People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
April 09, 2006
MP Demands Rehabilitation Measures
March 23, a group of ten members of parliament, cutting across political lines,
made an appeal to the prime minister regarding the Narmada Control Authorityís
decision to raise the height of the Narmada dam without rehabilitation. These
were members of the select committee going into the issue of tribal bill. The
MPs concerned were Mahavir Bhagora, Giridhar Gamang, P P Koya, Baju Ban Riang,
Babu Rao, Rishang Keishing, Radhakant Naik, Mangani Lal Mandal, Nand Kishore
Yadav and Brinda Karat.
said they were in deep anguish that the Supreme Courtís decision of March 2005
regarding rehabilitation of those affected by Narmada dam had not been
implemented. On the contrary, the Narmada Control Authority had given permission
to further raise the dam, which had been strictly forbidden by the Supreme
Court. By this decision, 30,000 more tribal families will be affected.
MPs urged the prime minister to immediately intervene to prevent this huge
injustice to tribals and to reverse the illegal decision of the Narmada Control
Authority. They said as per the decision of the Supreme Court, the height of the
dam could not be raised without putting in place full rehabilitation measures
including Ďland for landí for tribal families.
on March 18, the CPI(M)ís Polit Bureau member and Rajya Sabha member, Brinda
Karat had written a letter to Saifuddin Soz, union minister for water resources,
on the same subject. She recalled that the rehabilitation package was
specifically linked to land for land policy with a minimum of two hectares for
every adult son. This was further confirmed by the NCA chairperson in the NCA
meeting on July 21, 2005, when chief secretaries of the affected states were
informed that any payment of cash for compensation was illegal.
However, shockingly, in its March 2006 meeting, the NCA permitted the raising of the damís height without even a single field visit or any other direct information on the status of rehabilitation measures. In fact reports say the affected families were being told that unless they accepted the cash compensation they would not get anything else. In such a situation the NCA decision to raise the height of the dam will further displace over 30,000 families, mainly poor tribal families, in Madhya Pradesh. It is violative of the basic human right to live because raising the damís height without rehabilitation means death for thousands through forced landlessness, destitution and starvation.
Karat therefore asked the ministerís immediate intervention to reverse the
illegal decision of the NCA, and also to send a team to Madhya Pradesh to assess
the status of rehabilitation in the affected and would-be affected areas.
April 3, Brinda Karat and CPI(M) Central Committee member Subhashini Ali visited
the Jantar Mantar site in New Delhi where the Narmada Bachao Andolanís leader
Ms Medha Pateker and its activists are on a hunger strike. They reiterated the
CPI(M)ís opposition to raising the damís height without undertaking proper