Barwani: 30Aug 2019. The indefinite hunger strike of Medha Patkar under the Narmada Chunauti Satyagraha continued for the sixth day today. It is also the second day of indefinite fast of 10 submergence affected villagers who have joined Medha Patkar in the Satyagraha in solidarity.
It is noteworthy that an indefinite satyagraha has been going on at Chhota Badda of Barwani district since 25 August 2019 against the illegal drowning of the people without rehabilitation. Due to the indifference of the central and Gujarat government, thousands of families in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat are at the verge of submergence without adequate rehabilitation. By not taking adequate measures to control the water level, the Narmada Control Authority (NCA), the agency of the Central Government, is deliberately trying to destroy the people of the valley: peasant-tribal, Kewat-Kahar, cattle herders, potters and landless laborers.
At present, in Madhya Pradesh itself, 32,000 affected people are remaining to be rehabilitated. Hundreds of families in Maharashtra and Gujarat are also left to be rehabilitated. Putting the lives of thousands of people living in submerged area at grave risk is unacceptable.
Although the Kamal Nath government of Madhya Pradesh has started a process of dialogue with the Andolan, but failed to comment on the order of the Gujarat government and the NCA by which gates of the SSD have been closed and the water level is continuously rising in the submergence area.
In support of the indefinite fast against forced submergence, the members of MGNREGA Mazdoor Union in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Parliamentary constituency staged a protest outside the Collector’s office and submitted a memorandum to the Collector addressed to Prime Minister demanding that the gates of Sardar Sarovar Dam be opened at the earliest.
In Madhya Pradesh, a memorandum was given to Collectors in several districts by Kisan Sangharsh Samiti and Toko-Roko-Thoko Kranti Morcha and demanded that the gates of the dam be kept open till rehabilitation of all affected families are complete.
The Narmada Bachao Andolan demands that the gates of the dam be kept open until rehabilitation of 32,000 affected people is completed in the submergence area. Until then the water level of Sardar Sarovar should be kept constant, at 122 meters.
The permission granted by the NCA to fill the dam to the full reservoir level of 138.68 meters should be kept in abeyance until all affected people are rehabilitated.
The project affected of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat should be rehabilitated with complete civic amenities and means of livelihood.
All data and documents related to rehabilitation should be made public on the website to avoid any possibility of corruption in the process.
All expenses for rehabilitation and environmental protection should be recovered from the Government of Gujarat since Gujarat benefits the most from SSD.
The Satyagrahis warned that the struggle will intensify if the government continue to increase the water level of Narmada.
(The feature picture credit: Vijay Pandey)