Manibeli Villages Boycott of Voting Successful: Sardar Sarovar

M’tra Govt must come clean on R & R before the Supreme Court: Narmada Bachao Andolan

Kanchan Srivastava/Mongabay
Image Courtesy: Kanchan Srivastava/Mongabay

The Adivasis from the Sardar Sarovar affected village, Manibeli, the first in Maharashtra from the dam site successfully exhibited their strength by boycotting the voting in the assembly elections on October 21 .The villagers have thus expressed their anger against the electoral politics and the government that has neglected them by not even completing the Rehabilitation process before filling of the reservoir to the highest level of 138.68 Mts.  
Significantly, some of the families in Manibeli, who have accepted resettlement in Gujarat as per the rights granted by the Narmada Water Dispute Tribunal and the State’s R & R policy, are yet to get their allotted land and house plot in usable condition. Some of the applications of families with forest land cultivation, already affected by the SS and others claiming their right to land entitlement are yet not granted the status and benefits. The issues of Gujarat resettled families, were taken up by the Collector of Nandurbar District with Gujarat officials a few years ago and has not been resolved to date. Since Government of Gujarat took years to release 30 crores of funds to Govt. of Maharashtra, purchase of private land for allotment and resettlement is also delayed leaving other families deprived of the R&R rights.
All development activities have been brought to a standstill in Manibeli village because it has been dubbed a “Project Affected Village”. This too goes is against the orders of the High Court of Maharashtra passed years ago.
It is callousness and neglect of the Govt. of Maharashtra in spite of the continued struggle of the outstees and their willingness to dialogue with the Government, officials at the various levels that has resulted in the submergence of about 100 families from villages like Bamni, Chimalkhedi and Manibeli.
Even when there are such a small number of people whose houses remain in affected areas, the limited R & R has not been completed. Due to this absence of rehabilitation over years of wasted time, there have been serious violations of the law, the established policy and Supreme Court pronouncements in this regard.
The boycott of state elections by the very village which lists the first voter from the Maharasthra assembly list as well as the parliamentary list is telling. The very fact that they had to resort to such a protest as a boycott of voting reveals the sham that our democracy has become. Valsang Bijya has been the first voter in the parliament list; it is Rajesh Tadvi who is listed as the first voter in the state assembly list has been resettled in Gujarat with his wife Suki , who hailed from Manibeli. He is working on the barge provided as a floating dispensary by the Maharashtra government and yet he cannot be eligible voter from this village!
All this clearly indicates the total neglect and violation of basic human rights by Adivasi villages on the Narmada Bank. This appears to be an effort to create a façade that ‘all the families are rehabilitated’ and give the permission to fill the reservoir. Such submission to the bullying tactic of Gujarat is condemnable.
The Maharashtra Government is now a party in the petition filed by four of the affected persons from Madhya Pradesh on the issues of reservoir filling against norms and legal procedure as well as R & R and rehabilitation as a pre-condition to submergence.  Maharashtra govt. has not even filed any affidavit in the writ Petition filed under Article 32, and the same is eagerly awaited.

Narmada Bachao Andolan continues to fight the battle and once again appeals to the Maharashtra Govt. officials to give due priority and primacy to the Sardar Sarovar affected who all are Adivasis.
1.      Supreme Court hears Pleas of Project Affected Families: Sardar Sarovar
2.      Four CMs must Meet, resolve contentious rehabilitation issue, on Narmada: SC
3.      Narmada valley: SC notice to Gujarat, MP, M’rashtra on submergence sans rehabilitation



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