The Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) has alleged that many villages in the Narmada valley were facing a threat of submergence but authorities maintain the water level in a dam reservoir is well below its capacity.
The NBA, led by Medha Patkar, has been organising 'Jal Satyagrahs' at various places falling in the reservoir area since Aug 15, alleging that several villages faced the threat of being inundated in backwater due to the increasing water level in the reservoir and the Madhya Pradesh government was not providing adequate compensation to those affected by the Indira Sagar Project (ISP).
But a Narmada Valley Development Authority (NVDA) official said: "The backwater threat is just an illusion, at least for now because the present water level of the reservoir is 254 metres as against the full reservoir level of 262.13 metres, so that there is no threat or danger of backwater in near future. Last year, the ISP reservoir was filled up to 258 metres."
"Moreover, the emergency plan had also been prepared for all reservoirs of the Narmada valley. The plan is aimed at extending all help to the needy families in monsoon, including transportation to safer places, providing food and medical facilities and other basic requirement like shelter, electricity and drinking water," he said.
"The villagers in the reservoir areas have been misled that their villages would be submerged due to the backwater. There is no such threat," he added.
The official said the state government has included all eligible affected families under the resettlement and rehabilitation (R&R) policy and extended help and cash benefits according to its provisions.
However, the NBA has refuted the claims and said that a large number of houses in Donglighat-Jhalwa village in Harda district submerged last year but the affected people were yet to be compensated and provided proper relief and rehabilitation.
It warned that if the state government continued to behave in its "callous and unresponsive manner by denying the oustees their rights under the R&R policy and Article 21 of the constitution, and continued to flout the orders of the high court and the Supreme Court", it would have to face its consequences.
It has also announced that a mega rally of all the oustees of the dams in the Narmada valley would be held in Khandwa October 12.