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HindustanTimes Sun,24 Aug 2014

Bhopal: Dam oustees to hold 5- day satyagraha from June 18

HT correspondent, Hindustan Times  Bhopal, June 10, 2013
First Published: 15:39 IST(10/6/2013) | Last Updated: 15:46 IST(10/6/2013)

Thousands of people affected by various dam projects on Narmada River will join hands to hold Narmada Jeevan Adhikaar Satyagraha- in Bhopal from June 18 to 22 to seek their complete rehabilitation.

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Narmada oustees and Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) activists also showed discontent over rehabilitation package of Rs. 212 crore which was recently announced by chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.

Addressing a press conference NBA activist Alok Agarwal said, “The affected peasants and landless families of Omkareshwar Dam, Indira Sagar, Maheshwar, Maan and Upper Beda dams will camp in the capital city of Bhopal from June 18 demanding complete rehabilitation of all those displaced due to construction of dams on Narmada. And also protest against state government declaration that the package is only for those who will leave the submergence area by July 15, 2013, which is unlawful and inhuman.”

He further informed, “The main reason to hold Satyagraha is the package, which was announced recently by chief minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan for the affected farmers, is a violation of the Supreme Court’s ruling and rehabilitation policy. The Supreme Court clearly stated that eviction and submergence can commence only after a period of 6 months after full provision of rehabilitation and resettlement. The offer of the package order, subject to the condition of eviction by July 15, is therefore both a violation of the Supreme Court and is grossly inhuman, in the light of the oncoming monsoon.”

“The package including Rs. 2 lakh per acre for farmers and Rs. 2.5 lakh for landless families has been announced after 17-day historic Jal Satyagraha. The package for the landless families is a huge victory for the struggle and the NBA welcomes the declaration but the package for the farmers, however, is in violation of the orders and judgments of the Supreme Court and the Rehabilitation Policy of the Government. The Rehabilitation Policy states that each displaced farmer is to be allotted a minimum of five acres of agricultural land.

The package for the farmers is only for a minimum of 1 acre of land and not for a minimum of 5 acres of land, which is a direct violation of the Rehabilitation Policy.

Also, the compensation of Rs. 2 lakh per acre offered is much below the current market rates which will render the farmers incapable of buying new land. This very year, Rs. 5.8 lakh per acre has been given for the area under submergence in the Indira Sagar Project,” he added.

He appealed on behalf of NBA to the state government that the historic injustice meted to the landless oustees should be addressed, and the package of Rs. 2.5 lakh per landless family should be provided to all landless families affected by the five dams.

The NBA also demands that a minimum of five acres of land should be provided to all farmer families of the five dams in accordance to the orders of the Supreme Court, along with other rehabilitation amenities, immediately.

NBA activist Alok Agarwal with affected men and women oustees of the Omkareshwar, Indira Sagar, Maheshwar, Upper Beda and Man dams will fast for five days between June 18 and 22.


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