Bhopal: Patkar, dam-affected people on hunger strike for rehab
Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Patkar along with Sardar Sarovar dam-affected people from Barwani and Dhar districts started a three-day hunger strike in Bhopal on Wednesday demanding rehabilitation of the 7000 homeless.
Patkar said the height of the dam was increased from 122 to 139 metres and now the gates could be closed anytime, which would allow more water storage in the submergence area.
“Even at 122-metre height, many people in the submergence are getting affected when the water level rises due to rainfall or flood,” she said.
Patkar termed the government’s complete rehabilitation claim as false and said 7000 families from Madhya Pradesh, 1200 from Maharashtra and 300 from Gujarat are yet to get relief.
The Narmada Bachao Andolan also demands making public the report of justice SS Jha Commission, which was set up by the high court in 2008 to probe the allegations of nearly 2,000 fake land sale registries, corruption in rehabilitation sites and other issues related to oustees of the Sardar Sarovar Dam Project in Alirajpur, Dhar, Khargone and Barwani districts.
“But the state government is not making it public. The government wants to table it first in the state legislative assembly, arguing that the commission was constituted under commissions of inquiry act, which mandates its submission in the state assembly,” she said.
She alleged the copy of the report was not provided to her despite being a petitioner in the case.
“How can we respond on the action-taken report of the state government on Jha report, which the government has to submit according to Supreme Court directions by May 25?” she said.
Patkar demanded action against the officials involved in the fake registry cases.
“The Sardar Sarovar dam rehabilitation scam is big, to the tune of Rs 1000 to 1,500 crore. If the Jha report is made public, we will come to know the extent of this scam in black and white,” she said.
On modus operandi of the scam, Patkar said the state had decided to give Rs 5.5 lakh instead of 5 acre land to the affected people. She said the affected people were asked to get half of this amount (Rs 5 .5 lakh) and the rest they would get after showing the registry of the 5 acre land. She said many people got half the amount and didn’t show the registry.
“But without their knowledge, fake registries were shown to claim the rest of the amount,” she said.