Skip to main content

Apprehending massive submergence, 10-km human chain along Narmada river opposes Govt of India move on dam gates

By Our Representative
The powerful anti-dam organization, Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), stepped up pressure on Monday by creating a unique 10 km long human chain against the Narmada Control Authority (NCA), which is to meet on May 9 to decide on closing the Narmada dam’s gates, saying such a step would submerge 244 villages and a town.
The NCA is the Government of India's inter-state body established under the Narmada (Water Dispute) Tribunal Award, is to finalize the dam’s height and other issues related with the Narmada project, including rehabilitating dam oustees.
Participated by nearly 5,000 people from the Narmada valley, the human chain touched on borders of living village communities and on the banks of the river. The protesters raised slogans and placards against closing the dam’s gates, which would allow the dam’s reservoir to store water up to 139 meters.
In a statement NBA said, “After 31 years struggle, 15,000 families have been rehabilitated, but very few of them have been resettled in Madhya Pradesh. Nearly 40,000 families live in the villages which face submergence.”
Project affected persons – women, men, children, farmers, fishermen, potters and labours –blocked Rajghat Bridge on the river in Badwani, on the border of Gujarat, holding a public meeting there.
Among those who joined the human chain included former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijay Singh, a known Narmada dam votary of yester-years, along with his Congress supporters.
Participants said, thousands of families are yet to get the new package in lieu of land, announced by the Supreme Court. “Thousands of landless have not received any package”, one of them, Devram Kanhera, said.
Added Pemal Behan from Dhanora village, “We can’t build our houses with meager compensation. The resettlement sites are not ready and widows, poor single women have no support to raise a plinth.”
People from scheduled areas, especially tribals, said they would hold special Gram Sabhas in the coming days and pass resolutions bringing out facts and figures related to balanced rehabilitation. 
Their resolutions will form the legal basis for any further decision.
Addressing protesters, NBA leader Medha Patkar said, “Lack of monitoring of rehabilitation and environmental measures have resulted in fraudulent reports and affidavits on compensation to the dam oustees.”
Meanwhile, in a statement, prominent citizens, including CPI-M’s farmers’ leader Hannan Mollah, well-known religious leader Swami Agnivesh, socialist Dr Sunilam, activist Vimal Bhai, and journalist Sumit Chakravarty said that “it is a countdown towards impounding waters in the 214 km land stretch where more than 40,000 families are residing till date.”
“There are standing crops and massive plantations; thousands of pucca houses, schools, other public and private services erected; hundreds of temples, tens of mosques (as opposed to three temples claimed by the authorities), adivasi gods and worship places, all of which will be submerged”, they said.
“There are lakhs of trees in the submergence area. People are continuing with their daily lives, and except for a few villages in the hilly mountainous region, falling in Alirajpur district, all other villages in the plains, at least 150 have large populations (hundreds of families in each) with functioning panchayats”, they added.

Comments

TRENDING

India under Modi among top 10 autocratizing nations, on verge of 'losing' democracy status

By Rajiv Shah
A new report, prepared by a top Swedish institute studying liberal democracy, has observed that there has been a sharp “dive in press freedom along with increasing repression of civil society in India associated with the current Hindu-nationalist regime of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.” The report places India among the top 10 countries that “have autocratized the most”. Other countries that have been identified for rolling towards autocracy are -- Hungary, Turkey, Poland, Serbia, Brazil, Mali, Thailand, Nicaragua and Zambia.

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam*
RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

RSS supremo Deoras 'supported' Emergency, but Indira, Sanjay Gandhi 'didn't respond'

By Shamsul Islam*
National Emergency was imposed on the country by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on June 25-26, 1975, and it lasted for 19 months. This period is considered as ''dark times' for Indian democratic polity. Indira Gandhi claimed that due to Jaiprakash Narayan's call to the armed forces to disobey the 'illegal' orders of Congress rulers had created a situation of anarchy and there was danger to the existence of Indian Republic so there was no alternative but to impose Emergency under article 352 of the Constitution.

Letter to friends, mentors: Coming together of class, communal, corona viruses 'scary'

By Prof (Dr) Mansee Bal Bhargava*
COVID greetings from Ahmedabad to dear mentors and friends from around the world…
I hope you are keeping well and taking care of yourself besides caring for the people around you. I’m writing to learn how is the science and the society coping with the prevention and cure of the pandemic. I’m also writing to share the state of the corona virus that is further complicated with the long-standing class and communal viruses.

Hurried nod to Western Ghat projects: 16 lakh Goans' water security 'jeopardised'

Counterview Desk
Taking strong exception to "virtual clearances" to eco-sensitive projects in the Western Ghats, the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) in a statement has said urged for a review of the four-lane highway, 400 KV transmission line and double tracking of the railway line through the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary and Mollem National Park in Goa.

Disturbing signal? Reliance 'shifting focus' away from Indian petrochemical sector

By NS Venkataraman*
Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), a large Indian company, has expanded and grown in a spectacular manner during the last few decades, like of which no industrial group in India has performed before. RIL is now involved in multi various activities relating to petroleum refineries, petrochemicals, oil and gas exploration, coal bed methane, life sciences, retail business, communication network, (Jio platform) media/entertainment etc.

Case for nationalising India's healthcare system amidst 'strong' private control

Counterview Desk
A draft discussion note, prepared by Dr Maya Valecha, a Gujarat-based gynecologist and activist, sent to the People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) as also a large number of activists, academics and professionals as an email alert, is all set to create a flutter among policy experts for its strong insistence on nationalizing India’s healthcare system.

Clean chit to British rulers, Muslim League? Karnataka to have Veer Savarkar flyovers

By Shamsul Islam*
The BJP government of Karnataka led by BS Yediyurappa is going to honour Hindutva icon VD Savarkar by naming two of the newly built major flyovers in Bangalore and Mangalore after him. There was a huge uproar against this decision of the RSS-BJP government as many pro-Kannada organisations with opposition parties and liberal-secular organizations questioned the logic to ignore so many freedom fighters, social reformers and others from within the state.

Oxfam on WB project: ICT 'ineffective', privatised learning to worsen gender divide

By Rajiv Shah 
A top multinational NGO, with presence in several developed and developing countries, has taken strong exception to the World Bank part-funding Strengthening Teaching-Learning and Results for States (STARS) project in six Indian states – Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Odisha – for its emphasis on information and communication technology (ICT)-enabled approaches for teacher development, student assessment and digital platform for early childhood education.