Friday, September 15, 2017

Ahead of Modi's birthday bash, Narmada waters rise to 128.5 metres in valley, enter Rajghat, Nisarpur, other villages

By Our Representative
As Prime Minister Narendra Modi goes ahead with his unprecedented birthday bash at the Narmada dam on September 17, reports from the Narmada valley in Madhya Pradesh say the water levels have risen to 128.50 metres, higher than ever before, with waters entering starting to enter Rajghat and Nisarpur villages in Badwani district. Rajghat shot into prominence recently after the state administration tried to "demolish" the Gandhi Samadhi, where the ashes of the Mahatma, Kasturba and Mahadev Desai have been kept.
The anti-dam Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), in an urgent email alert, has said that waters have also entered into several other villages in Dhar district. The communique alleged, the water levels have been “continuously rising after release of large amount of water from unfilled dams just to celebrate the Narmada mahotsav on Modi's birthday.”
Reiterating that a large number of affected families haven’t yet received housing plots and compensation entitled to them, the release said, “Thousands of applications remain unheard before the Grievance Redressal Authority, leaving no options to the families but to protest on streets.”
Seeking popular support to represent before the elected representatives as well as senior government officials, the appeal says, the government must “immediately stop filling the Sardar Sarovar dam till the rehabilitation is complete as per the Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal (NWDT) award, state policy and many court judgments.”
Wanting concerned citizens to make urgent calls and send emails to the President of India, the Prime Minister, the chief ministers of Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra, senior ministers and officials, the communique said, the dam’s reservoir is spread 214 kilometers upstream in the three states, and will affect 192 villages and one town, and this would be adversely affected.
Of these, it said, 150 villages, which are in the plains, and have highest density of population, would be severely affected, it said, estimating, “There are at least 40,000 families residing in the submergence area today.”
Meanwhile, the Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS), Gujarat’s well-known environmental group, which operates from Vadodara, in a separate statement, has taken strong except to Modi’s birthday bash, saying, while about 14,000 Narmada dam oustees have been resettled in Gujarat, “Madhya Pradesh allotted land to hardly 53 families in its own state.”
“As per the NWDT award, Gujarat had to give land to 5,500 families from Madhya Pradesh and 777 families from Maharashtra, while the rest of the oustees chose to resettle in their own state”, the statement, signed, among others, by prominent environmentalist Rohit Prajapati, said, adding, “The Madhya Pradesh government decided to give cash in lieu of land”, leading to “fake registries, scam and derailment of policy depriving thousands of families of their due entitlements in rehabilitation.”
The statement said, protest relay fast of oustees, begun on July 15 last year, continued at Kevadia colony, off Narmada dam, four about a year, demanding “completing rehabilitation”, amidst reports that the oustees who were allocated land 15-20 years have received notices to vacate them for government’s alleged development needs.
“The Prime Minister and his party should realise that their honeymoon is over. Three years of bluff, bluster, empty promises, pompous announcements, jamborees, foreign junkets, photo-shoots with world leaders can neither drown out sane voices nor will questions people ask about concrete performance”, the statement concludes.

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