Skip to main content

Narmada valley villagers hold jal satyargaha to protest dam gates closure, AAP to launch yatra from August 1

By Our Representative
On the third day of indefinite fast in the Narmada Valley, hundreds of villagers entered the Narmada waters and observed jal satyagraha, "challenging" the Madhya Pradesh government’s "plan" to displace 40,000 families by closing gates of Sardar Sarovar Dam allegedly without any rehabilitation in the Narmada Valley.
Shyama Behn, Bhagirath Dhangar, Saraswati Behn, Devram Kanera and others, who took part in jal satyagraha at Badwani, off Gujarat border, speaking on the occasion, asked chief minister Shivraj Chauhan, whether 40,000 families of Narmada valley, millions of trees, their cattle, farm-barn, temple-mosques, schools and entire ancient civilization were not a part of India.
"Can’t the government, pretending to give water to Gujarat, see the people of Madhya Pradesh, their livelihood, forests and rivers? Will the Narmada Valley be sacrificed by the government for the private profit?” they asked.
They continued, “Shivraj Singh Chauhan says he will not allow any sewage to come in Narmada, but will he allow uprooting lakhs of the people? Does he think that Narmada needs the blood of its children? No mother wants the blood of its own children then why is the government willing to sacrifice their life for the sake of Gujarat?” 
Ramesh Patel, MLA, Badwani (Congress) came to the venue where Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) leader Medha Patkar and others are sitting on hunger strike, and extended his full support to her.
Shailesh, a project affected person belonging to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) came along with 10 other supporters to lend his support, announcing that from August 1 the party would launch Save Project Affected and Save Madhya Pradesh yatra. Those who would join the campaign include party MP Bhagwant Mann and state party convener Alok Agarwal.
Congress and AAP leaders said, heavy rains in Gujarat have completely exposed the current situation where the branch canals are not ready and not managed, but still the politics over Narmada water is being played.
Even as the jal sstyagraha is on a large number of National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) detachments have reached Badwani. NBA said, "This clearly shows that despite knowing about the tragedy, the government is deliberately working against the people. As the water level increases, there will be havoc in the valley, a completely man made disaster."
Reports from say, in Gujarat, all the Narmada canals are flooded, suggesting Narmada waters cannot hope to go to the farmers. 
As for Madhya Pradesh, it does not need power produced at the Narmada dam's power house because it is suffering from excess capacity, purchasing power from private power ventures at a very high cost, even as shutting down the government power ventures.
"There is no need of water from the dam or electricity, then why is the state of Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh forcing flooding and submergence in 192 villages of Madhya Pradesh by closing the dam gates?", an NBA communique says.
It adds, "Gujarat is in the midst of floods, the government is giving compensation of Rs 50,000 to the flood affected people in Gujarat and Rs 2.5 lakh to the dead. Such a situation could have been averted in Gujarat if the government had planned decentralized water planning to manage excess water."
Insisting that at the current level of water in the dam, there is enough water for the irrigation and drinking purposes, NBA says, "Water is being diverted for the Coca Cola and car factories located in the Narmada command area."
Meanwhile, support from across the country continued, with a number of solidarity programmes being held. These included protest by the Kisan Sangharsh Samiti in Tapti Sarovar of Multai, Madhya Pradesh; by Mahakaushal support groups, which includes CPM, AAP, Barghi Dam Visthapit Sangh, and others; and by several groups in Bhopal.
Others who held solidarity programmes were Kisan Sangharsh Samiti, Kisan Sabha, Chutka Parmanu Sanyatr Virodhi Sangharsh Samiti, Janvadi Mahila Samiti, Madhya Pradesh Mahila Sangha, Bhumi Adhikar Andolan, Aadivasi Kisan Mazdoor Sangathan, Manav Adhikar Seva Sangh, Dalit Adhikar Sangh, and Bundelkh and Mazdoor Kisan Shakti.

Comments

TRENDING

132 Gujarat citizens, including IIM-A faculty, others declare solidarity with Kashmiris

Counterview Desk
A week after it was floated, 132 activists, academics, students, artists and other concerned citizens of Gujarat, backed by 118 living in different parts of India and the world, have signed a "solidarity letter" supporting the people of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), who, it claims, have been silenced and held captive in their own land. The signatories include faculty members and scholars of the prestigious Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A).

Bharat Ratna nominee ‘joined hands’ with British masters to 'crush' Quit India

By Shamsul Islam*
The Quit India Movement (QIM), also known as ‘August Kranti' (August Revolution), was a nation-wide Civil Disobedience Movement for which a call was given on August 7, 1942 by the Bombay session of the All-India Congress Committee. It was to begin on August 9 as per Gandhi's call to 'Do or Die' in his Quit India speech delivered in Bombay at the Gowalia Tank Maidan on August 8. Since then August 9 is celebrated as August Kranti Divas.

Gujarat's incomplete canals: Narmada dam filled up, yet benefits 'won't reach' farmers

By Our Representative
Even as the Gujarat government is making all out efforts to fill up the Sardar Sarovar dam on Narmada river up to the full reservoir level (FRL), a senior farmer rights leader has said the huge reservoir, as of today, remains a “mirage for the farmers of Gujarat”.
In a statement, Sagar Rabari of the Khedut Ekta Manch (KEM), has said that though the dam’s reservoir is being filled up, the canal network remains complete. Quoting latest government figures, he says, meanwhile, the command area of the dam has been reduced from 18,45,000 hectares (ha) to 17,92,000 ha.
“According to the website of the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd, which was last updated on Friday, while the main canal, of 458 km long, has been completed, 144 km of ranch canals out of the proposed length of 2731 km remain incomplete.
Then, as against the targeted 4,569 km distributaries, 4,347 km have been constructed, suggesting work for 222 km is still pending. And of the 15,670 km of minor canal…

Ceramic worker dies: 20,000 workers in Thangadh, Gujarat, 'risk' deadly silicosis

By Our Representative
Even as the country was busy preparing for the Janmashtami festival on Saturday, Hareshbhai, a 46-year-old ceramic worker from suffering from the fatal lung disease silicosis, passed away. He worked in a ceramic unit in Thangadh in Surendranagar district of Gujarat from 2000 to 2016.
Hareshbhai was diagnosed with the disease by the GCS Medical College, Naroda Road, Ahmedabad in 2014. He was found to be suffering from progressive massive fibrosis. He is left behind by his wife Rekha sister and two sons Deepak (18) and Umesh (12),
The death of Hareshbhai, says Jagdish Patel of the health rights group Peoples Training and Research Centre (PTRC), suggests that silicosis, an occupational disease, can be prevented but not cured, and the Factory Act has sufficient provisions to prevent this.
According to Patel, the pottery industry in the industrial town of Thangadh has evolved for a long time and locals as well as migrant workers are employed here. There are abou…

Cess for Gujarat construction workers: Spending less than 10%; no 'direct help' to beneficiaries

By Our Representative
While the Gujarat government’s Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board, set up in 2004, as of March 31, 2019, has collected a total cess of Rs 2,097.62 crore from the the builders, it has spent less than 10% -- Rs 197.17 crore. And, as on May 31, 2019, the total cess collection has reached Rs 2,583.16 crore, said a statement issued by Bandhkam Majur Sagathan general secretary Vipul Pandya.
Pointing out that just about 6.5 lakh out of 20 lakh workers have been registered under the board, Pandya said, vis-à-vis other states, Gujarat ranks No 13th in the amount spent on the welfare of the construction workers, while 11th in the amount collected.
And while the builders are obliged to pay just about 1% of the total cost of their project, the calculation of the cess is flawed: It is Rs 3,000 per square yard; accordingly, Rs 30 per square yard is collected. “Had the cess been collected on the real construction cost, it would have been at least Rs 7,000 cr…