Skip to main content

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.

TRENDING

Telangana govt proposes to give unfettered powers to forest officials, 'help' corporates

By Dr Palla Trinadha Rao*
The Telangana Government is contemplating to replace the Telangana Forest Act 1967 with a new law - the Telangana Forest Act (TFA) 2019, trampling the rights of adivasis ensured under the Scheduled Tribes and other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 (FRA Act 2006) and Panchayats Extension to Schedule Area (PESA) Act 1996 both of which are central acts.

RSS, Hindu Mahasabha were 'subservient' to British masters: Nagpur varsity VC told

Counterview Desk
Well-known political scientist Shamsul Islam, associate professor (retired), University of Delhi, in an open letter to the vice-chancellor of the Rashtrasant Tukadoji Maharaj Nagpur University, Dr Siddharthavinayaka P Kane, has taken strong exception to the varsity decision to include RSS’ “role” in nation building in the syllabus of the BA (history) course, citing instances to say that the RSS ever since its birth in 1925 with its Hindutva allies like Hindu Mahasabha led by VD Savarkar worked overtime to “betray the glorious anti-colonial freedom struggle”.

British companies export 'deadly' asbestos to India, other countries from offshore offices

By Rajiv Shah
“The Sunday Times”, which forms part of the powerful British daily, “The Times”, has raised the alarm that though the “deadly” asbestos is banned in Britain, companies registered in United Kingdom, and operating from other countries, “are involved in shipping it to developing nations”, especially India. India, Brazil, Russia and China account for almost 80% of the asbestos consumed globally every year, it adds.

One lakh schools closed down, draft policy 'seeks' commercialisation: Whither RTE?

By Our Representative
A national consultation on the new draft National Education Policy (NEP) with senior experts, teachers’ association representatives and other stakeholders at the India International Centre in New Delhi on July 11, organised by the Right to Education (RTE) Forum, has expressed serious concern over curtailment in the budgeted expenditure on education year after year, even as closure of more than one lakh schools over the "last few years."

Lynching as state terror? Complete dearth of 'political will' to deal with mob violence

By Fr Cedric Prakash sj*
On Friday July 5, thousands of people had gathered at a rally in Surat to protest against the growing mob lynching incidents in different parts of the country. There are different interpretations at what happened during the rally: with police blaming the rallyists and those in the rally blaming the police for using teargas shells upon them without any reason.

Beijing-based infrastructure bank 'funding' India's environmentally risky projects

By Our Representative
A new civil society note has questioned the operations of the Beijing-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), a multilateral development bank that aims to support the building of infrastructure in the Asia-Pacific region, seeking to fund projects in India through the Government of India’s National Infrastructure Investment Fund (NIIF), calling it “a risky venture”.

Gender budgeting? Govt of India allocates just 2.1%, 0.73% for SC, ST women

By Rajiv Shah
The National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR), one of the most influential all-India Dalit rights networks, has taken strong exception to the manner in which the Government of India has undermined Gender Responsive Budgeting in the Union Budget 2019-20 for scheduled castes (SCs) and scheduled tribes (STs), pointing towards “wide gaps” between the goals and the situational reality of “the Dalit and Adivasi women on the ground.”

Mental health: India's 95% patients "deprived" of medical care, treatment gap 70%

By Moin Qazi*
Among the many challenges India faces, the most underappreciated is the ongoing mental health crisis. Mental illness is actually India’s ticking bomb. An estimated 56 million Indians suffer from depression, and 38 million from anxiety disorders. For those who suffer from mental illness, life can seem like a terrible prison from which there is no hope of escape; they are left forlorn and abandoned, stigmatized, shunned and misunderstood.

Universal healthcare? India lacks provisions to 'fight' non-communicable diseases

By Moin Qazi*
Universal health coverage (UHC) -- ensuring that all people receive proper and adequate health care without suffering financial hardship -- is an integral part of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. It enables countries to make the most of their strongest asset: human capital.

Include all workers exposed to silica dust in anti-TB programme: Govt of India told

Counterview Desk
In a letter, sponsored by well-known civil rights organization, Occupational & Environmental Health Network of India and signed by more than 60 professionals and activists*, Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, has been told that Indian policy makers shouldn't just acknowledge higher TB risk to mine and stone crusher workers, but also “other silica-exposed workers”.