Jal Satyagrah enters 21st day, official meets farmers

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Ghogalgaon (Khandwa)
  • Updated: May 01, 2015 22:22 IST

With Jal Satyagrah entering 21st day on Friday, the Madhya Pradesh government made its first serious move to end the agitation.

Punasa tehsildar Mukesh Kashiv on Friday met farmers and villagers who are standing in Omkareshwar dam and tried to convince them to accept land from the land bank.

The state government and the Narmada Valley Development Authority (NVDA) had earlier proposed to give the affected people land from the land bank.

According to the information from the jal satyagrahis, during an hour-long meeting the officer also assured them that plots will be given to them.

However, the farmers rejected the suggestion and made it clear that they only want land that can match with their fertile land.

Villagers claimed that the land which the government had offered to them is either encroached by others or unfertile and is not suitable for agriculture.

"As per the state government's revenue department letter dated May 28, 2001, the land which was reserved for the rehabilitation of oustees by Narmada Valley Development Authority (NVDA) is either encroached by others or not suitable for farming," the farmers claimed.

"When we went to the land, we found that there is massive difference between what we have currently and what the government is offering us as compensation in terms of fertility," jal satyagrahis said.

Here at Ghogalgaon and adjoining villages, anyone can judge the fertility of the land by the fact that thickness of black alluvium soil is about 25 to 30 feet. The land which was proposed for us is uneven and full of gravels, the jal satyagrahis added.

Farmers demanded that either the government compensate them with suitable cultivable land or give them money according to current guidelines so that they can purchase land as per their requirement at some other part of the state.

However, the farmers said that they were open for talks with the government.

"We have already tabled our grievances before Narmada valley minister Lal Singh Arya, chief secretary, state government and chief of NVDA. Now it is the state government's turn to move forward for the betterment of farmers," said the agitating farmers.

Meanwhile, on being contacted Renu Pant, commissioner, field and rehabilitation, NVDA, said maximum villagers have been rehabilitated and shifted to other places.

"Only 213 villagers from Ghogalgaon are protesting the state government's move. They don't want to leave the land, even though we have shown them some other land several times. They are not even giving their consents or cooperating with us," Pant said.

About rainy season and the fear that many villagers feel that water may enter their village, Pant said it is of the future and cannot be discussed now.

"Till date no house has been submerged after the dam water level was increased from 189 to 191 meters. Not only Ghogalgaon or surrounding areas, but rain water creates havoc everywhere and it can be control through opening dam sluice gates in rainy season," she added.

Earlier, all the farmers and villagers celebrated International Labour Day standing in the water.

They also recalled story of how thousands of labourers fought for their rights.

Read:Ghogalgaon Jal Satyagarhis still await MP govt's response

Read:Determined Ghogalgaon residents fight for survival; many mull suicide

Read:Political parties trying to hijack Jal Satyagraha, feel Ghogalgaon villagers

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