Fisherfolk Stage 'Jalsamadhi' Protest Against Solar Power Project At Jayakwadi Dam, Seek Cancellation

Fisherfolk Stage 'Jalsamadhi' Protest Against Solar Power Project At Jayakwadi Dam, Seek Cancellation

The protest saw the participation of men, women, children, the elderly, and disabled individuals from fishing families. The reservoir echoed with loud slogans against the solar power project as the protesters vehemently opposed it. The agitation continued until 5 pm.

Manish GajbhiyeUpdated: Thursday, February 08, 2024, 08:09 PM IST
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Fisherfolk Stage 'Jalsamadhi' Protest Against Solar Power Project At Jayakwadi Dam, Seek Cancellation |

Thousands of fisherfolk gathered at the Nathsagar reservoir on Wednesday, staging a 'jalsamadhi' protest in Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar. They, along with their families, immersed themselves in the water for five hours, demanding the cancellation of the proposed floating solar power project on the Jayakwadi dam.

The protest saw the participation of men, women, children, the elderly, and disabled individuals from fishing families. The reservoir echoed with loud slogans against the solar power project as the protesters vehemently opposed it. The agitation continued until 5 pm.

After discussions with Tehsildar and the Executive Engineer of Jayakwadi, the protest was temporarily suspended for 15 days. The officials provided a written assurance that they would meet with the Collector within ten days and present a proposal to cancel the project. The Jayakwadi Fishermen Committee, represented by President Bajrang Limbore, Bhagwan Ghate, Raghunath Ichchaya, Ashok Barde, Motilal Ghungase, and Ramesh Gavane, announced this development.

The proposed solar power plant in Jayakwadi Dam has faced strong opposition from fishermen who rely on the dam for their livelihood. The fisherfolks, predominantly from Kahar, Bhoi, and Bhil communities, fear that the project's construction on the dam will lead to starvation for thousands of families. Despite earlier protests, a hunger strike, and appeals, the government did not make a definitive decision to cancel the project, prompting the fishermen to resort to the 'jalsamadhi' movement.

During the agitation, Tehsildar Sarang Chavan, Jayakwadi Executive Engineer Prashant Jadhav, Sub Divisional Police Officer Siddeshwar Bhore, and Sanjay Deshmukh engaged in discussions and urged the protestors to withdraw. However, the protesters insisted on a written assurance before ending their agitation.

The suspension of the protest came after Tehsildar and Executive Engineer provided a written commitment to present a proposal to cancel the project within the next ten days.

During the movement, several members of the Kahar community participated, and due to standing in water in the scorching sun, eight women and two men protestors fainted.

They were promptly admitted to the Paithan hospital in an ambulance. NCP MLA Nilesh Lanke of Parner visited the movement and expressed his support, emphasising the potential impact on the livelihoods and homes of many families. Lanke vowed to take the initiative to cancel the project, highlighting the eco-sensitive nature of the Jayakwadi dam and its sanctuary.

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