Press release
Dated 28/08/2019

Narmada Challenge Satyagraha

On the fourth day of the indefinite fast of Ms. Medha Patkar, the State Home Minister reached the Satyagraha site and supported our demands.

A hunger strike is still on to demand the start of rehabilitation efforts by opening the gates of the dam.

Badwani: State Home Minister Shri Bala Bachchan – as a representative of the State Government – visited the site of “Narmada Challenge Satyagraha” and expressed his concern about the health of Ms. Patkar, who has been fasting for the last 4 days. He also supported the movement and promised to present the agitation’s demands before the Chief Minister and resolve them.

It is noteworthy that the “Narmada Challenge Satyagraha” is ongoing since 25 August 2019 in Chhota Badda, a historic village in Barwani district against illegal drowning. Satyagrahis are demanding that the process of rehabilitation of 32000 affected people should be started immediately by opening the gates of the dam and reducing the water level by 130 meters. Flooding of 138.68 meters of the dam without rehabilitation would be the killing of a living civilization, which would be an open violation of the Narmada Tribunal’s decisions, court orders and rehabilitation policy along with violation of constitutional rights of the affected – something that is unacceptable.

Some notable points that were brought up were:

  • The state government should push the time sheet for filling the water in the dam beyond one year so that time can be given for rehabilitation of the affected people. The government should make all-out efforts for this, following the orders of the Grievance Redressal Authority.
  • The petitions issued by the state government in the Supreme Court and the High Court violating the rights of the affected should be withdrawn so that the decades long harassment of the victims can be stopped.
  • The entire cost of rehabilitation is to be borne by the Gujarat government, so the Gujarat government should recover the cost of rehabilitation, alternative afforestation etc as well. The lists of payments made to the affected should be made public on the website.
  • The government should start the process of rehabilitation of all the affected people by organizing camps in villages proactively, and not only when there is a mishap. It is noteworthy that during the forcible removal by the administration, two people have died in Rajghat and one in Jangarwa and only then were the camps set up. The camp in Rajghat has been standing for 2 weeks but no action has been taken on the problems of the affected.
  • In the letter dated 27.05.2019 sent by the Chief Secretary of Madhya Pradesh to the Narmada Control Authority NCA, 6000 families in 76 villages have been described as living in the submergence area. This assessment of the government is baseless and significantly lesser than what is the reality.
  • It has also been demanded that corrupt officers of Naghavipra, including the Director Shri Khare, should be kept away from the process of rehabilitation so that further corruption could be stopped.
  • The affected demanded immediate action on the 33-point demand letter submitted to the government earlier. It has also been expressed the resolve that Satyagraha will continue till the government does not accept the judicial and statutory demands of the affected.

According to the government itself, 8500 applications are pending in the Grievance Redressal Authority and 2952 are eligible for farming worth rupees 60 lakhs. Thousands of families are yet to get 5,80,000 grants and residential plots. In such a situation with the lack of appropriate rehabilitation measures, it is unacceptable to let villages drown.

Bhagirath Dhangar, Narendra Yadav, Rehmat Mansuri, Hukum Jat, Devisingh Tomar, Mahendra Tomar, Sanobar B Mansuri, Pemal Bahn, Kamla Yadav, Medha Patkar

Rohit Singh 9753000153
Rahul Yadav 9179617513