As the 51 project-affected persons in Ghongalgaon village of Khandwa district have continued their protest standing in chin-deep water, a delegation of the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) on Friday met the principal secretary of Narmada Valley Development Authority (NVDA) Rajneesh Vaish and demanded early resolution of issues.
The delegation demanded that the water level in Omkareshwar dam and the Indira Sagar dam be reduced to 189 metre and 260 metre level respectively as the agriculture lands of the affected persons, who have not yet been rehabilitated, was drowning due to increasing of water levels.
The 51 persons have been protesting since last 7 days by standing in water demanding reduction of water level. The NBA delegation alerted the principal secretary that if the water level rose further in the reservoirs, it might prove fatal for these protestors.
The principal secretary told the delegation that the Khandwa district administration and the National Hydroelectric Development Corporation (NHDC) have been directed to resolve issues related to them immediately. The issues related to NVDA and those pending at chief minister’s level would also be looked into immediately, the PS assured the delegation, Alok Agrawal of NBA told HT.
Support protests continue:
Meanwhile, protests to support the cause of project-affected persons continued across the state. At Khandwa, the activists of NBA demonstrated before the residence of the district collector. Organisations like Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Udyog Sangathan, MP Mahila Manch, Bhopal Sanskritik Manch, All India Revolutionary Students’ Organisation, Communist Party of India (Marxist) and others demonstrated in Bhopal. In Indore, Rupankan, Khedut Majdoor Chetana Sangh, Jan Vikas Kendra, Manasi, All India Trade Union Congress, and others demonstrated.
No risk to life: Govt
Meanwhile, in an official release, the principal secretary of NVDA Rajneesh Vaish has said that the filling of Indira Sagar and Omkareshwar reservoirs pose no threat to human lives. The filling is being done gradually keeping in view of the safety and security of human lives on top priority. The related district administrations have also been put on alert with a contingency plan to extend help in emergency situations, the PS said. He has added that no Project Affected Family (PAF) would be deprived of rights under rehabilitation policy and their grievances would be heard sympathetically.
The MP Human Rights Commission ( MPHRC) has recommended that the water level in the Indira Sagar and Omkareshwar dams should be maintained as per the Supreme Court directives and must not be raised further.
The commission has stressed for immediate steps to release water that is gathering in the dam, thereby posing risk to lives of dam oustees. The commission has also said that as the water released from Indira Sagar goes into Omkareshwar Dam, water must be released from both the dams in such a way that their levels are maintained.
Taking cognisance of the dam oustees standing in protest amid rising water levels that threaten existence of the villages, the commission has made the recommendations that have been sent to the chief secretary for implementation. Subsequently, a complete report on the matter has to be submitted in a fortnight by the state government.