Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) leader Medha Patkar on Tuesday demanded action against 400 middlemen listed in the Jha commission report for irregularities in resettlement and rehabilitation of Sardar Sarovar dam oustees.
She said the state government should not take action against the sellers and buyers in the 1,560 fake land sale registries, which have been listed in the report.
Patkar said the state government should take action against officials responsible for the fake land sale registries which left 1,560 Project Affected Families (PAFs) without land-based rehabilitation. She said on August 5, responding to the findings of the report, the government issued an order in case of fake land registries, action to be taken against sellers, buyers and middlemen.
“There are around 400 middlemen listed in various annexures of the Jha commission report. This list includes some patwaris and land acquisition officials, who have also been listed as middlemen. But what about other officials or disbursing officers who were responsible for all this? Why is the government not taking any action against such officials?” she asked.
Claiming that reports from Gujarat say that gates of Sardar Sarovar dam would be opened by December, Patkar said if that happens, it would affect 45,000 families in the submergence area. “At 122 metre height of the dam, 177 will get submerged, while at 139 metres, 244 villages and one township will be submerged when gates open. Government records say that 15,946 families have been relocated from the submergence area. But what is surprising is that 55 villages, which were earlier inside submergence area, have now been shown out of the submergence area,” she added.
Patkar said it was after seven years that the Jha commission report was submitted to the state assembly in July, after which they managed to get a copy.
According to NBA leaders, the MP government had decided to give `5.5 lakh instead of 5 acres of land to the dam-affected people. The affected people were asked to get half of this amount (`5 .5 lakh) and then show the registry of the land they would buy to claim rest of the amount. But middlemen using fake registries either sold them somebody else’s land or did not provide any land.
JUSTICE JHA COMMISSION REPORT
The Justice SS Jha Commission was set up by the high court in 2008 to probe allegations regarding fake land sale registries, corruption in rehabilitation sites, issuance of livelihood grants, allotment of plots for construction of houses related to oustees of the Sardar Sarovar Dam Project in Alirajpur, Dhar, Khargone and Barwani.
According to the NBA leaders, a group of farmers of Nimad first got whiff of the irregularities.
The NBA decided to approach high court in 2007, resulting into two major orders in 2008 and 2009. In compliance with the first major order, the state government appointed Jha Commission under Commission of Enquiry Act, 1952 in 2008.