Villagers refuse to end 'Jal Satyagraha', MP govt reaches out

Villagers refuse to end 'Jal Satyagraha', MP govt reaches out

Villagers refuse to end 'Jal Satyagraha', MP govt reaches out

Villagers who have spent a fortnight in neck-deep waters demanding reduction in level of a Narmada river dam today rejected Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister's appeal to end their stir even as the state government assured them of an early decision to protect their rights.

Deputed by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Ministers Kailash Vijaywargia and Vijay Shah visited village Gongol, 40 km from here, and met the agitators who have launched a Jal Satyagraha' demanding proper rehabilitation and reduction in the water level of dam at Indira Sagar Project on river Narmada.

"We will ensure that their is so no violation of the apex court's order and the rights of the evacuees are also safeguarded. We will review the issue comprehensively and a decision will be taken soon," Vijaywargia said.

The Ministers conveyed to the agitators the appeal by the Chief Minister to end the Satyagraha, sources said. But the agitators rejected the appeal.

The agitation, under the aegis of Narmada Bachao Andolan, started fifteen days ago and the protesters have developed rashes with their skin peeling off after staying submerged for so long.

The state government finally took note of their plight yesterday and Chouhan directed the two ministers to take stock of the situation.

After the meeting, NBA activist Alok Agarwal said that they apprised the ministers that the court's directions on ensuring proper rehabilitation of evacuees were being violated.

"We have demanded that there should be time-bound complete rehabilitation of the displaced before the water level in the dam is raised and we have been assured that the government will look into it," he said.

Besides the Madhya Pradesh Human Rights Commission (MPHRC), two senior Left party leaders, CPI national secretary and MP D Raja and CPM Politburo member Brinda Karat have also expressed concern on the issue.

The protesters say that they had been demanding alternative land for their submerged land, proper rehabilitation and resettlement work since the past six months.

Narmada Bacaho Andolan (NBA), which is agitating on the issue since the last decade, has alleged that the state government had given false affidavit in the apex court on the issue of completion of rehabilitation.

NBA leader Chittaroopa Palit is also taking part in the agitation. Agrawal had said that the condition of those protesting by standing in water has worsened but the protesters have resolved that they would not give up till their demands were met.

Similar protest has been going on at Khardana village in Harda district.