Skip to main content

Submergence fears trigger protests in Madhya Pradesh, as Gujarat moves to close down Narmada dam's gates

By Our Representative
Protests have erupted in the Narmada valley in Madhya Pradesh against the inter-state body, Narmada Control Authority (NCA),which  allowed the Gujarat government to close down the Narmada dam’s 30-odd gates. This follows large-scale fear among villagers of the state's highly fertile Nimad area their houses and land, along with their means of livelihood, would be submerged.
In Kukshi town of Dhar district, people from 76 villages gathered to protest against the notice handed over to 6,132 project-affected families (PAFs) , who have been told that their houses, along with shops, schools, temples and mosques, would have to be vacated immediately, as the closure of the dam’s gates would lead to their submergence.
Organized by the Narmada Bachao Andolan, the demonstrators sounded the alarm that about 40,000 families would be adversely affected because of the closure of the gates, which would take the water levels in the Narmada dam’s reservoir up from the present 121.92 metres to 138.64 metres.
Most of the PAFs belong to the agriculturally rich western Nimad area, engulfing Badwani, Dhar, Khargon and Alirajpur districts.
Addressing the gathering, Bhakirath Dhangar of Chikhalda village said, “Narmada is our heritage. It is our wealth. It does not belong to the capitalists. The Shivraj Singh Couhan government of Madhya Pradesh is using force to evict us. We will not give up our fight for our rights.”
Vijay Marola, a young villager, noted, “Our gram sabhas would decide whether to allow our village to go in for submergence or not. Who is the government to decide it on our behalf?”
Mukesh Sipahi and Suresh Patidar of Nisarpur spoke about how about 3,000 families, 46 religious places, and 3,500 big trees would be uprooted in their area as a result of the planned submergence.
“Our cattle would be adversely affected. Potters, fisherfolk, traders and landless workers would all lose their livelihood. We would not let our motherland to be snatched away from us”, they added.
Devram Kanera compared the uprooting of villagers in the Narmada valley’s Nimad area with the recent killing of farmers in police firing in Mandsaur. “The Madhya Pradesh chief minister on both the scores has proved himself to be anti-farmer”, he alleged.
Kukshi MLA Surendra Baghel, supporting the protesters, said that the fight for justice would continue till they were successful, and he and his party, Congress, were with the anti-dam forces led by the NBA.
Addressing the rally, NBA leader Medha Patkar said, the governments of Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh have “insulted” the PAFs by allowing the gates to be closed down without rehabilitating them. “This would destroy cultural heritage and nature along the Narmada river. This is destruction, and not development”, she underlined.
“The only aim of closing down the gates is the BJP move to win the elections in Gujarat”, Patkar insisted, adding, “The gates’ closure is the outcome of the pro-corporate thinking of the Gujarat government and the Narendra Modi government at the Centre. Those who are suffering are mainly villagers of Madhya Pradesh.”

Comments

TRENDING

Missed call drive for VVPAT verification follows online plea to "pressure" poll panel

By Our Representative
Several political activists have begun a new campaign, asking concerned citizens to give a missed call on 9667655855 to “support the demand that 2019 Loksabha elections must be declared only after verification of 50% electronic voting machines (EVMs) with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) receipts.” The effort, supported by civil society networks across India, is meant to "further pressure" India's election machinery to ensure that the poll outcome becomes more transparent.

Did Modi own, buy digital camera costing Rs 7 lakh in 1987-88, also used email?

Counterview Desk
In an interview to the news channel News Nation, aired on Saturday last, Prime Minister Narendra Modi declaring that he had approved the air strike despite bad weather because he felt the clouds would hide Indian planes from Pakistani radar is known to have become a laughing stock across India.

Now, top Gujarat "litterateur" close to Modi says: Godse was patriot, so was Gandhi

By Rajiv Shah
A little over a week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi criticized BJP candidate from Bhopal Pragya Thakur for calling Nathuram Godse a patriot saying he would never forgive her for the remark, a top Sangh Parivar ideologue, known to close to Modi in Gujarat, has supported her, saying her statement should be seen “within a context.” Thakur won from Bhopal by more than 3.5 lakh votes defeating her nearest rival, veteran Congressman and ex-Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijay Singh.

When a neo-nationalist "invaded" hijab clad ladies, Bengali looking scholar in Delhi metro

By Aditi Kundu*
Travelling in Delhi metro on a daily basis to commute from Mayur Vihar to Dwarka, I see diverse people everyday. One can hear them talk about different aspects of life, from kitchen pilitics to national politics. On the morning of May 13, I witnessed a strange incident; disturbing and amusing at the same time.

Terror attacks: Difference in public reactions in India, those in Colombo, Christchurch

By Battini Rao*
Recently, on April 20 during Easter Sunday, more than 250 people were killed in a series of coordinated terrorist attacks in churches and hotels in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Local Islamic organisations Thawheed Jamath (NJT) and Jamathei Milathu Ibrahim (JMI) are held responsible for the attack. Islamic State has also claimed responsibility.

Women lost 88 lakh jobs in 2018: Why Modi "failed" to address their disempowerment?

Counterview Desk
Five human rights leaders Anjali Bhardwaj, Shabnam Hashmi, Purnima Gupta, Dipta Bhog, and Amrita Johri of the Women March for Change have posed 56 questions (alluding to Modi’s claim of 56 inches chest) to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP against the backdrop of his interview with a Bollywood star, which was allegedly masqueraded as a “non-political” conversation.

Disproportionately high death sentences against Dalits, Adivasis, Muslims: UN told

Counterview Desk
In their joint submission to the United Nations Human Rights Committee to meet for the listing of adoption of list of issues at its 126th session, July 1-26, 2019, top Dalit rights organizations have taken strong exception to, among other things, "disproportional application of death sentencing by the judiciary of minorities, such as Muslims, Dalits and Adivasis".

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

India's 80% construction sites "unsafe", deaths 20 times higher than those in Britain

By Rajiv Shah
The Government of India may be seeking to project India’s construction sector as the country’s second-largest employer of the country after agriculture, providing jobs to more than 44 million people, and contributing nearly 9% to the national GDP, yet, ironically, its workforce is more unprotected than any other industrial sector of the country. Data suggest that the possibility of a fatality is five times more likely in the construction industry  than in a manufacturing industry, and the risk of a major injury is 2.5 times higher.

India sans Modi preferable, Congress worthier recipient of Indians’ votes: The Economist

By Our Representative
In a strongly-worded and crucial commentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the electoral political battle is on, influential British weekly “The Economist”, has declared that “Indians, who are in the midst of voting in a fresh election, would be better off with a different leader”, even as pointing out that that under Modi, “India’s ruling party poses a threat to democracy.”