Greenpeace India on Sunday condemned the inauguration of Sardar Sarovar Dam on the Narmada river, saying it signals “ruin” and not the development of 10,000 hapless and poor farmers. The NGO said the Sardar Sarovar Project, which was dedicated to the nation by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, would not bring any development for Adivasis in the absence of a just and fair rehabilitation programme.
Greenpeace India’s executive director Ravi Chellam said as part of civil society, they condemned the inauguration of the Sardar Sarovar Dam and stood in solidarity with the Narmada Bacchao Andolan (NBA) which “displayed incredible courage and resilience, even now as they refuse to leave their homes by protesting peacefully in ‘Jal Satyagraha'”.
“This is tragically so despite a long struggle by civil society and activists, and the Supreme Court orders passed in favour of those likely to be affected,” it added. It said the “so-called development project” comes at an immeasurable cost when considered in terms of the dislocation and debasement caused to countless men, women and children, their hearths and homes, besides the destruction of forests, biodiversity and ecosystems.
The project “signals ruin not development for tens of thousands of unsuspecting, hapless and poor farmers and Adivasis, in the absence of a just, genuine and fair rehabilitation programme”, it said. While inaugurating the dam, the prime minister said no other project in the world had faced so many hurdles as this “engineering miracle” which many people had “conspired to stop”.
Nearly 56 years after its foundation was laid, the Sardar Sarovar Dam, which was mired in controversies and faced stiff opposition from affected villagers, became a reality today after Modi unveiled the plaque to launch it.