BHOPAL: Over 1500 people from 178 submerged villages located in the backwaters of Sardar Sarovar Dam in four districts of Madhya Pradesh marched to state capital Bhopal on Saturday, demanding compensation and rehabilitation.
The residents of the villages (submerged due to the Dam in Gujarat being filled up to full reservoir level) located in Dhar, Barwani, Alirajpur and Khargone districts of West MP first sat on protest at the Shahjahani Park, but later shifted to stage dharna on the main road outside the Narmada Valley Development Authority (NVDA) office in Arera Hills area.
The Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) leader Medha Patkar who led the protests went inside the NVDA office later to hold discussions with officials. The marathon discussions continued up till now.
According to ex-MLA Dr Sunilam, who is also the convener of the National Alliance for Peoples Movement (NAPM) “the indefinite protests will continue outside the NVDA office till the state government gives a written assurance and timeline for proper compensation and rehabilitation of the 32,000 families affected by the filling of the dam till the full reservoir level in Gujarat.”
“I hope the MP CM Kamal Nath is now free from the Investors Summit and the Jhabua assembly by-election and has time to visit the submerged villages in the backwaters of the Sardar Sarovar Dam,” Dr Sunilam told The New Indian Express.
The indefinite protest is being led by NBA leader Medha Patkar, who has been fighting for the last 34 years, initially against the construction of the dam and now for proper rehabilitation and compensation for the population displaced by the dam.
The protest is expected to continue for next few days in Bhopal, until the state government officials and the protesters agree in written on the next steps.
Patkar along with other members of the ongoing movement are likely to meet the NVDA Principal Secretary on November 18 to continue the dialogue on pending issues.
According to latest, but unconfirmed reports, the NVDA officials have refused to give anything in writing to the protesters, owing to which the indefinite protests will continue in Bhopal on Sunday as well.