Under the Narmada Dam project, better known as Sardar Sarovar Project, 33 villages of Maharashtra will be submerged. While the Maharashtra Government states on paper that 21 families have been rehabilitated, the families state that this is all a lie. Chetan Salve, Video Volunteers Community Correspondent from Maharashtra investigated the matter and found that the claims of the government had no proof or paperwork backing them. His investigation revealed that the land or the serial number does not exist. Neither is there a proof that such land a land has been bought. A dedicated Narmada Bachao Andolan activist since at least a decade, Chetan has witnessed many cases where the government has cheated hundreds of families in a similar way. “The government has played a joke; our community wants that this joke should be stopped.Our community demands that we get land in exchange for land and be rehabilitated in that manner,” states Chetan.
Chetan covers the issue in the village of Chimalkhadi in Nandurbar district of Maharashtra where Vasave, a resident whose grandfather’s land was submerged in the Sardar Sarovar Project in the 80s. But the family yet awaits rehabilitation.
According to Narmada Water Dispute Tribunal Award guidelines the PAFs (Project Affected Families) are supposed to be compensated with land in return of their submerged land. However, the reality as presented by Chetan’s video shows a different picture. Vasave’s family is not the only one to suffer as hopeless nomads. The village has several other members who have been rehabilitated on paper, not in reality.
“We will not take money in turn of land. We won’t be able to survive only on that money,” reasons Vasave. And for right reasons too. As farmers, the families had a continuous income from the produce and dairy. But the rehabilitation amount will not suffice – neither to feed the family for a long-term nor to buy a land. With no other means of survival, the proud farmers will become nameless labourers.
With the help of this video and a written letter to the District Officer of Nandurbar district as evidence, Chetan is going to help this community. You can do your bit by calling the District Collector of Nandurbar on +91-2564221001. Request him to rightly rehabilitate the families of Chimalkhadi.