Final win for the “Jal Satyagrahis”

Final win for the “Jal Satyagrahis”

New Delhi : India | Sep 26, 2012 at 3:39 AM PDT
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Jal Satyagrahis finally won the battle after 17 days of protest to resolve the dam deadlock. Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan has finally agreed to most of the demands put forward by the protesters.

It had all started with the growing concerns of the native villagers from villages across Khandwa towards the rising level of the river Narmada in the Omkareshwar Dam in Madhya Pradesh. Built by the Narmada Hydroelectric Development Corporation, a joint venture between NHPC Ltd and the government of Madhya Pradesh, the 520 MW Omkareshwar project is one of the several big dams on the Narmada River. The “Jal Satyagrah” had started on August 25 when the protesters had witnessed waist deep water in the Narmada River and they feared that the rising water level of the damn might submerge their lands spread across several villages. Since then several villagers were seen spending on an average around 20 hours standing in water and several others sitting on the dharna near the site. For more details buy news articles online.

The life of the protesters had been getting tough with every passing day, “most of the villagers are standing in water with the help of bamboo. They have developed numbness in feet and skin-itching problems,” said one Narmada Bachao activist. “All of them come out only for lunch and dinner or to visit the toilet,” she added.

Group of teenagers were witnessed at the spot to motivate the satyagrahis by raising slogans every 10 minutes and a total of 51 farmers were involved in Jal Satyagarh in relay for the past 16 days and the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) had also made plans to increase their number in the wake of the protests. It had grown hard for the satyagrahis to prolong their protests as they had developed 'washermen -foot disease', which results in skin dissolution and fungal infection yet they displayed no signs of deterrence from fighting for their cause. To catch glimpses of the protest, buy online images. The government is acting in violation of Supreme Court orders and trying to drive the ousted away without rehabilitating them. But the affected persons have resolved that they will not give in and will rather drown than be driven away,” said the activist. She added that the Supreme Court, in its judgment of May 2011 on the rehabilitation of the ousted of Omkareshwar project, had ruled that it was the constitutional obligation of the project authorities to allot a minimum of two hectares of agricultural land to each displaced family.

Rattled by the ongoing protests Shivraj Singh Chauhan, state Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh finally resolved the dam deadlock by submitting to the demands of the protesters. He has agreed to reduce water level in the Omkareshwar dam to 189 metre and has also agreed to set up a 5-member panel to review the demand of the local people in the next 90 days along with the rehabilitation of the displaced protesters. Buy content online to know more about the story.

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johnmatthew is based in New Delhi, Delhi, India, and is a Reporter on Allvoices.
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