Ghogalgaon wins, Govt agrees to bring down Omkareshwar dam water level | bhopal | Hindustan Times
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Ghogalgaon wins, Govt agrees to bring down Omkareshwar dam water level

Bowing before the Jal Satyagraha of a determined village on the banks of Narmada, the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government on Monday announced that water level of Omkareshwar dam would be leveled at 189 meters and land-for-land compensation would be given to the affected people.

bhopal Updated: Sep 11, 2012 13:42 IST
HT Correspondent

Bowing before the Jal Satyagraha of a determined village on the banks of Narmada, the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government on Monday announced that water level of Omkareshwar dam would be leveled at 189 meters and land-for-land compensation would be given to the affected people.

Around 51 villagers of Ghogalgaon, 55 km from Khandwa, had been standing in neck-deep water of the Narmada river for the last 17 days to protest the government’s decision to raise water levels so as to be able to generate adequate hydropower from the 520 MW Omkareshwar project and extend irrigation facilities to an additional 20,000 hectares of land.

The announcement sent out a wave of jubilation among the protestors. However, those desirous of land would have to return the compensation amount, which the state government had directly deposited in bank accounts.

State industries minister Kailash Vijayvargiya and tribal welfare minister Vijay Shah had been assigned by Chouhan to talk to the protestors two days back and assured them of finding a solution to their demands if they agreed to call off their satyagraha. However, the villagers led by the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) did not budge from their stand, rather submerged position in the river.

The chief minister also announced the constitution of a five-member committee to look into the affected persons’ demands and grievances. The committee includes Vijayvargiya, Shah, minister of state for Narmada Valley Development KL Agrawal, principal secretary Narmada Valley Development Authority Rajneesh Vaishya and commissioner, Indore division, Prabhat Parashar.

The chief minister reiterated on Monday that the affected persons had got “adequate compensation from state government and to avoid any irregularity the amount was deposited in their bank accounts directly.” He added that the decision to bring water level down would affect power generation bringing it down by 120 MW and the farmers would also be affected as 20,000 hectares of land would not be irrigated as a consequence. “We have reduced the water level, but power generation and irrigation are as important as rehabilitation. We need to take a balanced approach,” said Chouhan on the sidelines of the Commissioner-Collector conference in Bhopal on Monday evening.

NBA activist Alok Agarwal, who led the agitation, said, “Our stand stands corroborated. The government changed its stand under national and international pressure. We are satisfied with the government’s decision.”

Sources, however, told HT that the government changed its stand for the time being, given the constant media pressure. “Any casualty during the agitation could have been disastrous and would have given an advantage to the Congress at least in the Nimad region,” the source said.

Incidentally, Chouhan’s announcement came on the eve of the BJP’s state executive meet, which is to begin at Khandwa on Tuesday.

Timeline:

August 25 -Jal Satyagrah starts with 51 farmers standing in the water till their demands were met

August 26- The water level reaches the neck of the protestors

August 31 - NBA organizes protest at Khandwa collector Neeraj Dubey’s residence and demand that dam’s water level be reduced

September 6 - Asian Human Rights Commission sent a letter to CM MP, Prime Minister, NHRC to intervene into the matter.

September 6-Actvists protest at Madhya Pradesh Bhawan in New Delhi.

September 8 -- CM hold talks with NBA activists

September 8 - Industry minister Kailash Vijayvargiya sent to Ghogalgaon and seeks 48 hours time to look into their demands

September 8-Arun Yadav, local MP meet Union ministers and a team was formed to enquire over the whole issue

September -9 NBA activists decides to write a letter to President.

September 10-CM accepts demands