For the last 20 days, 35-year-old Jagdish Kadwadi’s has been following a different day-to-day routine.
Since April 11, everyday he stands waist-deep in the backwaters of Omkareshwar dam from 6 am to 9pm — a time when most of the villagers usually call it a night.
Kadwadi is not alone as his brother Ramesh Kadwadi, 33, and 30 odd villagers have been doing the same at Goghalgaon as a part of Jal Satyagarha against state government’s decision to raise water level of Omkareshwar Dam in Narmada valley from 189 to 191 metres.
They are being supported by hundreds of villagers from four neighbouring villages namely Toki, Kammankheda, Bada Kelva and Ekdhan in what they call 'unconstitutional submergence'.
With a rise in the water-level as many as 32 villages were submerged under the backwaters in the Nimar region.
Around 125 families alone in Ghogalgaon, which is barely one-and-a-half kilometer away from the submerged area, have been affected by the government decision to raise the dam’s water level.
The villagers said that they are still awaiting rehabilitation even though the water has touched their villages.
They claimed that no prior announcement of acquisition and rehabilitation were made which is a flagrant violation of the Rehabilitation Policy.
The agitators are adamant not to give up this time and their morale seemed high.
"I don’t want to leave his village at this stage of my life. The state government’s decision is inhuman and unconstitutional," said 80-year-old Mojelal Dalia from Ekhand village, who participated in the previous 2012 Jal Satyagraha held at the same village on similar lines.
2012 - First Jal Satyagrah (August 25 to September 10 at Ghogalgaon): It was the first-of-its-kind agitation in Nemar region in which 51 farmers from Khandwa district stood in neck-deep water of Omkareshwar dam for 17 days at a stretch demanding rehabilitation. The agitation drew international attention. In May 2013, a package of Rs 212 crore was announced for the people affected by the dam. However, people were not happy with the compensation.
2013 - Second Jal Satyagraha (Sept 1 - Sept 10): Taking a cue from Ghogalgaon farmers, people from three districts, including Harda, Dewas and Khandwa, sat on a Jal Satyagraha to protest against the increasing the height of the Indira Sagar Dam on the Narmada river.
2015 - Third Jal Satyagraha (April 11 - ongoing): 30-odd oustees from Ghogalgaon and four neighbouring village are on a Jal Satyagraha demanding the government to revoke their decision or rehabilitate them.