1,000 people join Medha Patkar’s fast

Medha PatkarMedha Patkar   | Photo Credit: M_Moorthy

Demand rights for the project-affected

Around 1,000 people have joined the indefinite fast started on August 25 by social activist Medha Patkar. The fast for the Narmada Chunauti Aandolan seeks to highlight the plight of the neglected rights of 32,000 people living on the banks of river Narmada seeking rehabilitation. Ms. Patkar and her supporters are fasting at Chhota Badda village in Madhya Pradesh against the drowning of people on the banks of the Narmada.

Devram Kanera, who is fighting for his rights for the past 35 years, addressed a press conference in the city on Thursday. He said, “The previous Madhya Pradesh government was not interested to deal with this issue, but the present Congress government is supporting us. There are lots of people whose lives are endangered due to the rising water level in the dam. We are being fooled in the name of providing facilities, but they exist only on paper. The destruction of lives, which will be caused due to such measures, should be declared a man-made disaster.”

Sanjay Mangala Gopala, activist and founder of National Alliance of People’s Movement, said, “The governments of Maharashtra and Gujarat are not ready to discuss or work on this issue. The affected people have been told to shift to tin sheds though they gave up thousands of acres of land for the project. In the name of development, the promise to develop a better livelihood for the people living on the banks of Narmada has not been fulfilled.”

Mr. Gopala said the water from Sardar Sarovar Dam was planned to be released in dry regions in Kutch and Saurashtra, but it has still not reached there. He said, “All this water is being sent to big cities and industries.”