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

Hindus to be 'sent' to Kashmir? Despite Israeli settlements, peace eludes the region

By Anand K Sahay*
Curfew, news and communications blackout, transportation shut-down... News reports from Kashmir are worrying. So are the views relayed through the media, especially television. Old-fashioned repression seems to be consorting comfortably with expressions of concern “for our Kashmiri brethren”. We are looking at Orwell’s 1984 in the making.

Savarkar 'opposed' Bhagat Singh's, Netaji's dream of India, supported British war efforts

By Shamsul Islam*
In a shocking development, the student wing of the RSS put the busts of martyrs Bhagat Singh and Subhash Chandra Bose with Savarkar's on one pedestal at the University of Delhi late in the night on August 20, 2019. Bhagat Singh sacrificed his life for a socialist-democratic-secular republic and Netaji raised Azad Hind Fauj (INA) consisting of people of all religions and regions for armed liberation of India.

UN experts object to GoI move to 'reinforce' trend of prosecution, eviction of tribals

Counterview Desk
In a report sent to the Government of India, three United Nations (UN) special rapporteurs, expressing "concerns" over the failure to ensure "adequate" implementation of the India Forest Rights Act (FRA), have regretted that the Government of India has not cared to reply their previous communications on this.

As submergence stares Narmada valley, Patkar says: With powerful in throne, we're helpless

Counterview Desk
Well-known anti-dam organization, Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), plans to begin its “Resist Illegal Submergence in Narmada Valley” satyagraha on August 21 at Jantar Mantar, Delhi, amidst news that the situation in the valley is “critical”, with two persons having already died in flood-related incidents in the upstream of the Sardar Sarovar dam.

RTI Act holy cow for Govt of India? Official insists, don't ask why, when, what, where

By Pankti Jog*
The Government of India appears to have begun treating the Right to Information (RTI) Act as a holy cow. Its officials seem to believe that the Act is a sacred law, under which people shouldn't be questioning its functioning. One recalls what Prime Minister Narendra Modi said while addressing an RTI convention in 2015: “Why should government wait for people to ask information, we will have all information out in the domain, we have nothing to hide."

River interlinking to transfer tribals' drinking, irrigation water to Maharashtra industries

Counterview Desk
Top advocacy group, South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People (SANDRP), recently submitted its comments on the Damanganga–Vaitarna-Godavari Intrastate Link project to the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC), a project sought to be packaged by the Maharashtra chief minister as diversion of water from allegedly water surplus Konkan region to the drought-affected Marathwada region.

Strategy for united struggle against Hindutva 'fascism': Ideological silence is 'no option'

By Dr Bhabani Shankar Nayak*
Electoral alliance and opportunism of national and regional political parties, neoliberal economic marginalisation and soft secular Hindutva line pandering to Hindu majoritarianism laid the foundation of Hindutva fascism in post-colonial India.

Can't go to court with RTI information, rule Ahmedabad authorities: Kankaria accident

By Pankti Jog*
In a shocking reply to an application filed by me, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) authorities have said that the information provided under the Right to Information (RT) Act should be used in court or in a judicial process. The Act is known to be a major tool that enables citizens to seek certified copies of documents, records from any public authority of state and Central government within 30 days, as per provisions of the Act.

RSS 'demonizing' Muslim demographics: Hindus' growth rate decline 2.5% lower

By Mohan Guruswamy*
The RSS is riding its old hobbyhorse again. Addressing the Yuva Dampati Sammelan attended by reportedly 2000 young couples organized by the RSS’ Kutumb Prabhodan in Agra on August 21, the RSS Sarsanghchalak, Mohan Bhagwat, apparently concerned about the “declining Hindu population” exhorted young Hindu couples to have more children.

Kashmirisation of India? Ayodhya communal harmony meet: Activists stopped, detained

Counterview Desk
In a joint statement, three civil rights organizations, Rihai Manch, National Alliance of People's Movements and Lok Rajniti Manch, and Socialist Party (India), have taken strong exception to the Uttar Pradesh government taking "preventive" steps against those seeking to hold a meeting on communal harmony at Ayodhya.