IWD: Women celebrate distinct land rights earned in rehabilitation & facilitate centenarian women

9 March 2017
Author(s)
Narendra Ch
Language of the news reported
English
Hundreds of Sardar Sarovar affected Adivasis, farmers, fish workers, boatmen, artisans and worker had filed their applications for their livelihood based rehabilitation ensuring justice.
 
Following the Supreme Court judgment of 8th February, 2017, there is a mixed reaction in the valley. No doubt the Madhya Pradesh government has proved to be false having submitted its affidavit claiming no one remains to be rehabilitated, while 681 farmers are yet to receive 60 lakh each.


The application coming in that will be filed before GRA (Grievance Redressal Authority), claiming eligibility for the same would prove that the number was an underestimate. The numbers appeared in the Supreme Court since it was mentioned in the last fact sheet submitted by the government of Madhya Pradesh claiming that there are only these many families who haven't accepted full cash package in lieu of land (2 hectares) guaranteed by the Narmada Tribunal Award.

This figure, however, has not included those 14,000 families, mostly Adivasis and Dalits, who too didn't accept any cash and hence had to be allotted land but mostly in Gujarat & Maharashtra, as Madhya Pradesh avoided the same, limited to only 53 families against the right granted to thousands in the state.

When the Supreme Court has ordered payment of Rs. 60 lakh to such landholders it has also not deprived those who were duped by officials & agents through fake registry schemes. It is, however, clear that the villages can't be vacated unless and until all the legally approved civic amenities are ready and in good condition, at the 88 resettlement sites. MP, Maharashtra and Gujarat too have to complete the task of R&R in their own states.

As per the Supreme Court directives, Grievance Redressal Authority (GRA) has to now look into and ensure the compliance with Narmada Tribunal Award pertaining to amenities, redressing the grievances by the dam affected. All together 22 complaints on behalf of 30 villages pertaining to the same number of R&R sites are filed by the villagers, today, which indicate the deteriorated condition of and absence of many amenities at the sites which are not even livable as on today.

Vacating the villages by 31st of July this monsoon can only happen if GRA orders and the honest work by NVDA without corruption (that had earlier led to sacking of 40 engineer officials before) can resolve all the problem carrying out work on hundreds of structures on hundreds of hectares of resettlement land. Will this be done? Will hundreds of landless be provided with alternative livelihood through a special fund and an agency chalked out in the Action plan 1993? Will the apex court, in every case related to every development project, seek true facts and information about the overall situation related to displacement & the input on Lakhs of people with the women at the forefront, whether Farmer or a Fisherwoman?

NBA, after 31 years of struggle, is still raising very basic questions related to development and justice that is frequently denied to the landless, Dalits, toiling women as well as hilly Adivasis and farming or natural resource based communities.

Through our fight on the ground and in the courts, in Sardar Sarovar Project all the landholders, their names on the land titles – including the minors and widows or otherwise just land holders – are to receive right to two hectares of alternative land if the family is losing more than 25 per cent of its landholding.

The struggle by Narmada oustees continues seeking rights for the landless and all who are left out, whether due to fraudulent surveys or corrupt practices and policies. Women from various villages on the banks of the river hold celebration of the International Women's Day, at the Satyagraha site in Badwani. It's the women who suffer the most due to displacement, losing her nearest source of livelihood and the life support system full of resources around her family & serve them with in an appropriate form.

If about 45,000 families or large number of those in the Narmada Valley get affected this monsoon, and their farms or fish or any occupation loses income, these families surely would face hell. The women and children too are a part of the struggle since last more than three decades. Women at Satyagraha Shivir in Badwani, felicitated two centenarian women who have crossed a century, Baniben & Devkorbai of village Avali. Kamla Yadav appealed to women "to join hands together, especially women to stop practices of female foeticide which is quite rampant in our state".

Laanu, a social worker spoke about the importance of the women's Day and motivated the women to fight for rights. While addressing the masses she said, we all are equal in this world, hence we should never permit discrimination against women. Laanu considered education of girls and women as an integral part of efforts for the emancipation of women; believing education will bring in change for certain.

Shanta Bhai, who hails from Pipri village urged Madhya Pradesh government to respect women, she further said, "Aaj Narmada ko talab banana ki kaushis jari hai". This will certainly bring about disaster beyond imagination. Women will not tolerate this, we warn. While addressing the Satyagrahis on the eve of Women's Day, Medha Patkar said, it was the women in Mahabharata, who were seen as rivers. If conversation between Shiva and his wife refers to women as river flow or flow of life which is feminine, we must ally with mother rivers & save those, Uma had told Shiva,"Woman follows woman".

Narmada Movement with one and all women fighting for every house plot, every right as also against liquor symbolizes the same. Narmada's women remembered and expressed solidarity with women fighting against repression in different parts of the country today. Soni Sori & Bela Bhatia in Bastar, Vimalakka in Telangana, women from Mumbai slums and in Pacheri of Rajasthan, fighting usher mafia in Katni & Chindwara, in Areria, Bihar, in Raichur & Aland, Karnataka, and other places. She explained how it's only in Sardar Sarovar that all women with share/name in the land title, have sought and got right to alternative land livelihood and all benefits.