The Madhya Pradesh government on Friday said it would not rollback its decision to increase the height of the Omkareshwar dam, despite 27 activists standing waist-deep in the Omkareshwar backwaters to protest against the move.
In a press statement, chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said his government would not obstruct the supply of water to needy farmers on account of "protests by a handful of people".
Tribals and Dalit farmers of Gogalgaon and neighbouring villages, which are nearly 80 km from the district headquarters, have been staging a Jal Satyagraha since last Saturday to protest the government's decision to increase the height of the dam from 189 to 191 metres.
The protestors have refused to budge till the administration agrees to grant them land or compensate them adequately before displacing them.
Chouhan said the state government had sanctioned `153 crore aid to 6,329 families affected by the dam and an additional `225 crore in 2012.
The government had earlier defended its move by claiming that it would enhance irrigation and power generation capacities of the region and benefit the farmers.
However, state convener of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Alok Agrawal said the agitation would be on until the government rehabilitated those displaced due to the increase in the height of the dam.
When asked about the chief minister's claims of compensation, he said the state government was running a "misinformation campaign about the rehabilitation" under the dam project.
He said: "Some of the displaced families haven't got land as per the central government's scheme, while some others were fobbed off with barren land or land which has been encroached upon."
In 2012, when the government decided to increase the height of the dam, the NBA and several farmers had protested the move.
However, the protests came to an end when the government announced compensation for those who would be displaced by the project.