First Post, Sep 6 2017, Bhopal: A delegation, led by a senior official of the Madhya Pradesh government, on Saturday failed to convince Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) leader Medha Patkar to call off her indefinite fast.

Patkar, who is on a hunger strike since 27 July, however, refused to entertain the delegation since it did not have a letter of authority from the government.

Patkar’s indefinite fast in Dhar district of Madhya Pradesh, seeking a proper rehabilitation of those affected by the Sardar Sarovar dam, entered its 10th day on Saturday.

The delegation was led by Chandrashekhar Borkar, Additional Secretary to Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.

Spiritual leader Bhaiyyu Maharaj, who was also a part of the delegation, met Patkar (62), whose health is failing and urged her to end the fast.

The delegation met Patkar a day after Chouhan expressed concern over the NBA leader’s health.

“I am concerned about your health and the health of your associates. It is my humble request to you that you should end your fast,” the chief minister had tweeted on Friday.

The tweet further read, “I have personally talked to the displaced persons and issued orders to fulfil their demands.”

Patkar is staging the fast, demanding a proper rehabilitation of the thousands of families living along the banks of the Narmada river in Madhya Pradesh’s Barwani, Dhar, Alirajpur and Khargone districts, whose houses would face submergence once the gates of the Sardar Sarovar dam in neighbouring Gujarat were closed.

“Patkar didn’t entertain the delegation as it didn’t have a letter of authority from the government and turned down its request to end the fast,” NBA activist Himanshi Singh told PTI from Dhar.

Dhar Collector Shriman Shukla, who was part of the delegation, said they had noted down the demands of Patkar.

“We have noted down the demands raised by Patkar and have already started sorting out the local issues,” he added.

Shukla admitted that Patkar had not ended her fast after they met her.

About the health conditions of Patkar, he said she was found to be unwell with a low blood pressure level when the doctors checked her two days ago.

“The government doctors wanted to examine her yesterday and today, but she refused to undergo a check-up,” said Shukla.

The other members of the delegation comprised Indore Divisional Commissioner Sanjay Dubey, Additional Director General of Police, based at Indore, Ajay Sharma.

According to an official of the Narmada Valley Development Authority (NVDA), around 6,500 families were still staying put in the catchment area of the dam in Barwani and Dhar districts.

“Two days ago, their number was 7,010,” he said, adding that this meant that the state government’s efforts and requests to evacuate the area were paying off.

“No family was staying in the catchment area of Alirajpur and Khargone districts,” he claimed.

The dam is likely to be filled to its capacity by August end.