Hundreds of people affected by the Sardar Sarovar Project in Narmada Valley will launch “Jeevan Adhikar Satyagraha”, an indefinite sit-in, at Rajghat in Barwani district on August 12 to protest the increase in height of the dam, allegedly without completing the rehabilitation process.
The sit-in will be preceded by a foot march that will start from Khalghat in Barwani on August 6 and culminate at Rajghat on August 12. Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) leader Medha Patkar will lead the march and the indefinite sit-in, an NBA release said.
According to the NBA, the process of increasing height of the Sardar Sarovar Dam from 122 metres to 138.68 metres is continuing and due to this 245 villages will face total submergence as backwaters of the dam will spread up to 214 kms jeopardizing the lives of thousands of families in the region.
The NBA has further said that every issue related to the dam is an issue related to development - the issue of grabbing thousands of hectares of land, hollow commitments of rehabilitation left half way and corruption, jeopardizing the culture and environment of the Narmada Valley, diversion of land and water worth crores to corporations against peasants and other poor.
Saying that these questions are in resonance with the common people and workers of the country, the NBA has urged all concerned citizens to join the protest.
Already, a number of activists from Mumbai have pledged support to the protest and will be joining the affected people in Barwani.
“We strongly condemn the apathy of central government and the governments of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra for not completing the process of rehabilitation and going ahead with increasing the height of the dam,” the activists have said.
They include Uday Mehta, Shashi Sonawane, Jatin Desai, Sukla Sen, Ramesh Pimple, Anil Anand, among others.