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Jal satyagraha: Ministers meet Khandwaprotesters


Jun 19, 2010
Bhopal: It has taken Madhya Pradesh
government almost two weeks to take
notice of 51 protesters who have spent
almost a fortnight immersed in water in
Khandwa district.
The protesters are demanding
compensation and rehabilitation for
villagers whose homes will be submerged
under water if all the gates of the
Omkareshwar dam are opened.
After the state government was criticized
for allegedly ignoring their protest, Chief
Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan yesterday
deputed two of his ministers to hold talk
with the protesters.

So today, Madhya Pradesh Industries
Minister Kailash Vijayvergiya and Tribal
Welfare Minister Vijay Shah are meeting
the protesters and Narmada Bachao
Aandolan activists in Bhopal, hoping to
resolve the issue.
The protesters say the government's
decision to increase the water level of the
dam on the Narmada river without
rehabilitating people living in low lying
villages is a violation of a Supreme Court
order, which says villagers must be
rehabilitated at least six months before
such a move is implemented.

The protesters say they are determined to
continue with their protest till their
demands are met.
"Till the time water level comes down to
189 metres and as per court orders we get
our five acre land, and labourers get Rs.
2.5 lakh, we will die but we will sit here,"
said one of them.
These men and women have spent 15 days
submerged neck-deep in water. Their Jal
Satyagraha began on August 25, but it is
now beginning to tell on their health.
"In the water, fishes and crabs are biting
us, our skin is affected and it is raining
also," said a protester.
A local delegation of CPI(M) and also the
Congress MP from the area, Arun Yadav,
met these protesters yesterday. But the
protesters are angry over the fact that no
one from the ruling BJP government came
to meet them for two weeks. They say the
government is ignoring them.
"We are very angry... the government has
turned a blind eye towards us
. The
government is deaf and dumb. All we want
is the water level to be decreased, and that
too by just one-and-a-half metre. And
compensation for our land. Is it too much
to ask for?" said a woman protester.
"Well, I think the government has no
choice but to listen. And if it doesn't, there
are going to be very serious consequences
because there are some people in neck-
deep water and some response has to be
made, both on democratic ground and
humanitarian ground. You can't let people
just drown, and I think it's imperative that
the government respond immediately to
the demands of these people," said Aruna
Roy, member of the National Advisory
Council (NAC).
The water of the Omkareshwar dam has
already risen to 190.5 meters and its
effects can been seen in Ghogal,
Kaamankheda and 30 other villages, where
crops have been damaged.
The local authorities had visited the area
and assured all help in their capacity, but
the situation on the ground has not
changed yet.
Story first published:
September 08, 2012 10:09 IST

Jal satyagraha: Ministers meet Khandwa protesters


Jun 19, 2010
The residents of Gogalgaon village in the Khandwa district of Madhya Pradesh, who have been standing neckdeep in water for the past 15 days demanding reduction in the water level of a Narmada river dam, rejected chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan's appeal to end their stir on Saturday.
Deputed by Chouhan, ministers Kailash Vijaywargia and Vijay Shah met the protesters who launched a 'jal satyagraha' demanding proper rehabilitation and reduction in the water level of the dam at Indira Sagar project on Narmada.
"We will ensure there is no violation of the Supreme Court's order and that the rights of the displaced villagers are also safeguarded. We will review the issue comprehensively and a decision will be taken soon," Vijaywargia said.
The ministers conveyed to the agitators the CM's appeal to end the satyagraha. But the agitators rejected it. The agitation, under the aegis of Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), started 15 days ago and the protesters have developed rashes after staying submerged for so long. The skin of some of them also started peeling off. The state government finally took note of their plight on Friday and Chouhan directed the two ministers to take stock of the situation.
After the meeting, NBA activist Alok Agarwal said they had informed the ministers that the apex court's order on ensuring proper rehabilitation of evacuees was being violated. "We have demanded that there should be time-bound complete rehabilitation of the displaced before the water level in the dam is raised and we have been assured that the government will look into it," he said.
- With PTI inputs

Submerged protesters reject Madhya Pradesh government's appeal to end stir : North, News - India Today

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