Anarcho-environmentalism allegorised

The name Anaarkali in the present context has many meanings - Anaar symbolises the anarchism of the Bhils and kali which means flower bud in Hindi stands for their traditional environmentalism. Anaar in Hindi can also mean the fruit pomegranate which is said to be a panacea for many ills as in the Hindi idiom - "Ek anar sou bimar - One pomegranate for a hundred ill people"! - which describes a situation in which there is only one remedy available for giving to a hundred ill people and so the problem is who to give it to. Thus this name indicates that anarcho-environmentalism is the only cure for the many diseases of modern development! Similarly kali can also imply a budding anarcho-environmentalist movement. Finally according to a legend that is considered to be apocryphal by historians Anarkali was the lover of Prince Salim who was later to become the Mughal emperor Jehangir. Emperor Akbar did not approve of this romance of his son and ordered Anarkali to be bricked in alive into a wall in Lahore in Pakistan but she escaped. Allegorically this means that anarcho-environmentalists can succeed in bringing about the escape of humankind from the self-destructive love of modern development that it is enamoured of at the moment and they will do this by simultaneously supporting women's struggles for their rights.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Struggle Continues

“Narmada Jiwan Adhikar Satyagrah” of Thousands of Narmada Oustees in Bhopal from 10th to 14 June
Five day fast of oustees in front of  the State Government
State must give alternative land and rehabilitation, or return the submerging land
Thousands of oustees of the Omkareshwar, Indira Sagar, Maheshwar, Man and Upper Beda dams who are facing repression, indifference, and large scale violation of their fundamental and constitutional rights at the hands of the State Government and the dam authorities for the last many years will sit in protest in Bhopal from the 10th to 14th June 2013 demanding alternative land and completion of their rehabilitation process. During this “Narmada Jeevan Adhikar Satyagraha” oustees and activists of the Narmada Bachao Andolan will keep a five day fast to invoke the conscience of the government, and compel it to act.
State government completely fails to rehabilitate and resettle the oustees
As per the Narmada Rehabilitation and resettlement policy, the oustees are required to be allotted a minimum of 2 ha. of land, and other grants and benefits. It was the finding of the Apex Court in its Order and judgment dated 11.05.2011 that the State Government did not give alternative land to any of the oustees, because of which only 11% of the oustees could purchase any land, and 89% of the oustees became landless, and that thus the State Government fully violated the R&R policy. In its judgment, the Apex Court directed that mandatorily, the oustees must be allotted a minimum of 2 ha. of land, or financially assisted to obtain the same, on their own.
However instead of complying with this judgment, last year the State Government started filling water in the Omkareshwar and Indira Sagar dams. However this was strongly resisted by the oustees, who sat on Jal Satyagraha preferring to drown but not move without proper rehabilitation and resettlement. As a consequence, in Omkareshwar, though not in Indira Sagar, the State government was forced to lower the water level and empty the lands. The State government also promised to allot lands as per the Order of the Apex Court, and constituted a Committee of three Ministers to look into the problems of the oustees.
In the last 8 months since Jal satyagraha, hundreds of oustees of Omkareshwar dam have returned the pittances that they were given by the way of compensation amounting to over Rs. 10 crores, and have asked for land. However in violation of the Orders of the Apex Court which has specifically prohibited the allotment of uncultivable and encroached lands, the State and the project authorities have shown only encroached and uncultivable waste lands. In many villages where the oustees were taken to see land, under the protection of gun toting guards, the oustees were beaten up by the encroachers and prevented from seeing the encroached lands. Similarly, no decision has been taken on the demand of the landless oustees for a grant of Rs. 2.5 lakhs for their livelihood.  Thus even 8 months after Jal Satyagraha, there has been no progress in the rehabilitation and resettlement of the oustees.
In Indira Sagar, also in 2012 the State illegally submerged hundreds of houses and hundreds of acres of land without rehabilitation and resettlement, in villages above 260 M, in disregard of the Orders of the High Court and the Supreme Court. In a case filed by the Narmada Bachao Andolan, the Supreme Court gave notice to the State Government in January 2013 to file its reply within 2 weeks. Five months have come and gone since, but the State is yet to file its reply.
In Maheshwar dam too, the private company building the dam has built the dam wall fully, but more than 85% rehabilitation is yet to be done. The State Government has admitted that this is so because only the company has persistently obstructed the release of funds for R&R, releasing only 27% till date. The Maheshwar project itself has also become unviable.
The tribals of the Maan and Upper Beda dams are also waiting for rehabilitation and resettlement for the last one decade. It is thus clear that the entire Narmada valley is in doldrums, because of the deliberate failure of the authorities to comply with their obligations. It is clear that the oustees will have to act unitedly and strongly to ensure the completion of R&R.
Profits of Rs. 3000 crores, but no money for the rehabilitation of the oustees
It is also note-worthy that while the government company – Narmada Hydro Development Corporation Limited (NHDC Ltd) building the Indira Sagar and Omkareshwar dams has made Rs. 3000 crores in profits after taxes in the last few years from these two dams alone, it does not want to spend any money on the rehabilitation and resettlement of the oustees or implement the Orders of the Apex Court. It is thus clear that the rehabilitation of the oustees is deliberately not being done.
Give land and rehabilitation, or empty the dams
The thousands of oustees of the Omkareshwar, Indira Sagar, Maheshwar, Man and Upper Veda dams who are gathering in Bhopal demand that instead of perpetrating the fraud and farce of uncultivable and encroached grazing lands on them, the State Government should assist them to purchase a minimum of 2 ha. cultivable lands from other farmers, and that the landless families should also be given Rs. 2.5 lakhs each. In addition, the five villages of Dharaji belt in District Dewas which are in the submergence but are being forced to live in the death zone by the authorities, should be acquired and their residents rehabilitated and resettled. 
The oustees are demanding that if the State Government and the project authorities are not able to rehabilitate the oustees as per the R&R Policy, they should empty the dams, and return the lands to the people, and restore the Narmada to its original flow. With a strong resolve, the oustees are entering a new and decisive phase of struggle. Representatives from people’s organizations from all over the State will accompany the thousands of oustees from these five Narmada dams in their struggle for their rights.
Narmada  Bachao  Andolan
2, Sai Nagar, Mata Chowk,
Khandwa, Madhya Pradesh -450 001
Telefax : 0733 - 2228318
E-mail :

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