“We are not begging for compensation. We are demanding our rights and entitlements which government provided as part of the Narmada Water Dispute Tribunal or Supreme Court reiterated and confirmed and various policies of state governments,” said Devram Kanera, senior activist of Narmada Bachao Andolan.
He was joined by hundreds of farmers, workers, fishworkers and activists at the day long protest by Narmada Bachao Andolan demanding that Narmada Control Authority refuse permission to fill the full reservoir level, 139 mts of Sardar Sarovar Dam.
Annie Raja of the National Federation of Indian Women speaking in solidarity with the NBA said current government is looting the natural resources and handing it over to corporations for profit and sacrificing the rights of the people in the name of development.
Bhupender Rawat, farmer leader and Convener, Jan Sangharsh Vahini said the farm land of the Narmada valley are being flooded for what, to irrigate land in Gujarat. But unfortunately, even that is not happening and water is being given to industries and car factories. How many more farmers will have to sacrifice their land and fields for corporate greed, asked Rawat.
Later in the day a delegation led by Vimal Bhai of Matu Jan Sangathan met the Secretary, Jalshakti Ministry, U P Singh who is also the Secretary to Narmada Control Authority which was to meet today. Vimal Bhai along with NBA representatives emphasised that the Sardar Sarovar Dam should not be allowed to fill till 139 mts, full reservoir level.
They also insisted that 32,000 families in 172 villages still need to be rehabilitated satisfactorily and the rising waters are threatening their life and livelihood. Urgent need to complete the R&R. They further asked that until that happens let the gates of the Sardar Sarovar Dam be lowered so that water recedes from the villages of the Narmada.
Secretary didn’t have a word of assurance or even action to the delegation. He kept repeating the same official line that R&R is complete as per NCA. We urged him to ask the Govt of Madhya Pradesh and check our claims because even today 8000 cases in Grievance Redressal Authority are pending.