BHOPAL: Hours before Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurates world’s second biggest dam--the Sardar Sarovar Project in Gujarat’s Narmada district on Sunday, the rising waters in river Narmada continued to enter into villages, including Rajghat in Barwani district, where the entire bridge connecting with adjoining Dhar district now stands submerged, due to water released from Indira Sagar, Omkareshwar and Maheshwar dams of Madhya Pradesh.
Representatives of dam displaced families led by the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) leader Medha Patkar continued to agitate by sitting and standing in the rising Narmada river in Chota Barda village of Barwani district.
At least 37 of them, including Patkar, continued with their Jal Jameen Jivika Satyagraha in the river water, despite the river water level being recorded at ominous 129 metres on Saturday. Representatives of dam oustee families got their head shaved on Saturday in Barwani to symbolically protest what they called ‘dead governments’ in MP and at the Centre. They also carried out a mock funeral procession against Sunday’s dam inauguration in the village threatened by rising Narmada river water.
While the NBA activists alleged that life of thousands of people, including farmers, boatmen and fishermen, besides their livestock is in grave danger due to the artificial submergence of the area to fill the SS dam for inauguration, the district administration officials in Barwani said there is no threat to any of the families as off now.
“The old flood danger mark of the river in Chota Barda is 124-plus meters, but as of now despite the river flowing at 129 meters, there is no threat to human life, as most of those left in the area are residing in houses located above the 135-plus meter height. We’ve all made all provisions of boats and disaster response force to deal with any eventuality,” said a senior government official in Barwani district.
The SS project which is set to be inaugurated by the PM on his birthday at Kevadia in Narmada district of Gujarat on Sunday with much fanfare is likely to irrigate 18 lakh hectares of land in Gujarat, as Narmada will flow to over 9000 villages the PM’s home state.