Skip to main content

Anti-Narmada dam footmarch ends, satyagrahis begin indefinite protest against impending submergence

By Our Representative
Medha Patkar-led six-day padyatra along Narmada river in Madhya Pradesh has ended after activists led by her moved from village to village, through lush green fields and thickly populated bastis meeting thousads of Sardar Sarovar Dam-affected oustees, apprising them of the dangers of submergence because of taking the dam from 121.92 metres to full reservoir level of 139 metres.Called Jeevan Aadhikar Yatra, on reaching Badwani's Raj Ghat they began indefinite satyagraha with the participation of farmers, landless workers, fisher people, others both in the submergence affected villages and resettlement sites of Badwani and Dhar districts.
Over the six days, the yatra passed through 25 villages of Dharampuri, Manavar and Badwani Tehsils. A Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) statement said that "the reality that emerged from virtually everywhere was of incomplete rehabilitation, denial of cultivable land to farmer and livelihood sources to the landless workers, and fishing rights to the fisher people."
There was large-scale "corruption in cash disbursements, deplorable civic amenities at the resettlement sites, unlawful submergence without provision of resettlement and rehabilitation (R&R), and most shockingly, fraudulent change in the backwater levels,stripping 16,000 families of the R&R benefits", the statement said.
Among activists and experts who joined the yatra on different days and expressed solidarity with the struggle were Kailash Meena, Anti-Mining Activist, Rajasthan; Yashwant Bapu, Anti-Corruption Activist, Maharashtra; Satish Bhingare, Former Secretary, Water Resources, Maharashtra; Suniti S.R., NAPM and Editor, Andolan Magazine, Pune; Ramesh Kode, activist, Mumbai; students from Pune, Jharkhand, Ahmednagar and activists of Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan.
Participating in the yatra, and remembering Hiroshima and Nagasaki from August 6 to 9 and calling upon Prime Minister Narendra Modi-Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Chauhan duo to “Quit Narmada” on the Quit India Day and Adivasi Rights Day, "the valley exposed through numerous examples, the fraud in the entire rehabilitation process and illegality in the decision to raise the height of Narmada dam, catering to corporate interests", NBA said.
There were packed meetings "in halls, under trees and in the streets of all the villages with the participation . hundreds of women and men, from various villages", NBA said, adding, the places visited included Dharampuri Town villages Khalghat, Pipaldagadi, Sala, Nimbola, Khujawa, Khatadgaon, Hatnavar, Sulgaon of Dharampuri Tehsil; Gogawa, Malangaon, Bada Barda, Sharikpura, Perkhad, Kothada, Sarasgaon, Jalkheda of Manavar Tehsil and villages Chhota Barda, Piplud, Pipri, Avli-Segaon, Kundia, Kasaravad and Pichhodi.
On August 12, thousands of oustees from different villages assembled at Shaheed Chowk and marched towards Rajghat, pasting the main streets of Badwani, appealing to the town that their doom would not be far away, if all the surrounding villages were damned by Sardar Sarovar.
Thousands of people began an indefinite at the satyagraha at Rajghat, until the Government relents and resolves the issue. The protesters were joined by more than 200 supporters from Mumbai who, after having fought at Mandala for their right to housing recently, were now "with their brethren in the Narmada valley," NBA said.
Earlier, Patkar wrote an open Letter to the Prime Minister, calling him to "convey his Mann ki baat on the realities of Sardar Sarovar". The letter was read out in village Semalda. Drawing a poetic parallel between Uttarakhand and Kedarnath disasters, the letter warned of the impending catastrophe due to the cascade of dams on the Narmada.

Comments

TRENDING

#MeToo moment in Hyderabad Urdu varsity? Two girl students seek action against authorities

Counterview Desk
Has the #MeToo movement reached Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MAANU)? It would seem so if a recent letter by newly-appointed chancellor Firoz Bakht Ahmed to MAANU vice-chancellor Dr Aslam Parvaiz is any indication. Seeking reinstatement of two girl victims of “sexual harassment and humiliation”, the letter specifically names head of the department of the Media Centre for Journalism, suspecting, the problem could be much deeper.
Text of the letter: It is a matter of utmost perturbation for me to receive the two representations from the girls studying in the MCJ (Media Center for Journalism) regarding their sexual and subsequently, mental and social harassment at the hands of Prof Ehtesham Ahmad Khan, the HOD, MCJ.
We do not know, how many girls have been exploited by him and preferred to be silent for saving their family’s honour; however, there are two brave girls who stood to the depraved advances and misuse by Prof Ehtesham and came up with written complai…

Gujarat BJP MLAs, youth leader "incited" attack on North Indians: Cong releases video

Counterview Desk
Senior Gujarat Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil, currently in charge of Bihar and national spokesperson, All-India Congress Committee, has sent a legal notice to chief minister Vijay Rupani threatening criminal case and civil defamation suit for accusing him with "baseless statement" that he was responsible for attacks on north Indians in Gujarat.

"Ineligible" funding of Sardar Statue in Gujarat: CAG tells Central PSUs, it's not a heritage CSR activity

By Our Representative
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India, in its recent report on Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSE), has qualified public sector undertakings’ (PSUs') funding the 182-metre world’s highest Sardar Statue, currently being constructed in the Narmada river downstream of the Sardar Sarovar dam as an “ineligible” corporate social responsibility (CSR) activity.

29th "NRC-related" suicide in Assam, as Nirod Baran Das takes his life by hanging on a fan

By Our Representative
Reporting 29th case of National Register of Citizens (NRC)-driven suicide in Assam, one of India’s human rights campaign sites has said that, on October 20, tragedy struck Kharupetia town in Darrang district of Assam, when a retired school teacher and advocate Nirod Baran Das “took his life by hanging himself to a fan in his home.” The report adds, “The NRC process has so far claimed over two dozen such lives in the past four months alone.”

"Highly irregular" for PSUs to fund Sardar Statue under Corporate Social Responsibility

Counterview Desk
In a letter to I Srinivas, secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Government of India, former secretary (economic affairs), Ministry of Finance, EAS Sarma, has raised questions on the funding of the Sardar Patel statue in South Gujarat by Central Public Sector Undertaking (CPSUs) relying on the Comptroller and Auditor General report (No 18/2018).

Post-MJ Akbar resignation: #MeToo movement and fears of backlash

By Sheshu Babu*
For the last few days, #MeToo movement has picked up momentum and many women are coming out with horrific tales of severe harassment in their past lives. They are not afraid anymore to expose famous persons including those at ministerial levels. As a senior journalist Neeraja Chowdhury opined (“An exit, a beginning”, October 18, 2018, indianexpress.com), "The #MeToo revelations are like the eruption of a volcano which was imminent, given the journey working women have covered. It was not easy to make public what they had gone through,and take on powerful men.”

Bank account frozen, raid on Amnesty office: Govt of India "treating" human rights NGOs like criminal enterprises

By Abhirr VP*
Amnesty India’s bank accounts have been frozen by the Enforcement Directorate, effectively stopping its work. Amnesty India is thus the latest target of the government’s assault on civil society in the country. The accounts of Greenpeace India were frozen earlier this month.

Murder of Tamil Nadu teenage Dalit girl: "Stoic silence" despite #MeToo movement

Counterview Desk
Brinelle D'souza, who is with the Centre for Health and Mental Health, School of Social Work, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, has prepared a strong statement to protest the brutal murder of 13-year-old Rajalakshmi. "Other than a few media reports, this gruesome killing has not caught national attention despite a very vibrant #MeToo campaign currently underway", regrets D'souza.

J&K Governor's rule: BJP's "failure" to go ahead with 44-plus strategy

By Syed Mujtaba Hussian*
Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) continues to witness cataclysm of events ever since the killing of editor-in-chief of “Rising Kashmir”, Shujaat Bukhari, followed by the BJP’s deliberated parting of ways with its coalition partner, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and imposition of Governor rule.

NTPC's "poor" track record on workers' safety, whether permanent or on contract

Counterview Desk
A recent report, “The Dark Side of NTPC: A Critical Look at the Social and Environmental Footprints of NTPC”, traces the performance of one of the four Navaratnas which also happens to be a Fortune 500 company, the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC), pointing out that, while it has played, for over four decades, “pivotal role” in India’s quest for development, this development was energy intensive and has caused “a plethora of negative impacts to people, environment and sustainability over the years.”