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

Unknown said…
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

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.

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.

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.

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.

Coal blocks for tycoons: Rinchi village tribals may be declared forest land encroachers

By Gladson Dungdung*
On June 18, 2020, the Government of India initiated the process for auctioning 41 coal blocks for commercialisation. These coal blocks are located in different states within India and most of them fall under Fifth Schedule areas. The Indian government claims that their decision to auction these coal areas is a big step towards making the country Atmanirbhar Bharat (self-reliant) in the energy sector.