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Narmada submergence: Why no crop damage assessment, asks NBA, warns protest

By Our Representative
The well-known anti-dam civil rights organization, Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), has warned the Madhya Pradesh government that if it does not act to help rehabilitate the Sardar Sarovar dam oustees, a large number of whose villages are under submergence after Gujarat filled up the dam’s reservoir, it would be forced to launch a strong protest movement.
Especially blaming government officials, an NBA communique said, standing crop on thousands of hectares of land has been destroyed, and the situation is particularly grave in such villages like Barikhera of Kukshi Tehsil or Piplud and Dhanora of Barwani Tehsil.
However, it said, despite the recent NBA satyagraha, after which the oustees were promised compensation for the crop that got destroyed, till date there is no assessment of the damage in any village. No doubt, the Congress has appointed party in-charges to look into the matter, yet the patwaris, who have to do the job, are found to be sitting idle.
Pointing out that this is particularly painful because it is Nimad, one of the agriculturally-rich regions, NBA said, even fodder is not provided on time for the cattle to those living on animal husbandry. A fodder camp was organized in the name of relief, and some 11-12 quintals of fodder were given initially, but things have not moved thereafter.
Asserting that the situation is no better in rehabilitation colonies, set up by the government to resettle the oustees, NBA said, there are sites which do not have any place where the cattle could go out and graze, even as boards display false grazing grounds, set up by the previous BJP government. There no drinking water facility, tankers are sent irregularly to provide potable water, handpumps are not working, there is not even crematorium grounds.
Those provided with plots in these sites were to be given Rs 5.8 lakh to build houses in accordance with the Supreme Court directive. Following the NBA satyagraha Narmada Valley Development Minister Surendra Singh Baghel assured the agitators in Indore on September 9 that the amount would be provided promptly, but is not happening, the communique said.

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