1. Narmada dam row: 51 dam oustees neck-deep in water
    Ghogalgaon (Khandwa):, September 07, 2012

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    Sixty-year-old Leela Bai’s skin has started to peel off and she has developed rashes in her whole body. But that has not deterred her from fighting for her cause.
    Leela is one of the 24 women from villages across Khandwa have been standing in water at Ghogalgaon village, 55 km south
    of Khandwa, for the last six days to protest against the Madhya Pradesh government’s move to allow a four-metre rise in the water level of the Omkareshwar dam.

    The 520 MW Omkareshwar project is one of the several big dams on the Narmada river, built by the Narmada Hydroelectric Development Corporation, a joint venture between NHPC Ltd and the government of Madhya Pradesh. The protesters say increasing the water level in the dam would submerge their lands spread across several villages.

    The ‘Jal Satyagraha’ -- which started with waist-deep water on August 25 -- reached a flashpoint on Thursday with the water level reaching up to the neck of the protestors. “It has been rising. Today, we are standing with water touching the neck of most of the protestors,” said Govind Borkhiya, one of the 28 men participating in the unique protest.

    In all, 51 persons are participating in the Jal Satyagraha, while another 150 are sitting on dharna near the site. Sources confirmed that the water level, which stood at 189 metres on Wednesday, has reached 190.4 metres on Thursday.

    Life had been getting tough every passing day for the protestors who are spending on an average around 20 hours in water. “Most of the villagers are standing in water with the help of bamboo. They have developed numbness in feet and skin-itching problems,” said Narmada Bachao activist Chittaroopa Palit. “All of them come out only for lunch and dinner or to visit the toilet,” she added.

    http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/Popup/2012/9/650px_bhopal2.jpg : Mildly Graphic Image

    The NBA had organized a similar Jal Satyagraha at Gunjari in 2007 and at villages Junapani and Karanpura in 2007.

    “The government is acting in violation of Supreme Court orders and trying to drive the oustees away without rehabilitation by submerging their lands and houses. But the affected persons have resolved that they will not give in and will rather drown than be driven away,” Palit said. She added that the Supreme Court, in its judgment of May 2011 on the rehabilitation of the oustees of Omkareshwar project, had ruled that it was the constitutional obligation of the project authorities to allot a minimum of two hectares of agricultural land to each displaced family.

    Rattled by the protest, the district administration held a meeting with the protestors on Thursday. “We discussed their demands and are going to send a proposal to the state government,” said Khandwa collector Neeraj Dubey.
     
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  3. Jal satyagraha: Madhya Pradesh Govt agrees to protesters' demand to lower water level in dam

    Khandwa: In a victory of sorts for the protesters in Madhya Pradesh's Khandwa district, the Madhya Pradesh government today agreed to lower the water level in the Omkareshwar dam, and to compensate land with land. The 51 protesters have been sitting in water for 17 days in protest.

    "We have agreed to bring down water level of dam to 189 metres and to compensate the farmers' land. We will also form a three- member ministerial panel to look into the matter," Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said.

    The protesters called it "partial victory". They say no written communication has been given to them.
    Meanwhile, a Central team including two Secretary-level officials from the Power Ministry will arrive at the protest site today.

    Deputed by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, ministers Kailash Vijaywargia and Vijay Shah had visited village Ghogalgaon on Saturday and met the agitators assuring them of an early decision to protect their rights.

    Some meetings took place yesterday in Bhopal too.

    "It was only after the media coverage and after people from across India started responding to our protest that they were ordered to visit us and talk to us, but now again the same thing is happening - delay - so that the movement is broken up and the people's wills are broken and then basically they will not have to rehabilitate anybody," Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Chittaroopa Palit, who is participating in the protest, said.

    The Jal Satyagraha, under the aegis of Narmada Bachao Andolan, was launched to demand proper rehabilitation and reduction in the water level of dam at Indira Sagar Project on river Narmada.

    The protesters, who have developed rashes with their skin peeling off after staying submerged for so long, alleged that the water was being released despite the authorities knowing that they will drown if the water level rises any further.

    "My family has seven acres of farmland and it supports our family of 20-25 people. But it is submerged in the water, and our life will become useless and we will have no money," said a farmer on protest.

    Demanding land for land, the dam-affected persons have also pointed out that as per the Supreme Court directives, the rehabilitation work should have been completed at least six months before the land in their village got submerged.

    Similar protests have been going on since the last twelve days at Barkhalia in Khandwa district and Khardana in Harda district as the land in these villages also got submerged due to rise in the water level at Omkareshwar Dam.

    Both Indira Sagar and Omkareshwar hydropower projects were built on river Narmada.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2012
  4. parijataka

    parijataka Senior Member Senior Member

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    Tragedy of our rural folk, every where in our country N, S , E or West. "Development" makes the mostly semi literate owners of the land destitutes 99% of the time.
     
  5. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    Absolutely fantastic way of protest. Take a bow!

    I think an overall national compensation policy has to be adopted for the people who loose their land because of infrastructure projects.

    It cannot be limited to just the cost of the land but has to be comprehensive to include the physical and mental trauma of leaving your land, cost of relocation, cost of living and land in the place they are relocating to, how long will it take to settle down in te new place and earn as much in PPP terms as they were in their native land. I think this is te only way out.
     
    blank_quest and parijataka like this.
  6. sob

    sob Moderator Moderator

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  7. VIP

    VIP Ultra Nationalist Senior Member

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    MP govt doesn't seem serious whenever any issue of Narmda comes up. Govt is failed to rehabilitate many people whom's land is going to be doomed due to Sardar Sarovar Project. Neither diggi nor chauhan did it. And that's why Sardar Sarovar Dam is failed to meet its deadline again and again. Now only 'Gates' are remaining to be fit to complete the dam.If that happens, Sardar Sarovar's water conservation can be increased upto 60% from now.But due to these M.P. politicians and NBA workers, a huge amount of taxpayers' money has wasted in this project.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2012

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