Medha Patkar ends jal satyagrah as Narmada Dam opens, says struggle to continue

The Narmada Bachao Andolan had launched its jal satyagrah at Chhota Barda Ghat in Barwani district to protest incomplete rehabilitation of dam affected people.

india Updated: Sep 17, 2017 23:51 IST
Ranjan and Neeraj Santoshi
Ranjan and Neeraj Santoshi
Hindustan Times, Bhopal
Sardar Sarovar Dam,Narendra Modi,PM Modi
Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) leader Medha Patkar and other villagers stand in the Narmada river to protest the inaugurating the construction of Sardar Sarovar Dam to mark Prime Minister Narendra Modi birthday. (PTI)

Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) leader Medha Patkar and 36 others affected by the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) in Madhya Pradesh ended their ‘jal satyagrah’ Sunday evening, hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicated one of the dams of the project to the nation in Gujarat.

The dam became a reality 56 years after the then Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru laid its foundation.

Patkar and her supporters had started jal satyagraha at Chhota Barda Ghat, about 350 km southwest of Bhopal on Friday. Although the protest ended at about 6 pm on Sunday, the NBA leaders said they would continue their agitation for proper rehabilitation of the SSP affected people.

“We wish to convey that our struggle will continue. Prime Minister may want to close the chapter, but it is not, since the people of Narmada Valley have not received their full entitlement and not all is lost,” the NBA said in a press release.

“The drama of dedication of Sardar Sarovar Project to the nation on Prime Minister’s birthday was a complete failure. This was evident by the fact that except for Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, no other BJP ruled state’s CM turned up unlike the announcement. About 2000 priests from Varanasi didn’t turn up either to perform aarti despite the announcement. We believe this is a victory of our struggle,” it said.

While Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan congratulated the PM on completion of the project, social activists took to social media to express their anger and anguish. Chouhan congratulated the Prime Minister on Twitter.

Others were not so charitable. Social activist Sachin Kumar Jain tweeted ahead of the PM dedicating the dam to the nation, saying, “Life of about 40000 families of Madhya Pradesh is being annihilated in the name of development.”

One Bhupesh Patidar tweeted, “Birthday of one man caused life in risk for 40000 families.”

Read more: PM Modi dedicates Sardar Sarovar dam to nation on his birthday

Arun Yadav, president of the Madhya Pradesh unit of Congress attacked the PM on SSP issue.

In a statement Yadav said the PM dedicated to the nation an incomplete project. Thus, he cheated not only the country but also Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel whom the PM recalled during his speech.

“The central and state governments conveniently overlooked the unbearable pain and anguish of displaced people in Madhya Pradesh. It seems the way the PM has dedicated the SSP dam he considers himself chief minister of Gujarat who has eyes of the ensuing assembly elections over there”, said Yadav.

First Published: Sep 17, 2017 20:34 IST