The 16-day-old Jal Satyagraha, organized by farmers displaced by Omkareshwar Dam ended on Monday. The state government accepted all the demands of the agitationists.
The displaced farmers were demanding reduction of water level in the dam, land for land and monetary compensation. "We have agreed to bring down the water level of dam to 189 metres and to compensate the farmers' land. It will, however, affect irrigation in 20,000 hectares of land and generation of 120 megawatts electricity," said Chauhan.
"The Supreme Court had given the go ahead to increase the water level to 196.5 metres, but we have reduced it for the time being," he said.
Protesting villagers display their feet during the ‘Jal Satyagraha’ or ‘insistence on truth by water’ at Ghogal village, in Khandwa area, in Madhya Pradesh. AP photo
The Madhya Pradesh government has also formed a three-member ministerial panel to look into the matter. The panel comprises of ministers Kailash Vijayvargiya, Vijay Shah and K L Aggarwal.
At Ghogalgaon, satyagrahis erupted in joy as soon as the news of the state government agreeing to their demands reached there. From 11.30 am, all the 51 agitationists, who were standing in water for last 16 days came out one by one.
With pain and tiredness writ large on their face, they were immediately attended by the lone doctor present there. Tea was served and they all sang victory song.
“We will fight, we will keep on fighting and we will win,” shouted Ram Bharti.
“The government changed its stand under national and international pressure but we don’t think it would back out,” said Alok Agarwal, who was leading the movement under the banner of Narmada Bachao Andolan.
“The government has changed its stand for the time being, given the media pressure,” said a government official. “The government also feared that any casualty during the agitation may give an advantage to the Congress, at least in the Nimad region.”
"It is a victory of democracy. I am tired but we will once again launch the agitation till the government concedes our demand," said Krishna bai, 65, sitting with a wet saree wrapped around. 'We are going to convert this place as a symbol for our future satyagraha," said Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) activist Alok Agarwal.
Earlier, a two-member team of union energy ministry visited the site of agitation alongwith local MP Arun Yadav.