Hindustan Times, Sept 17 2016, Barwani: Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar spoke for only 10 minutes after launching his Nasha Mukta Bharat Abhiyan here on Friday, but it was enough to gladden the hearts of the die-hard Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) activists.

NBA leader Medha Patkar had invited Nitish to launch his campaign against liquor which was billed as an ‘anti-dam, anti-liquor’ event. Patkar is sitting on a ‘satyagraha’ for the last 45 days without much success as there is little public support and the administration is also not taking the agitation seriously.

The show was spoilt by heavy rain, and the long speeches given by NBA activists from neighbouring districts.

Addressing a crowd of around 2,500 people in pouring rain, Nitish spoke against big dams, the submergence of fertile land due to dams on Naramda river and for the protection of Jal, Jangal and Jameen – all core issues of the NBA.

He lauded the work of rights of the dam oustees, mainly tribals, being done by the NBA for the last 32 years. “Big dams lead to siltation, and we are facing it in Patna,” Nitish said, adding that he was all for development, but with justice. “Progress does not mean destroying the environment.”

Nitish spoke out against the displacement of tribals due to the dams. “Rehabilitation does not mean uprooting the people from their environment.”

Madhya Pradesh should not be made into a ‘Madya’ (Liquor) Pradesh, Nitish said, in what appeared to be a dig at chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who faced criticism in the past for opening too many liquor shops. “Domestic violence has come down in the state and there has been economic progress,” Nitish said to assert the positives of liquor ban in Bihar.

Patkar in her address attacked Narendra Modi and his policies. Many of her supporters shouted, “Modi Hosh Mey Aao, Hosh Mey Aao (Modi regain your senses),” as she addressed them.

BIhar chief minister shown black flags

The Bihar chief minister was shown black flags by some farmers at Khalghat in Dhar when he was on his way to attend a programme of Medha Patkar on Friday afternoon.

The cavalcade of Nitish Kumar had reached Khalghat when a bunch of farmers waved black flags at him. “Patkar called Nitish Kumar to fulfill her political dreams. Why is she doing this when everyone was compensated by the government?” Vishnu Maldhari, a farmer, asked.

Nitish’s ‘nasha-mukt MP yatra’ is backed by socialist leader Sunilam and Patkar.

(With inputs from Chhotu Shastri)

Web: http://www.hindustantimes.com/indore/nitish-presence-a-morale-boost-to-medha-s-narmada-campaign/story-uHNnTxNludnHWu7O7Qg9qL.html