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An apology for rehabilitation: NBA

Sunday 9 April 2006, by PARSAI*Gargi

"Sites not ready, resettlement only on paper"

NEW DELHI: A two-member Narmada Bachao Andolan team, which accompanied Central Ministers to the Narmada valley in Madhya Pradesh to assess the resettlement of displaced families, said they were able to visit only a few rehabilitation sites and two submergence villages.

At Kakrana and Khariya Bhadal, Adivasi homes and land were submerged long ago and the inhabitants were living in difficult conditions in the absence of rehabilitation. The rehabilitation sites at Dharampuri, Lakhangaon and Borlai were far from ready and they lacked basic amenities. These were the sites where thousands of Narmada dam oustees were shown as resettled on paper, lawyer Prashant Bhushan and B.D. Sharma, a former bureaucrat, said in a statement.

In the submergence villages of Piplod and Awalda, the displaced families said none of them was offered cultivable land as stipulated in the Narmada tribunal award. Even land acquisition was not completed. Those who were forced to accept monetary compensation got money inadequate to buy even two acres of land, let alone the five acres they were entitled to.

An oustee said several people from Bhilkheda and the Manavar tehsil were shown on paper as having been offered the same plot of seven-hectare land at Borgaon, which was uncultivable. The oustees said none of the rehabilitation sites was developed. The Narmada Valley Development Agency (NVDA) and the Grievance Redress Authority (GRA) disregarded their complaints and kept them pending. Justice Sohani, GRA Chairman, did not visit any resettlement site or submergence village in the last five years.

Fake action reports

At a large meeting at Nisarpur, the team was told that the NVDA submitted false action reports, which were not verified by any independent authority or the rehabilitation and resettlement sub-group. It had not come to the Valley in the last six years, the affected people said.

See online : The Hindu

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