Khandwa: NBA chief, villagers start 'Jal Satyagraha’

Khandwa: At a time when the entire country is preparing for Diwali celebrations, villagers from Kamankheda village started 'Jal Satyagraha' along with Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) chief Alok Agrawal from Friday.

Villagers tabled their demands before the state government which includes lowering of Omkareshwar Dam height to 193 metres as well as complete rehabilitation of 2,000 families from different villages and only after that authority can fill the water in the dam.

Notably, authorities started filling dam from October 21 as a result of that many villages turned into islands and connectivity got snapped.

Coordinator of the NBA, Alok Agarwal said that the state government has all of a sudden decided to fill Omkareshwar dam to 193 metres. As a result of which, water has started filling in dozens of villages and the people of these villages haven’t been rehabilitated yet, said Agarwal.

“According to supreme court ruling the level of dam water cannot be increased till rehabilitation process has been completed. Officials of the department have given false affidavits in supreme court that rehabilitation process has been completed. If it is true then how come villagers are still residing there,” asked Agrawal.

This is not the first time when NBA and villagers raised objection on the dam’s height and staged Jal Satyagraha Earlier, NBA had staged a Jal Satyagraha for 17 days in Ghoghalgaon in 2012 and another Satyagraha for 32 days in 2015.

Residents of Gogalgaon village, and neighboring hamlets, remain immersed in the waters of the Narmada River, as the government has not yet rehabilitated them as promised.

The protest concerns the government decision to raise the water-level of the Omkareshwar Dam, a project funded mostly by the World Bank. The residents of low-lying villages, who have been affected by the resultant flooding, feel that sufficient assistance has not been provided to them by the Government of India.

According to Agrawal, about 500 families haven’t got residential plots till date. About 400 families are yet to get the compensation for their lands besides hundreds who haven’t received any compensation in any form.

Replying to a question Agrawal said NBA will also file a perjury suit in the supreme court as the senior government officials have filed false affidavits. However, first priority is to save thousands of villagers and their belongings getting submerged and get them the compensation according to the SC rulings, he added.

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