Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) leader Medha Patkar has said that Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh should not allow gates to be erected upto 138.68 meters of the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) dam wall till two lakh people in the affected regions are rehabilitated, as it would render them homeless.
Talking to newspersons at Visarjan Ashram in Indore on Thursday evening, Medha said that the failure of rehabilitation policy is proved from the fact that irrigation and power generation facilities that were to be made available at the dam height of 92 meters have not been made available even at 120 meters.
"At Jamnagar in Saurashtra, the dam water was first supplied to Ambanis (of Reliance industry) who have bought 10,000 acres of land there while the farmers were left in the lurch. So the dam facilities is mostly for the rich and not poor. One example is SSP-generated electricity, which will cost Rs 4 per unit. Who will purchase such a costly commodity? Obviously, the industrialists," she remarked.
She said SPP-affected tribal Kailash Awasya has filed contempt petition in Supreme Court against heads of the agencies looking after rehabilitation including Narmada Control Authority for violating the Narmada Water Dispute Tribunal Award between 1991-2005. Incidentally, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has dedicated SSP turbines and not the dam, she informed.
To a query on country's 100 notified SEZs, she said that her organisation was against acquisition of farming land for the multinationals and seashores for hoteliers and real estate developers. This will deprive farmers and fishermen of their resources and livelihood, she said.
"In fact, the corporate sector is looting the country. Their motto is we should get what we want even if the nation's interest is put at stake. These industrialists are free to sell SEZ lands to foreigners. So there will be deemed foreign territories in India. Imagine, our freedom struggle will have no value. The government giving concession to SEZ industrialists in 21 taxes while it is reluctant to provide subsidies to farmers. Are concessions for rich or poor?" she demanded to know.
To another query, she said NBA has convened a national meeting of different organisations in Wardha in Maharashtra from February 9-11 to raise a national movement on rehabilitation policies, transfer of resources of farmers and poor to rich and powerful. "We will launch this nationwide movement from March," she added.