Displaced locals started a ‘Jal Satyagraha’ against the Sardar Sarovar Dam at Barwani’s Rajghat in Madhya Pradesh. The locals stood chest-deep in waters of Narmada with banners and placards, as a part of Narmada Bachao Andolan. This comes after the founder of the movement Medha Patkar started an indefinite fast on Thursday.
The height of Sardar Sarovar Dam, on the Narmada river near Navagam in Gujarat, is being increased by 17 metres to 138.72 metres. The Supreme Court had ordered resettlement before July 31 of people of a town and 192 villages that fall in the submerged area.
“The Madhya Pradesh government has presented false figures and provided wrong information in the Supreme Court. The apex court’s instructions are also not being followed,” Patkar alleged. “A major part of Madhya Pradesh would fall in the submerged area with the increase in dam’s height. The government is planning resettlement in areas which are muddy, there is no facility available… how would people and livestock survive,” she wondered.
As per media reports, Patkar began the fast in Barwani on Thursday. Later, she sat on the Narmada bank in Dhar district in Chikhalda village, where a large number of displaced people also gathered.
The Narmada Bachao Andolan, in a statement, had alleged that the project was initially pushed “in the name of drought-affected people in Gujarat”. “It is obvious that it was being pushed in favour of the corporates and in the interest of electoral politics,” it said.
Last week, Congress leader Digvijay Singh said nearly 18,000 families in Madhya Pradesh were displaced by the closure of gates of the Sardar Sarovar Dam in Gujarat June, but they have not been rehabilitated yet. “A Supreme Court order regarding the rehabilitation of dam oustees has not been followed,” the Congress general secretary told reporters in Indore.
With inputs from IANS.