Over 50 tribal farmers in MP began Jal Satyagraha on Saturday on their fields, which have been flooded by the Omkareshwar dam water, till the district administration compensates them with adequate money or alternate land at a safer place.
The dam on the Narmada has been raised to 91 metres and the raise has caused the river water to enter the fields in Gogalgaon, about 80 km from Khandwa. The farmers are now sitting in knee-deep water, carrying placards "Vijay Ya Veergati."
Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) leader Chittraroopa Palit, who is at Gogalgaon, said about 500 farmers, who own less than five acres, were the worst hit by the increase in the dam height.
She told HT that most farmers had been given compensation of Rs 2 lakh per acre in 2006. But they had returned the money on the assurance by the Grievance Redressal Authority that they would be given land if they returned the money.
"The land given by the authorities to the farmers is either non-productive, or on the side of nullahs and in many cases, it has been encroached. So it is not possible for them to cultivate these fields. Now the farmers have no money, no land and the land they own is getting submerged," Palit said.
Sadashiv Rajaram, who is taking part in the satyagraha, said that he had been given compensation for the four acre land in 2006, But, he returned the amount and is now demanding a piece of land in exchange.
"We want the land of our choice and the government should buy it for us. The compensation given is not enough," he said.
Suku Bai of neighbouring Kamankhera village said that the land she had been allotted by the authorities in lieu of her 2.5 acre of field was barren.
She is demanding a cultivable land, measuring up to the one that is submerged.
Meanwhile, the police force has been deployed 1km from the agitation site. The villagers have blocked the road leading to the village with a log.