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Medha Patkar begins fast to protest Gujarat govt refusal to open Narmada dam gates

Medha Patkar (fourth from right) with NBA supporters
By Our Representative
Narmada Bachao Andolan (NDA) leader Medha Patkar has begun fast, alongside 24 women associated with the top the anti-dam organization at Chhota Badda village in Badwani district of Madhya Pradesh, against the alleged refusal of the Gujarat government to close open Sardar Sarovar dam’s gates in order to keep the reservoir level low, less than 130 metres.
Blaming the Government of India’s and Gujarat government’s “adamancy”, in a statement, NBA said, the water levels in the dam’s reservoir have reached 133 metres, turning hundreds of villages and farms into islands. Even at 130 metres, temples, buildings, shops had begun being submerged.
Pointing out that World Bank apprehensions, when it withdrew from the project in 1993, that the dam would lead to unprecedented submergence, are providing to be true, the statement said, the villages which are most affected are situated in Barwani, Dhar, Khargone and Alirajpur districts of Madhya Pradesh.
Meanwhile, in a letter to Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath seeking “strict steps” to rehabilitate thousands of displaces oustees of the Sardar Sarovar dam, several senior activists, including Aruna Roy, Nikhil Dey, Dr Binayak Sen, Prafulla Samantra, Lingaraj Azad, Meera Sanghamitra, Kavita Srivastava, Sandeep Pandey and others, have regretted that despite his intervention, the Gujarat government is bent on filling up the Narmada reservoir up to 139 metres.
“Rehabilitation of thousands of families is incomplete in Madhya Pradesh, there are no facilities at rehabilitation sites, even the displaced citizens find their farmlands and houses getting submerged”, the letter said, quoting a communication dated May 27 sent by the Chief Secretary of Madhya Pradesh to the Narmada Control Authority (NCA), which stated that 6,000 families in 76 villages are residing in the submergence area.

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