Medha Patkar suspends Jal Satyagrah as water level stops rising

"We want vikas not vinash,’’ Medha Patkar said and accused the Centre, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh governments of misleading people by tweaking statistics. "punarvas nahi to bandh nahi.’’

Written by Milind Ghatwai | Updated: September 18, 2017 2:48 am
 Medha Patkar, Narmada Bachao Andolan, jal satyagrah, Medha Patkar agitation, Sardar Sarovar dam, Narendra Modi, india news, indian express Badwani: Social activists Medha Patkar and other villagers stand in water of Narmada river to protest the birthday celebration of Prime Minister Narendra Modi by inaugurating the construction of Sardar Sarovar Dam, during ”Jalsatyagrah” at Chhota Barda Village in Badwani district of Madhya Pradesh on Saturday. (PTI Photo)

Hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Sardar Sarovar Dam in Gujarat, Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) leader Medha Patkar on Sunday suspended the Jal Satyagrah she had started with women affected by the project here on Friday.

The NBA had called for an indefinite Jal Satyagrah, announcing that Patkar and the other women would prefer to be submerged if the backwater level rose further due to closure of gates of Sardar Sarovar Dam. When the water level did not rise on Sunday, Patkar announced suspension of the agitation, saying it would continue in other forms till those affected by the project were properly rehabilitated. With less water in reservoirs in MP, the water level in the affected areas is unlikely to rise in the near future.

READ: A short history of the Sardar Sarovar Dam on river Narmada

The NBA had also alleged that despite MP facing prospects of drought due to deficient rainfall, water was released from Omkareshwar Dam to ensure that the water level at Kevadia in Gujarat rose. No senior government official visited the protest site since Friday. After suspension of the protest, Patkar and others went into the river on boats and pledged to continue the agitation. She alleged that the inauguration of the dam was a conspiracy because thousands of affected people were yet to be rehabilitated.

Earlier, Patkar described as laughable the claim that the dam was complete, alleging that thousands of kilometres of canal network in Gujarat was not complete. “It’s a fake inauguration from a person holding a very high office,’’ she said. Scoffing at the claim that the dam was a civil engineering wonder, she said, “We need social engineering because we are talking of heart, brain, blood and sweat, not concrete.’’ “We want vikas (development) not vinash (destruction),’’ she said and accused the Centre, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh governments of misleading people by tweaking statistics.

ALSO READ: PM Modi inaugurates Sardar Sarovar Narmada dam: When World Bank refused loan, temples donated funds

She demanded an open debate on the Sardar Sarovar project, its benefits, the decision-making process and the social and environmental costs connected with a large dam like this and questioned claims made by the PM and Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani. She alleged that a debate on the dam was not allowed in either House of Parliament and in MP Assembly. She also alleged that several rehabilitation sites in Gujarat lacked basic amenities.

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  1. Niraj Dutt
    Sep 19, 2017 at 6:26 pm
    Medha Patkar .. lol .. she campaigned against builder in Sion(Mumbai) but was invisible once she met the builder. Sacchi Samaj Sevika ..
    1. I
      Indian Abroad
      Sep 18, 2017 at 4:46 am
      Medha Patkar was created decades ago by forces of regionalism that were jealous of Gujarat getting water. Today center and all three states - Maharastra, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh have BJP govts. She stands irrelevant. But she is not an anti-national like Arundhati Roy.
      1. M
        Sep 18, 2017 at 5:29 am
        Yes, she shall be talked to and genuine concerns shall be taken into account and worked on. She is definitely not an Arundhati Roy or anti-Indian Barkha
      2. P
        Popot lal
        Sep 18, 2017 at 3:49 am
        What are the bonafides of this woman? Does she have a family to take care of or is this woman just a S--just parading around with others money to the tune of others dedicated to keep India stuck in the mud and mediocrity? These thugs of the third rate are a curse to our nation. And look at the people glorifying these antics of the oppressed, the so-called smart literati of India. Has this woman ever soiled her hands working? The sooner these lepers leave the better for our country.
        1. K
          Sep 18, 2017 at 3:36 am
          Medha is lefitist terrorist. They simply do not know what is right and what wrong and when to stop. They are real hurdle to progress for people of India.
          1. R
            Sep 18, 2017 at 1:36 am
            A respunding victory for Modi's BJP in 2019 is a ing way to tell the regressive forces in India that a new India is dawning and there is no place for them in it. These regressive forces have held India back for 70 years. They still control media and academia. It's time they realized their days of influence are numbered.
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