Social activist Medha Patkar on Monday claimed that Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) volunteers in Barwani district were being threatened by sand mafia for taking up the issue of illegal sand mining in the submergence area of Sardar Sarovar dam.
She said that the activists were, however, determined to fight for the river.
Speaking to HT, Patkar said some people visited the houses of NBA volunteers two days back in Barwani and threatened them with dire consequences if the association continued with raising the issue of illegal sand mining.
Patkar said they have received threats earlier too from the sand mafia in one or the other form.
“But such threats won’t deter us from fighting for saving Narmada. The illegal sand mining has been going on in the Narmada valley, especially the submergence area, where actually the state government should not have given the sand mines on lease. We filed a case in the high court last year and in July this year. A part of the case was transferred to NGT,” she said.
The submergence area of Sardar Sarovar dam falls in four districts that include Barwani, Dhar, Alirajpur and Khargone
The case filed by the NBA is being heard in the high court since last year.
Two major issues have come up during the hearings. First, whether the state government can grant mining leases in submergence area, which is under Narmada Valley Development Authority (NVDA).
The second issue pertains to the environmental concerns arising out of mining activities in the submergence area.
The high court will deal with the first issue, while the second issue pertaining to environment was referred to the National Green Tribunal in July this year.