What was Narmada Bachao Andolan? What were its main issues? What democratic strategy did it use to put forward its demands?
Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) is a social movement consisting of Adivasis, farmers, environmentalists and human rights activists against several large dams being built across River Narmada, which flows through Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.
Sardar Sarovar Project in Gujarat and the Narmada Sagar Project in Madhya Pradesh were two of the most important and largest, multipurpose dams planned under the project Narmada Bachao Andolan, a movement to save River Narmada, opposed the construction of dams and questioned the nature of ongoing development projects in the country.
An ambitious development project was launched in the Narmada Valley in the early eighties. The project consisted of 30 big dams, 135 medium sized and about 3,000 small dams to be constructed on the Narmada and its tributaries which flow across three states on Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra.
Reasons NBA opposed the project:-
i. Since its inception, the NBA linked its opposition to the Sardar Sarovar Project with larger issues concerning the nature of ongoing development projects and the efficacy of the model development which the country followed.
ii. Narmada Bachao Andolan continued a sustained agitation for more than twenty years.