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MP govt cracks down on another ‘Jal Satyagraha’

Two days after giving in to the Narmada Bachao Andolan-led “Jal Satyagraha” by oustees of the Omkareshwar dam,the Madhya Pradesh government in an early morning crackdown

Written by Milind Ghatwai | Bhopal |
September 13, 2012 12:12:42 am

Two days after giving in to the Narmada Bachao Andolan-led “Jal Satyagraha” by oustees of the Omkareshwar dam,the Madhya Pradesh government in an early morning crackdown on Wednesday forcibly ended a similar protest by oustees of the Indira Sagar dam.

More than 100 protesters — some had squatted in the backwaters of the Indira Sagar dam in Khardana village of Harda district — were removed by the administration by 9.30 am even though a few others made attempts to stage similar protests later.

The Harda administration had imposed prohibitory orders since late Tuesday restricting movement on roads leading to the protest site and given ample indications that the crackdown was imminent by deploying hundreds of police personnel.

The protesters were demanding that the level of the Indira Sagar reservoir be maintained at 260 m,with an increase only after their “land for land” demand is accepted.

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Industry Minister Kailash Vijayvargiya,one of the five members of a team appointed to look into the grievances of Omkareshwar oustees,said the protest in Harda was not justified,claiming every project-affected person had been rehabilitated.

Narmada Valley Development Authority (NVDA) sources said the entire compensation to Indira Sagar oustees had been paid by 2009 and no case was pending before the Grievance Redressal Authority (GRA).

Insisting that the Supreme Court had rejected NBA’s plea on reducing the water level to 245 m,the state government filled water close to 262 m,the highest level so far,bringing more areas under submergence.

While announcing that the protests would continue,NBA activists Alok Agrawal and Chitaroopa Palit,who was among those arrested on Wednesday,said increasing the level beyond 260 m would amount o contempt of court and that they would challenge the decision.

The top leadership of the Congress,which has thrown its weight behind the protests,visited the protest site and accused the BJP government of being insensitive towards the project-affected.

Meanwhile,the five-member panel that includes three ministers and two bureaucrats will hear the grievances of the Omkareshwar oustees on Thursday.

The GRA had ruled in July-end that the oustees will have to return 50 per cent cash compensation and the Special Rehabilitation Grant (SRG) and give a written application to become eligible to get land as compensation.

While 2,500 Omkareshwar oustees had moved the GRA saying they were unhappy with the rehabilitation package,no person affected by the Indira Sagar had filed a similar application.

NBA leaders said on Wednesday even the Indira Sagar oustees would now move the GRA in support of their demand for land as compensation.

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