Protests in Madhya Pradesh as PM dedicates dam to nation

Bhopal : Protests were held in several parts of Madhya Pradesh on Sunday, seeking rehabilitation of families affected by the Sardar Sarovar Dam, which was dedicated to the nation by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) leader Medha Patkar, has been standing in waist-deep water of Narmada in Barwani district for last three-days for what she called rehabilitation of 40,000 families displaced by the SSD in Madhya Pradesh.

However, she ended her three-day long Jalsatyagraha on Sunday evening at Barwani district of the state.

“I have just suspended my protest,” Patkar said over phone from Barwani.

“We are keeping a close watch on the situation and will intensify our stir in future, if needed, for rehabilitation of SSD oustees,” Patkar said.

“I have come to know that today people protested in other states of the country for the sake of SSD oustees. Due to our struggle, the chief ministers of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Rajasthan didn’t attend the SSD dedication function of Modi,” she claimed.

Hours after the prime minister’s SSD dedication function, CPM leader Subhashini Ali led a demonstration here, demanding that the 40,000 families affected by the reservoir be rehabilitated, the party’s Bhopal district secretary Pushan Bhattacharya said

The CPM staged similar protests in other districts of the state and shouted slogans “Modi sarkar hosh mein aayo” (wake up Modi government), he said.

In Khargone district’s Navadataudi village, some people affected by the dam tonsured their head demanding rehabilitation. They also staged Jalsatyagraha by standing in Narmada river for some hours, member of local Kewat Samaj’s (fishermen community) Nagesh Kewat said.

“When Modi dedicated SSD project to the nation on his 67th birthday, Patkar along with 36 people affected by the dam were standing in the water of Narmada at Chota Barda area in Madhya Pradesh’s Barwani district for the third day today,” her aide Rahul Yadav said.

He said the NBA leader wants that 40,000 families affected by the SSD on Narmada river, in Madhya Pradesh’s Barwani, Khargone, Alirajpur and Dhar districts should be rehabilitated at the earliest.

Yadav, who is also an NBA activist, said that as the gates of the SSD were closed to fill the water to the crest, the life of 40,000 families living in the reservoir’s backwater is under severe threat.

He said the NBA will continue its struggle for rehabilitation of the oustees.

Earlier, Patkar had resorted to an indefinite hunger strike between July 27 and August 12 in Dhar district for rehabilitation of the dam oustees.

The NBA was protesting against the construction of SSD for more than three decades.

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