The Times Of India, Aug 4 2017, Mumbai: Twelve people, including 62-year-old Medha Patkar of Narmada Bachao Andolan, have been sitting on fast at Nimar in Madhya Pradesh’s Barwani district for eight days now, seeking proper rehabilitation of the nearly 40,000 families whose homes and lands will be submerged once the water in the Sardar Sarovar Dam is allowed to rise to its full height of 138.68 metres.

The gates of the dam were shut as early as June 17, and the water could now spread in the flat plains of the area, submerging this very fertile region.

M. Sudha, who had joined the protest and was on her way home to Bengaluru on Thursday by train, told TOI, “This is land with lush vegetation, crops on every field, flat land with dark soil that is obviously very fertile. Your heart will cry when you see it and think that it is all soon to be submerged. What have been set up for rehabilitation are tin sheds,” she said.

“Those given plots have 90 feet x 60 feet area — one family that I stayed with while I was there had about 40 heads of cattle! How will they see to lands for grazing the animals? What the government is offering is only the plots and, from what we saw there, the same plot was sometimes given to two different people.”

In February this year, the Supreme Court ruled that rehabilitation of all people should be done ahead of July 31, so that no one is affected when the water rises.

Activist and politician Prashant Bhushan and soil scientist Sanjay Parikh later managed to convince the court that the rehabilitation was far from complete.

The apex court then withdrew its directive that the area be emptied by July 31. The matter will be taken up again in the Supreme Court on August 8.

Meanwhile, activists are also concerned that the health of Medha Patkar is deteriorating, as the fast entered its eighth day. The government is still to begin any talks. “There is just no concern. The government behaves like it does not need to engage,” Sudha said.

Union water resources minister Uma Bharti was in a meeting when TOI attempted to reach her. Attempts to reach ministry of water resources secretary Amarjit Singh also proved futile.