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Rehabilitating Narmada dam oustees: Gujarat not 'not cooperating', says MP minister


By Our Representative
The Madhya Pradesh government has said that the neighbouring Gujarat government is “not cooperating” for ensuring that thousands of Narmada dam oustees are properly rehabilitated in Madhya Pradesh. Talking with oustee representatives in Badwani, Madhya Pradesh, state Narmada minister Surendra Singh Baghel, however, assured oustees that he would stand by them and would try to “convince the authorities not to offend” the oustees in any way.
Pointing out that the Madhya Pradesh government does not want any progress with regard to the Narmada project without rehabilitation, Baghel said, he would ensure that the state officials stand by the agitating representatives in village-level committees formed to rehabilitate the oustees. “I will remove officials who do not comply”, he said.
Blaming the current state of affairs a mistake made by the previous BJP government of the state, Baghel pleaded, “We need time to correct these.” Baghel listened to hundreds of oustees, who were protesting against the state government plan to raise the water in the Narmada dam to full reservoir level, 138.68 metres, which that would “submerge” their villages.
During the dialogue, which continued for three hours, Baghel saw angry people registering protest against the “arbitrariness of Gujarat” to fill up water in the dam up to 138.68 meters in 50 days. Already, it was suggested, the water levels had reached above 131.68 metres, which was “a violation the decision taken by the Narmada Control Authority”, they pointed out.
Among those who represented to the minister included Devram Kanera, Bhagirath Dhangar, Pine Mansoori and Kailash Yadav, Pema Bhilala, and top social activist Medha Patkar of the Narmada Bachao Andolan.

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