Badwani, Madhya Pradesh. 29, July 2017: Today is the third day of indefinite fast in the Narmada Valley. Hundreds of the villagers today entered the Narmada waters and observed jal satyagraha. They challenged the government’s plan to force death upon 40,000 families by closing gates of Sardar Sarovar Dam without any complete rehabilitation in the Narmada Valley. Shyama Behn, Bhagirath Dhangar, Saraswati Behn, Devram Kanera and others posed tough questions from Shivraj Chauhan, whose job as a Chief Minister is to serve people. They demanded that let Shivraj Singh Chauhan come and answer these questions in public ? They said, “are these 40,000 families of Narmada valley, millions of trees, their cattle, farm-barn, temple-mosques, schools and entire ancient civilization not a part of India? Can’t the government, pretending to give water to Gujarat, see the people of Madhya Pradesh, their livelihood, forests and rivers? Will the Narmada Valley be sacrificed by the government for the private profit ?”
They added, “Shivraj Singh Chauhan says he will not allow any sewage to come in the Narmada but will he allow the death of the lakhs of the people ? Does he think that Narmada needs the blood of its children ? No mother wants the blood of its own children then why is MP government so willing to sacrifice their life for the sake of Gujarat ?” Today there is a lot of resentment among the people of Narmada Valley, and by denying every attempt of the administration; the Narmada Valley refuses to leave without full and justified rehabilitation. We will face the flood, but will not yield to this unjust government; with such determination people are sitting firmly and fasting.
Support Continues from Political Parties
Ramesh Patel, MLA, Badwani (Congress) came to the fast venue and extended his full support again to the people. Shailesh ji, a project affected person himself and of the Aam Aadmi Party, came along with 10 other members today. They supported the struggle of the Narmada Valley on behalf of the party and announced that from 1st August ‘Save Project Affected and Save Madhya Pradesh” yatra and reported the coming of the MP Bhagwant Mann on August 1st. Alok Agarwal, Aam Aadmi Party Convener, has come before to the Narmada Valley and exposed the government’s fake claims and the need of the electricity, which is primarily for benefiting the industrialists. The heavy rains in Gujarat have completely exposed the current situation where the branch canals are not ready and not managed, but still the politics over Narmada water is being played over lies and false claims.
NDRF forces arrive in Badwani
Despite all this, the administration and the government are eager to displce the people of the Narmada Valley, without resorting to rehabilitation, and forcibly evicting them from the valley. A large number of NDRF detachments have reached in Badwani today. This clearly shows that despite knowing about the tragedy, the government is deliberately working against the people. As the water level increases, there will be havoc in the valley, but not a natural event, a completely man made disaster.
Flooding in Gujarat, Water Levels in Sardar Sarovar
In Gujarat, all the canals are flooded after rains and due to the excess capacity of electricity in Madhya Pradesh, the government is abusing the public exchequer by purchasing power from private power ventures on expensive prices, by shutting down the government power ventures. There is no need of water from the dam or electricity, then why is the state of Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh forcing flooding and submergence in 192 villages of Madhya Pradesh by closing the dam gates? Now, when Gujarat is in the midst of floods, the government is giving compensation of Rs 50,000 to the flood affected people in Gujarat and Rs 2.5 lakh to the dead. Such a situation could have been averted in Gujarat if the government had planned decentralized water planning to manage excess water. At the current level of the dam, there is enough water for the irrigation and drinking purposes. However, the water is being diverted for the coca-cola and car factories located in the command area. All the needs of the Gujarat can be mate at the current level, something which Narmada Bachao Andolan have argued for long, then where is the need to impound the dam to its full reservoir level of 139 mts and force submergence.
Solidarity Programmes Across the country
Support from across the country continues to pour in. Today a number of solidarity programmes were held, starting with Kisan Sangharsh Samiti’s in Tapti Sarovar of Multai, MP; protest demonstration by mass organizations in Bhopal; in Jabalpur a solidarity programme by Mahakaushal support groups (Marxist Communist Party, Aam Aadmi Party, Barghi Dam visthapit sangh, ,Jhanshighat Kisan Sangharsh Samiti, Madhya Pradesh Kisan Sabha, Chutka parmanu sanyatr virodhi sangharsh samiti, Janvadi Mahila Samiti, Madhya Pradesh Mahila Sangha, Bhumi Adhikar Andolan, Aadivasi Kisan Mazdoor sangathan, Manav Adhikar Seva Sangh, Dalit Adhikar Sangh, Bundelkhand Mazdoor Kisan Shakti organization and others) in support of the struggle of the Narmada valley and fast against the government.
Many college students have taken to social media to extend their solidarity to the struggle and demanding an intervention from the government to save this catastrophe and do justice.
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