S.G.VOMBATKERE | 17 SEPTEMBER, 2017
Dear PM, When You Inaugurate the Sardar Sarovar Dam Think of the Dalits,Adivasis, Farmers Fisherfolk Forcefully Displaced
Respected Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi-ji,
My respectful Greetings in advance for your birthday on September 17th, and wishes for your continued good health.
Sir, I am writing in connection with reports that your birthday will be celebrated by your inaugurating the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) dam.
However, it appears that you are not aware of the on-the-ground situation concerning the Project which you are about to inaugurate on your birthday, and hence I would like to inform you that you have been misled regarding the rehabilitation of the people who are in the submergence zone of the SSP dam.
40,000 project-affected families (PAFs) – two lakhs of people – are threatened by submergence ever since the sluice gates of the dam were closed. They are farmers, artisans, fisherfolk, both Adivasis and Dalits, whose livelihoods and lands in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra have been taken away from them for the SSP dam.
The rehabilitation of these PAFs, and also PAFs from earlier stages of the SSP dam as it was raised in stages, is incomplete or inadequate or not provided at all, due to huge corruption (reportedly Rs.1,500 crores) among government servants, as informally known from the Justice S.S.Jha Commission Report of January 2016.
Sir, you may not be aware that even though PAFs have been demanding that the Justice S.S.Jha Commission Report be made public, the Report has been calculatedly kept out of the public domain by Government of Madhya Pradesh for the past 20 months, so as not to expose the corrupt persons at different levels of government, who have kept the truth of non-rehabilitation of PAFs away from your attention. The PAFs, like millions of others including myself in the corruption-ridden country of which you took charge from the corrupt UPA governance, were enthused when you gave the slogan “Na khaoonga, na khaane doonga” to our country. But the most immediate issue as of now, is not so much about corruption as much as it is of non-rehabilitation of PAFs and their forcible evacuation.
The state police are forcibly evacuating the protesting, peacefully-resisting PAFs from the submergence areas to temporary CGI-sheet shelters. Thus, they have nowhere to go, since the rehabilitation sites are uninhabitable and even lack basic facilities. The state governments have been filing blatantly wrong or inaccurate action-taken-reports before the Hon’ble Courts regarding having completed rehabilitation, even while the Justice S.S.Jha Commission Report, which would expose the lies and the criminality, gathers dust.
Sir, even as you visit many countries around the world, the world is watching the orchestrated government injustice and violence against the peacefully protesting PAFs, and it will do our country’s stature no good, howsoever successful your visits may be.
If the inauguration of the SSP dam is conducted on your birthday, it will surely send the very negative message, that India’s Pratham Sevak celebrates his birthday by inaugurating a project, due to which Adivasi and Dalit farmers, artisans and fisherfolk are being forcibly and unjustly evacuated, based upon lies told or facts withheld by some corrupt persons.
It brings to mind the story of the Roman Emperor Nero, who burnt slaves bodies to provide light to his noble guests whom he was entertaining after dark. These guests of Nero continued to wine and dine and celebrate in the light of the burning bodies, oblivious of the source of the light. Sir, I am very urgently bringing the matter of forcible evacuation of PAFs to your knowledge because you have been misled in the matter, and also because I would not like to be like Nero’s guests.
Sir, I very earnestly pray to you to not inaugurate the SSP dam until all PAFs are fully rehabilitated. Further, I most respectfully urge you
(1) To immediately order opening of the sluice gates of the SSP dam, and order the forcible evacuation of PAFs to cease,
(2) To immediately order that the Justice S.S.Jha Commission Report be made public, and order a full, transparent investigation into the actual ground realities of rehabilitation so that the PAFs and all 1.3 billion Indians will salute you for your rousing slogan of “Na khaoonga, na khaane doonga” .
With respectful regards and the fervent hope that you will take very urgent action to save your people,
(Maj Gen S.G.Vombatkere)