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Rajghat on Narmada bank may submerge as Modi prepares for Sept 17 birthday bash at Sardar Sarovar dam

By Our Representative
Even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi prepares for his gala function at the Sardar Sarovar dam in Gujarat on his birthday, September 17, reports from across the border in Madhya Pradesh suggest that the officialdom is all set to "destroy" Rajghat, situated on the banks of Narmada off Badwani town.
The site, where the remains of Mahatma Gandhi, Kasturba Gandhi and Mahadevbhai Desai have been kept, shot into prominence following the Madhya Pradesh administration seeking to uproot the Gandhi Samadhi at Rajghat with the help of bulldozers on July 27. However, it was forced to re-establish the Gandhi Samadhi because of stiff opposition from the powerful anti-dam organization, Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA).
According to sources, the state administration has issued instructions to destroy the bridge which connects Rajghat, even as asking hundreds of people living in the Rajghat village to move to rehabilitation sites, which, NBA says, remain without any basic infrastructure to live. People have been warned that the village would be submerged as waters in the dam's reservoir reach up to the brim -- 138.68 metres.
If the bridge is destroyed, says an NBA source, farmers, workers and fisherfolk, who reach Badwani to earn a livelihood, would have to travel a "very long distance". In 2013, the waters at Rajghat had gone up by 15 feet as the Narmada dam got filled up during monsoon, and several of the houses, temples and trees got partially or fully submerged. "With the dam's gates closed, things might worsen this year", the source claimed.
A spot where a large number of local people offer their prayers to river Narmada, considered Mother Goddess, with coconuts and flowers in hand, Rajghat is not the only historical spot that would be adversely affected because of rising waters in the upstream of the dam.
Locals claim, another major spot that would be adversely affected as waters rise is the Maheshwar fort, the 16th century architectural site famous for its spectacular view from Narmada River, constructed by Queen Ahalya Bai Holkar as her residential palace. The spot is well known for its temples, revered by people from across Central India.
Meanwhile, as part of its new strategy, the NBA, after the recent release of its leader Medha Patkar from jail on bail, has started a new campaign, Narmada Nyay Yatra, to go to villages and meet people on the bank to explain how the state and Central governments are allegedly brutally battling against them.
An NBA release said, "The false criminal cases filed as well as the force and intimidation used to try and suppress, oppress and vacate the villages has already faced the challenge of people’s power. Now we are challenging of Modi’s plan to dedicate the dam to the people on his own birthday through a celebration on September, 17."
"During public meetings, landless in villages like Pichhodi and Bhavti have narrated the story of those who signed the official affidavits to receive the package of Rs 5.80 lakh for house construction and left their own old house, but didn’t receive the amount or the package."
"The government has now started allotting housing plots, which are only one third of the area offered by the Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal Award as a legal right. At some spots, the oustees are being asked to return a portion of the plots they had been allotted years ago", the release said.
The NBA further said, "Fisherpeople, boatsmen and potters have not yet received the rights which were recently promised when their agitation reached its peak. Slogan mongering and political expediency are cheating the landless. The Yatra and the large gatherings are an opportunity to let people know of these rhetorics."

Comments

The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS killed Gandhi. MOdi a RSS member participated in the destruction of the Babri Mosque. It is expected that he will ensure the removal of Gandhi from our history.

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