The New Indian Express, 1 Sep 2017, Indore:Despite a rise in water level following heavy rainfall in the submergence area of Sardar Sarovar Dam on the Narmada, thousands of people in four districts of Madhya Pradesh are still staying put, an official said today.

There is a threat of partial submergence in the districts of Dhar, Barwani, Alirajpur and Khargone in Madhya Pradesh when the water level rises further.

An official of the Narmada Valley Development Authority (NVDA) told PTI today that water level has crossed the danger mark of 123.28 meters, reaching 124.5 meters, at Rajghat village on the banks of Narmada in Barwani district.

“As a precautionary measure we have stopped traffic of heavy vehicles on an old bridge in Rajghat which connects Barwani with Dhar, as the water is now flowing a few feet below it,” the official said.

Despite appeals from the government, people are still living in the areas that would be submerged when the dam is filled to capacity, he said.

However, Narmada Control Authority (NCA) member Afroz Ahmed said, “Every year in August water level of Narmada rises and there is no need to panic. We are prepared to meet any emergency situation.”

The present water level in Sardar Sarovar Dam is about 125 meters, while the optimum level is 138 meters, he said.

Everybody who is eligible for compensation is getting paid, 3,000 temporary houses have been constructed for displaced persons and 88 permanent settlements are ready with necessary amenities, Ahmed added.

According to official figures, 18,386 families across 141 villages in Madhya Pradesh would get affected when the dam is filled to its capacity.

 But Narmada Bachao Andolan activist Amulya Nidhi disputed this. When the dam is filled to capacity, 40,000 families across 192 villages would be affected, he said.

He also alleged that the rehabilitation sites lack basic facilities.

NBA leader Medha Patkar is currently taking out `Narmada Nyaay Yatra’ (justice for Narmada march) demanding proper rehabilitation of displaced families.