Barwani (Madhya Pradesh): Over 250 families from Pipri village, one of 65 villages in Barwani district that were submerged in Sardar Sarovar backwater, are still waiting for survey and complete rehabilitation. The pain of these families, displaced from ancestral land, is yet to subside.
The dam-affected people said that more than 250 families of Pipri village need to get land and houses. The government and the district administration would have to give residential plots to them. They claimed that earlier Pipri village was declared out of water by the Narmada Valley Development Authority and Narmada Control Authority at the old backwater level, which was taken up to 143.21 meters. But due to heavy rain on September 16–17, water released from the dams constructed in the upper region led to sudden rise in Sardar Sarover Dam backwater causing flood-like situation in their village and damaging their houses.
Sharing the plight of villagers, Narmada Bachao Andolan activist Rahul Yadav said that even today, the village had not been rehabilitated as per the verdict of the Narmada Tribunal, Supreme Court orders of 2000, 2005, and 2017, and the rehabilitation policy of the state.
Villagers are facing heavy losses as there is no fodder for the cattle. Many people have become homeless after the recent flood.
Adding salt to the injury, the government is not ready to listen to their plight. The displaced people of this village should first be rehabilitated in a legal manner, and then the water should be filled. Santosh Yadav, a farmer, claimed that in the past the water level was 138 metres. This kept our village out of submergence. However, this time there was a flood and the water-level crossed 142 metres thus submerging the village.
We want that an assessment of damage and compensation be provided in addition to separate settlements. Yadav claimed that many families living in the island villages that developed after a sudden rise in the water level. These people too have not been rehabilitated.
Surrounded by water, these people are fighting for their rights. At present, the water level in Narmada is receding slowly. The flood has left a trail of destruction in villages of Narmada belt. Thousands of trees on the banks of the Narmada have been uprooted. The banks of Narmada, once covered with greenery are now deprived of green cover.