After two years of being away from the issues pertaining to the Narmada river development project in Madhya Pradesh, environment activist Medha Patkar has entered the state again to pick up the issues of rehabilitation of the tribals and the agricultural land being destroyed by to the construction of the dam.
In Indore on Tuesday to express solidarity with the activists and conservationists who took ‘Jal Satyagrah’ at Pipliyahana reservoir, Patkar spoke to HT about how she plans to pick up the entire fight for the displaced tribals again and how a change in the power has changed the course of rehabilitation talks with the locals.
“Things have pretty much changed a lot. We were assured and that also in writing that not even an inch of construction would take place before the rehabilitation work is completed. But after the Modi government came to power, the height of the dam was increased to 17 metres on the 17th day. This is clear cut injustice,” said Patkar.
Jal Satyagrah to be launched from Rajghat in Barwani on July 30
Announcing a ‘jal satyagrah’ from Rajghat in Barwani on July 30, Patkar said she is determined to make the government change its course on the issue of Narmada valley development. The last agitation organised under the aegis of Narmada Bachao Andolan was by the residents of Gogalgaon that continued for 35 days from April 1 2015. The agitation came to an end without the NBA gaining any concrete results out of it.
“We will launch an initiative called rally to the valley wherein we will be collecting people from different centres of the state. Artists, environmentalists and activists will be coming from all over the country as well to take part in this satyagrah,” she said.
She added that the new approved construction on the dam is further going to make matters worse for the displaced families. “As per the new approved construction, a total of 214 kms will get submerged along with more than 200 families getting rendered homeless. This is far too big a number for the government to do with,” said Patkar.