NARMADA BACHAO ANDOLAN, PRESS RELEASE 10.1.99
On 8.1.99, at 3.00 pm, around 1500 people from the MAheshwar
affected villages stormed the Maheshwar dam site and occupied it.
Hundreds of people walked in a peaceful procession from the village
Jalud to where the dam work had been re-started at the site a few days
back. They stopped all work on the dam. The workmen has to withdraw and
the authorities had to remove all the machines such as dumpers, poclains
compressors etc. The air was rent with such slogans such as "Let it be
and let us live / Let mother Narmada flow" and "The Valley has but one
battle cry / On Narmada Bank let us do or die."
The people then climbed the protection wall of the Power
House which is
under construction and held a public meeting there. Lila behn of Sulgaon
addressed the meeting and said that the report of the Task Force
appointed by the Government had recently been released and this clearly
said that currently there is neither any plan for rehabilitation nor any
land identified for the same. The Task FOrce had recommended that the
benefit-costs of the project should be re-worked on a fresh basis and
that on the basis of real availability of land, the possibility and
feasibility of rehabilitation has to be established. This has to be done
before any work on the project can begin. But the Government had ignored
the report of the Task Force and given the permission to re-start the
Shri Ramesh Senger of village Jalud and Shri Devrambhai
of Village Lepa
told the gathered people that because of the blasting work re-started
since last 2-3 days, on 7 Jan. 1999 the wall of the house of Shri Sheru
Rajput has collapsed, injuring his oxen, and the beam of the house of
Shri Baliram has cracked. In village Lepa, the wall of the house of Shri
Manohar Kevat also collapsed on the 7 Jan. 1999 at 1.30 pm as powerful
blasting took place at the dam site. The people of Jalud and Lepa
issued a warning that the people of these villages affected by the dam
are capable of stopping the dam work and will not withstand destruction
of their homes and the threat to their lives due to the blasting.
The sarpanch of the village MArdana,Shri Kalubhai Mandloi
said that the
Government has erred in allowing the dam work to recommence and that they
would fight against the construction of the dam till their last breath.
Smt. Krishna of Mardana said that the coming days will prove whether the
state government values the interests of the common people or not.
Urmila Patidar, Janpad representative of MAheshwar coordinated the
Senior activist of the Narmada Bachao Andolan, Shri Alok
the Government that today we have come to the dam site in symbolic
protest. However, in the coming days if the state government does not
implement the recommendations of the TAsk FOrce report, then thousands
of affected people would enter the dam site and the stop the project
work, and start an indefinite agitation at Bhopal.
A letter to the Chief minister regarding these issues
and a complaint
of the collapse of houses due to the blasting at Jalud and Lepa was
handed over the Sub-Divisional Officer (Police) Shri Yadav.
IT is noteworthy that exactly an year ago (on 11 Jan.
1998) thousands of
the Project Affected people had occupied the Maheshwar dam site. As a
result of that 20 day long occupation the State Government had
constituted the Task FOrce consisting of independent experts, NBA and
senior officials from the Government to review the NArmada Valley
projects (including Maheshwar) and to develop a framework of
alternatives ways of development of the water and energy resources of the
Valley. The report of the Task FOrce clearly states that currently
there is no proper plan for rehabilitation nor land identified for the
same in the Maheshwar project.
The work on the project remained closed on 9 and 10th
Narmada Bachao Andolan
B 13 Shivam Flats
INDIA 390 007
Ph : +91-265-38 22 32
Fax : c/o +91-265-330 430 Attn. NBA
Speech by Juan Pablo Orrego (Stockholm, Dec. 9th 1998)
Madam Speaker, Honourable guests, Dear Friends
I feel truly honoured to be here today, with you all,receiving the Right Livelihood Award. I am gratefully receiving the Award in my own name, in the name of my companions of the "Grupo de Acción porel Biobío", Christian Opaso and Rodrigo Garret-n, who are present here today,and in the name of the Pehuenche families with whom we have been, for the last eight years, trying to stop the damming of the Biobío river and the destruction of its magnificent watershed.
I have come to realize that defending the Biobío, speaking for the mother-Earth and rooted peoples has been a privilege and has become a spiritual journey, which does not mean pure bliss; it has been a tough, at times quite painful campaign.
Deep ecologists say that when a human being defends a forest,a lake, dolphins or tigers, it is the ecosystems or beings who have found a human voice. It is a beautiful concept and I'm sure that the Biobío flows within all the people who have been defending the river and its people, and it is a privilege. As a scientist I have also realized that nature and humans conform a continuum, so that caring for nature is caring for humanity; unfortunately this also means that degrading nature degrades us.
When I received the first letter from the Right Livelihood
Award Foundation, I was amazed about how strongly identified I felt with
the Foundations "motto", Mahatma Gandhi's phrase printed in theFoundation's
stationary: "The world has enough for everyone's need but not for everyone's
greed." A few decades after Gandhi's passing it is evident that there is
enough for the insatiable greed of a few. The global market oriented by neoliberal economics is a system based on environmental degradation which generates apparent opulence for a very small minority - 5% of humanity? - while it generates poverty and misery for the most. I say "apparent" opulence because the level of the system is the level of the lowest: in other words, a degraded humanity and biosphere makes one unhappy planet for us all. Opulence does not shield anyone from ultravioletradiation or the
violence which pervades humanity.
The saddest thing about this whole situation is that most
of this suffering and destruction is unnecessary and avoidable. I am certain
that "there is enough for everone's need" on this planet. The best proof
is that in spite of all the overexploitation and overconsumption, in spite
of the greed and depredation, of the entropy that humans are generating,
the biosphere is still sustaining the5 to 6 billion of us. Imagine if globally
we were wise and sharing, if we were humble and generous, if we were as
we can be, as many are and have been. Humanity could perfectly be a net
generator of synergy and goodness for the biosphere. I am priviliged,though,
because prooted peoples have shown me this potential of human beings deployed
and realized. The dilemma is the situation of so many humans living in
degraded sociocultural and ecological situations and who do not know any
better, who do not know about our marvellous potential. How does a person
motivate him/herself to work towards something that he/she does not know
Human's orientation depends on culture and education. We can be gardeners or the destroyers depending on an education which nurtures, deprives or hurts us. Rooted peoples have known this for ages and this is why their culture, their rituals, symbols and myths are a constantreminder of the tightrope between entropy and synergy that humans walk on this earthly
reality, of the fragility of this present biosphere which sustains human life and of the totally reciprocal and caring relationship that needs to be established between humans and nature to attain the optimum homeostatic potential of both. In this context, I remember something that a Huichol indian of the Mexican Western Sierra Madre said to me in1985: "Our culture is right because it is beautiful and it is beautiful because it is right." This rightness and this beauty is what we urgently have to strive for.
It is in this context that we have defended the Biobío
River and the rights of our Pehuenche brothers and sisters. We have questioned
and confronted the destruction of the Biobío and of a rooted people's
culture as a symptom of a destructive pattern of growth of urban-industrial
societies, of which Chile is no exception. We are facing a global, planetary
problem; a problem which
is somehow worse than "life or death" because our actual dilemma is rather well-being or growing degradation of the living conditions of more and more human beings, if we do not confront fully, and really understand,what is happening to us. For this we need to start by including the non-human in this "us"; by recognizing the total interdependence and interpenetration of all beings, things and phenomena which conform the biosphere. For this we need humility and a sort of rooted cosmic consciousness which is hard to
find today, at least in"westernized" societies. And this recogniton of the unity of the multiplicity of the biosphere does not obliterate the human identity, or human identities. On the contrary, diversity is basic for the sustainability of the biological systems, and I think this applies as well to our sociocultural systems which never stop being fully biological.
I would like to finish thanking again the Right Livelihood
Award Foundation for their support. In Chile, the award has had an important
positive impact. We certainly feel stronger and more protected, somehow. We will keep working with more strength and determination knowing very well that the Earth and the sky are the limits o fthe challenge we are all facing together. But any step in the right direction helps, even tiny steps. So we will keep walking together with you, with our Pehuenche and Chilean brothers and sisters, and all others who remember, who know that we can and need to do much better.
We are one.
International Rivers Network
1847 Berkeley Way
Berkeley, CA 94703 USA
More information / Mehr Infos / Plus d'infos : Coordinadore de Itoiz
THE EUROPEAN OMBUSDMAN SAYS EUROPEAN COMISION CANNOT JUSTIFY
COMPLAINT AGAINST THE BUILDING OF THE ITOIZ DAM IN THE SPANISH PIRYNEES WAS
THE OMBUSDMAN CALLS IT A CASE OF BAD ADMINISTRATION
FIND ENCLOSED THE PR IN SPANISH.
EL DEFENSOR DEL PUEBLO EUROPEO ACUSA A LA COMISION EUROPEA DE MALA ADMINISTRACION POR ITOIZ
La Comisión Europea no puede justificar su decisión de archivar la Queja
Greenpeace y la Coordinadora de Itoiz, organizaciones que denunciaron ante el Defensor del Pueblo Europeo el archivo de la queja contra la construcción del pantano de Itoiz, han manifestado su satisfacción por la decisión adoptada por este organismo. El Defensor del Pueblo Europeo, Jacob Söderman, concluye tras una investigación que ha durado más de dos años, que “la Comisión Europea no puede justificar adecuadamente su decisión [de archivar la queja interpuesta contra Itoiz] y esto constituye un caso de mala administración”.
El 30 de noviembre de 1994 y tras una negociación política a tres bandas – Comisión Europea, Gobierno de Navarra y Ministerio de Obras Públicas – la Comisión decidió imponer una serie de condiciones a las administraciones españolas con respecto a las obras del pantano de Itoiz, y archivar la Queja contra el pantano. Entre las condiciones, que se plantearon formalmente por carta de la Comisión del 17 de marzo de 1995, la Comisión exigía la realización de un Estudio de Impacto Ambiental conjunto Itoiz-Canal de Navarra-Regadíos y el redimensionamiento del proyecto del embalse según las necesidades reales de recursos hídricos regulados. Estas condiciones fueron incumplidas por las administraciones regional y central, a pesar de las reiteradas denuncias.
“Estamos especialmente satisfechos de esta decisión del Defensor del Pueblo por cuanto esperamos que la misma contribuya al cese inmediato de las burlas al derecho comunitario por parte de la administración española” ha declarado José Luis Beaumont, de la Coordinadora de Itoiz.
Tanto Greenpeace como la Coordinadora de Itoiz denunciaron en su día lo que consideraban como un archivo irregular de la Queja, ya que la decisión se adoptó por cuestiones políticas, a pesar de incumplirse la legalidad comunitaria.
La decisión del Defensor del Pueblo comunitario es un espaldarazo definitivo a la posición mantenida por las organizaciones denunciantes en el sentido de que el proyecto de Itoiz es contrario a la legislación comunitaria.
“Ante la investigación de un organismo que defiende
los intereses ciudadanos, como el Defensor del Pueblo Europeo, la Comisión
Europea ha sido incapaz de explicar por qué archivó la queja
de Itoiz” ha declarado Juan López de Uralde de Greenpeace. “tanto
atropello a la legalidad no puede quedar impune”.
Para más información, llamar a Juan López de Uralde 609 46 89 54
International NGOs have taken on the fight against the
project on the Tigris, presently Turkey's largest dam project. While the
World Bank will not become involved in the project, nine official export
credit agencies are presently considering requests for funding. NGOs view
Ilisu as a prime test case of policy coherence between the World Bank and
export credit agencies.
With a planned capacity of 1200 MW, the Ilisu hydropower
project is at
present the largest dam project in Turkey. It is located on the Tigris
river, 65 km upstream of the Syrian and Iraqi border. The electromechanical
contract was awarded to Sulzer Hydro and ABB Power Generation Ltd. The
civil works were awarded to an international consortium led by Balfour
Beatty. UBS is arranging the financial package for the project.
The price tag of the Ilisu project is estimated to be
$ 1.52 billion (plus
financing costs). The World Bank will not become involved in the scheme.
Applications for coverage of Ilisu were submitted to the official export
credit agencies of Austria, Germany, Italy, Japan, Portugal, Sweden,
Switzerland, the UK, and the U.S. The requests are presently pending. The
Swiss export risk guarantee (ERG) is expected to contribute $ 266 million.
It is coordinating an attempt to reach a "common line" position of all
interested export credit agencies on Ilisu.
Non-governmental organizations in Turkey, Switzerland,
Germany, the U.S.,
Italy and Austria are campaigning against the financing of the project. On
November 17, Bruce Rich of the (US) Environmental Defense Fund and Peter
Bosshard of the (Swiss) Berne Declaration called on the OECD's Export
Credit Group in Paris to create internationally harmonized environmental
and social standards, and to abstain from financing the Ilisu project. And
on November 24, the Berne Declaration (BD) published a memorandum entitled
"The Ilisu hydropower project: A test case of international policy
coherence" at a media conference in Berne.
According to the BD's memorandum, Ilisu can be used for
in times of conflict, and will increase the tensions between Turkey, Syria
and Iraq. The spare storage capacity of the planned reservoir will be big
enough to block the Tigris from flowing into Syria and Iraq for, on
average, two to three months. The reservoir will also require the forced
displacement of at least 15,000 people, and will infest the area with
Malaria and other tropical diseases. No rehabilitation plans for the
reservoir oustees have been adopted yet by the project authorities. At a
price of $ 1300/kW, the project will be considerably less cost-efficient
than modernizing Turkey's notoriously wasteful power transmission system
According to the Berne Declaration, the Ilisu project
provisions of the UN Convention on the non-navigational uses of
transboundary watercourses. Turkey was one of only three countries which
opposed this convention when it was passed by the UN General Assembly in
1997. The dam also violates five World Bank policy guidelines on 18
accounts. At the media conference in Berne, BD secretary Peter Bosshard
said: "It would be extremely disturbing if OECD governments were to finance
a project individually which collectively - through the World Bank - they
The Swiss Coalition of Development Organizations and WWF
supported the call against financing Ilisu at the November 24 media event.
The Swiss Coalition's Nadine Keim reminded the Swiss government of earlier
commitments to support the peaceful resolution of international water
conflicts, the respect of human rights, and the prevention of forced
migration. "It would be most incoherent for the Swiss government to support
the Ilisu project", Keim concluded. Heinz Stalder of WWF Switzerland
pointed out that UBS had committed to respecting relevant World Bank
guidelines in its project finance activities in January 1998. "Ilisu will
demonstrate if UBS is still committed to its environmental policies after
the mega-merger with the Swiss Bank Corporation", Stalder said at the media
conference in Berne.
A copy of the BD's memorandum, "The Ilisu hydropower project: A test case
of international policy coherence", is attached.
For further information: Peter Bosshard, Berne Declaration, firstname.lastname@example.org,
www.access.ch/evb/bd, phone +41 1 271 64 25, fax +41 1 272 60 60.
The Berne Declaration is a Swiss public-interest group with 16,000
individual members. For 30 years, it has promoted more equitable and
sustainable North-South relations through research, public education, and
Fuer weitere Informationen wenden Sie sich bitte an
Anja Rech, Pressereferentin im WWF-Auen-Institut
Tel. 0 72 22 / 38 07-14, Fax -99