//Convention on governance and the politics of displacement

Convention on governance and the politics of displacement

Sunday 18th June 2006, 10:30 am – 4:00 pm

Indian Social Institute, 3 rd floor auditorium10, Lodhi Institutional Area (behind Sai Baba Mandir), New Delhi

'Myths, Lies and the Narmada Betrayal’ 

The day will be structured around 3 main sessions:

10:30 – 11:00 am Inauguration

11:00 – 12:00 pm Failure of Governance in the Narmada
This session will include exposing the myths and lies, with testimonies from the Valley, and interventions by academicians and policy specialists.

The session will cover the silence and ‘games’ of the government, including failed responsibility the denial of the Group of Minister’s report, the modus operandi of the Oversight Group and its shortcomings

12:00 – 1 pm: Failure of Law and Violation of Justice

This session will reveal how the Supreme Court orders have been flouted and how the SC has also succumbed to political pressure in complete violation of the law. It will also discuss the continued denial of justice not just by the Courts, but by all government agencies, including the case of recent evictions in Delhi.

1 – 2 pm: Lunch

2 – 3:00 pm: The Politics of Displacement

The politics behind the Sardar Sarovar dam are indeed complex and ugly. A panel of select representatives of political parties and NBA activists will share their views and discuss how human rights and the Constitution are violated for meeting petty political interests, not just in the Narmada, but in all projects involving displacement and evictions.

3:00 – 4:00 pm: Questions and Open Discussion

We request you to participate in this convention and express your views on the issue, also keeping in mind the broader implications of, and connections with, large-scale displacement and forced evictions that are taking place all over the country. It is important for us, more than ever before, to come together, join forces, and develop effective strategies to counter the anti-people and undemocratic powers that be.

We look forward to your active participation and support.

in solidarity,

Vijayan MJ, Shivani Chaudhry, Rajendra Ravi, Shree Prakash
(on behalf of Delhi Solidarity Group for NBA)

For more details, please contact: 9868 114470, 9818 030423, 98682 00316, 9868 165471

13 June, 2006

The struggle of the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) reached a high point in March – April with the month long dharna and hunger strike in Delhi. Despite three activists putting their lives on the line for justice, despite the Group of Ministers’ report on failed rehabilitation, and despite scathing evidence against the lies of the MP government, both the Supreme Court and the central and state governments have chosen to ignore the truth and side with the powerful pro-dam lobby thereby silently sanctioning the devastation of the Narmada Valley and over 35,000 families.

The manner in which the Prime Minister, and the UPA government subverted the law and succumbed to political pressures, shocked many. The report of the three Ministers’ team – the first of its kind to the Narmada valley – vindicated what the NBA has been saying about the failure of rehabilitation, but was conveniently swept under the rug, while Manmohan Singh refused to take action or stand by his Cabinet colleagues’ findings.

Worse still, the Supreme Court after postponing its decision for two months, violated its own former orders and gave a clean chit to the illegality and injustice being perpetuated by the ongoing construction of the dam. The one alarming message that emerged from the Supreme Court’s order was an assurance to governments that they could fearlessly continue violating the law, even when such a violation was entirely unconstitutional and jeopardized the lives and livelihoods of thousands.

The last eyewash in this undemocratic process was Manmohan Singh’s appointment of the Oversight Group headed by V.K. Shunglu – which is merely a means to delay and deny justice to the people. While the construction of the dam continues in violation of the Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal Award and Supreme Court orders of 2000 and 2005, and while the Group of Ministers has already clearly reported non-compliance with rehabilitation laws, the survey being conducted by the Oversight Group under the auspices of the NSSO has little purpose, apart from allowing the construction of the dam to be a fate accompli.

The Shunglu Committee is almost done with its survey in MP and is expected to submit its report by 30 June 2006. However, the Committee’s mode of operation and its survey methodology have been highly problematic. Surveys have not been exhaustive or comprehensive. Instead they have been carried out very hurriedly, in few areas, and without adequate consultation with the people. Ignoring the suggestions of the NBA, the Committee did not visit Gujarat and Maharashtra, which are also affected by the dam; neither did it agree to submit an interim report of its findings.

By the time the Committee completes its final report and by the time the Supreme Court reconvenes on 10 July to take stock of the situation, the dam would have reached 121.92 metres and, by then, the monsoon would have intensified in the Valley. Neither the Court, nor the Oversight Group can control the rains. A normal monsoon would spell doom to thousands of adivasi and farmer families, would submerge their houses, fields, and villages, and would destroy rich archeological treasures and forests.

With every democratic process failing to provide them with a just recourse, representatives of the affected communities from the Narmada Valley will be coming to Delhi on June 18 and 19 to stage a dharna at Jantar Mantar, and to once again, raise their voices against this ongoing injustice, perverse political posturing, and complete failure of law and governance.

We, the Delhi Solidarity Group for the NBA feel that the gravity of the current situation calls for a larger discussion on the issue with civil society, social movements, representatives of political parties, academicians, and other supporters.

It in this context that we would like to invite you to join us for a Convention