The backwater formed by damming a tributary of the Narmada river in Madhya Pradesh’s Khandwa district has snapped connectivity between the villages, say affected villagers.
Villagers from Ghogalgaon and neighbouring villages, located around 300km from Bhopal, said flooding of the villages after the government decided to increase the water level of the Omkareshwar dam has badly affected connectivity between the villages.
The 'pagdandis' or narrow paths between the Ghogalgaon and its neighbouring villages, including Kamankheda, Kelva Khurd, Ricchfal, Nandiya Khedi, Suktapur and Bada Kelva villages have been submerged.
A small bridge that the villagers used to cross the river has been submerged, villagers said.
Keshav Raware, 42, a farmer from Ekhand, who owns five acres land in Kelva Bujurg village, about 3km from his village on the opposite bank of the Kaveri river, now has to use a small dingy to go to neighbouring villages.
“Every day I have to pay Rs 10 to cross the river. There is no other option,” Raware said.
Villagers from Kamankheda said the person employed to operate a boat provided by the Narmada Hydroelectric Development Corporation Ltd (NHDCL.) to cross backwater was allegedly charging money from them.
Nandkishore Mane, 56, another villagers said when the water-level was below the bridge, he had to travel just 2km to reach his farm.
But, now with the bridge submerged under 4ft of water, he has to either cross the river using a dinghy or take a 17km detour to reach his farm on the opposite bank.
Sitting MLA from the area, Lokendra Singh Tomar, who hails from Ricchfal village, about 8 km from agitation site, said with the rise in the water-level in the river had submerged the bridge.
He, however, rubbished the villagers’ claims of being asked to pay money to cross the river.
“After bridge submerged, the NHDCL provided villagers a boat,” Tomar said, adding he will inquire into the matter take it up with the concerned authorities.