Shreerupa Mitra-Jha | June 27, 2014
An image from my visit to the Narmada Valley in 2007 was to haunt me for a long time to come. I was sitting in a boat when tribal children from up the hill were coming down to meet a group of us who had come to the valley. They displayed a discipline and maturity far beyond their eight years of life. Their faces were a peculiar combination of submission and anger. These are the Narmada children who were raised watching their parents fight a ‘war’ to protect their livelihood and their land from the state, their purported protector.
The Narmada valley today is a watery grave. Towns after towns have been submerged along with its rich flora and fauna, temples, masjids, roads, schools, cemeteries, and all that bore signs of a rich civilization that existed in the valley prior to submergence. Few know that Narmada is the only place where uninterrupted civilization has existed since the Stone Age.
The Sardar Sarovar is slated to be raised yet again from its present 122 m to 138.68 m. Medha Patkar, the most public face of the resistance to Sardar Sarovar, was sitting on a dharna in Delhi for two days last week.
While the issue has run its course from occupying the front pages of the news print to settling down as a small brief in the inside pages, my recent visit to the valley revealed that the condition of the oustees in the valley, however, is the same. Few actors may have changed—a dead father replaced by a son, a dead husband replaced by a wife, but their problems remain. They don’t tire telling you their story with the hope that someone listens. I met Manglya from Maharashtra whom I had met in 2007; more gaunt and much more aged, but with the same unmistakable strength on his face, still fighting for compensation. A man said, “We don’t even have money to come to NBA to write letters to the grievance redressal authority because it takes 100Rs from the village to come to Badwani.” The supreme court judgment 2005 states that “In terms of stipulations, raising of the dam which would cause submergence would not be permitted unless rehabilitation programme is carried out.” However, rehabilitation is in a terrible state but submergence continues.
On Wednesday Patkar met Uma Bharati, the water resources minister and Thawar Chand Gehlot, social justice and empowerment minister. While Bharati blamed the present state of affairs on the UPA government but gave her word to look into the matter, Gehlot surprisingly commented that he came to know of the decision through the newspapers. Looks like the social empowerment minister needs a bit of empowering himself.
Union minister for civil aviation, P Ashok Gajapathi Raju unveiled a new campus of the Indian Aviation Academy (IAA) spread over 5.33 acres. Civil aviation, secretary, R N Choubey said India is poised to attain its coveted place on global aviation arena as one among top three largest aviatio
Attributing enhanced focus on project execution as the reason behind Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited’s (BHEL) growth, the enterprise’s CMD Atul Sobti said BHEL achieved a capacity addition of 45,274 MW during the 12th five year plan period (2012-17) and surpassed the target of 41,661 MW by 9 p
Bhadiya from Bhanpur Kheda village does not know her age. She has five children – the eldest one is 12-year-old while the youngest is an infant. Considering she got married in her teens – like most women in her village – Bhadiya must be in her 30s. After giving birth to five children she
Steel authority of India (SAIL) chairman PK Singh expressed confidence on improving the performance of the Maharatna PSU in the current fiscal because of a host of initiatives in almost every area of operations. During 45th annual general meeting of the company, Singh said the world steel as
Ministry of tribal affairs’ PSU— tribal cooperative marketing development federation of India limited (TRIFED) is contemplating to scale up marketing of tribal products through increase at its retail outlets throughout the country. TRIFED plans to scale up the retail marketing ac
It is not very often that Facebook advertises in newspapers. Last time it did was a year ago when it was promoting `free basics`— a limited internet service provided for free to subscribers of partnering telecom service providers. The internet platform’s reach is unparalleled vis-a-vis to tradi