State Government placed the findings of the Task Force before the court. The task force had found anomalies and deficiency in the rehabilitation process of the oustees. Similarly over 400 people from Madhya Pradesh are on dharna before the Narmada Control Authority office in Indore.

The NCA allowed the increase in the dam height in its meeting last month.

According to NBA representative, Sanjay Sangvai, the Madhya Pradesh Government was using force to oust dam-affected tribals in Alirajpur.

The police and the local administration had got together to cut trees and burn them so tribals could not live there and had to per force evacuate the villages.

There are about 8,000 families below 95 metres in all the three States of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, who are yet to be settled.

The number of families below 100 metres who are to be settled goes beyond 10,000, says NBA.

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