Tag Archives: Jal Satyagraha

The water warriors


As more lands go under water and people are rendered homeless due to the rising water levels of dam projects across States, Jal Satyagraha has become a novel protest weapon for the displaced population in Madhya Pradesh.

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The Jal Satyagraha of people evicted from their lands for the Indira Sagar dam project in Madhya Pradesh, which started on September 1, has once again drawn attention to the great injustice done to thousands displaced by various dam projects constructed on the Narmada River and its various tributaries.

In the case of the Indira Sagar dam project, the problem is particularly serious due to the sheer magnitude of submergence. As Alok Aggarwal, a senior activist of Jal Satyagraha, says, “The Indira Sagar Dam Reservoir, India’s largest and the second largest in Asia, is causing displacement of about 50,000 families from 254 villages or nearly three lakh people. The promise of providing land in place of land to displaced people has been flouted on a large scale to the extent that about 85 per cent of the displaced farmers are being reduced to the status of landless workers.”

He adds, “Instead of taking urgent steps to remedy this injustice, the authorities have started raising water level beyond 260 meters ignoring court directions. This has led to illegal submergence of villages or creation of island like conditions for villagers.”

Jal Satyagraha has started at five places in Khandwa, Harda and Dewas, the three districts of Madhya Pradesh which are affected by displacement caused by this massive project. The movement members have demanded justice-based resettlement policy in keeping with the earlier promises and agreements, as well as lowering of water level in the dam to 260 meters.

This novel form of peaceful resistance involves protesters standing in water, first initiated by the oustees of the Omkareshwar dam project last year. As a result of the protests, the Madhya Pradesh government had announced a package of better rehabilitation and the activists of Narmada Bachao Andolan/Jal Satyagraha believe that the present satyagraha will help in improving the dismal rehabilitation situation in the case of the Indira Sagar project as well.

Predictably, however, the initial response of the authorities has been to arrest and intimidate peaceful protesters, as was also the experience of the Omkareshwar oustees last year. Recently leading activist of the movement, Chittaroopa Patil, was arrested along with 75 other activists from different protest sites.

Meanwhile, in another phase of the Narmada movement, there have been a series of recent protests and rallies by the oustees of the Sardar Sarovar project in three tehseels of Dhar district. They have raised their voice against false and exaggerated claims on rehabilitation. In addition, they have also protested against the submergence of their fields and homes by release of reservoir waters from upstream dams. These protests have emphasised that according to norms agreed earlier at a legal level, villages cannot be submerged till rehabilitation has been completed. Similar protests took place in Naudurbar district of Maharashtra.

In a different context, Jal Satyagraha has reached Uttar Pradesh as well. Here people affected by erosion of land by rivers have initiated Jal Satyagraha in Sitapur district to draw attention to the plight of thousands of people made landless and homeless by land erosion. Premnath Gupta, co-ordinator of ‘Save the village’ movement in Gajipur district, says, “In our district alone, 5,000 acres of farmland spread over 50 villages has been lost. The very survival of many villages like Semra is in question, but the government has no plan to rehabilitate them. These people do not know where to go, what to do.”

 
 
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Children join parents for Jal-satyagraha in Harda


Children of project affect people (PAP) from Hanifabad village in Harda district have joined their parents in the jal-satyagraha protesting against increase in water level of Indira Sagar dam and demanding rehabilitation to the displaced.

The jal-satyagraha (protest in water) entered the eighth day with villagers affected by the project in Khandwa, Dewas and Harda district organizing protests at different places. The government has been chasing the protestors and nabbing them in a bid to dissuade them from undertaking the protest. Some of the jailed protestors have been released by the local court.

Khandwa: Unmoved by police crackdown, protesters continue to observe ‘Jal Satyagraha’


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Despite a police crackdown, a “jal satyagraha” by those affected by the Indira Sagar Project (ISP) entered the second day on Tuesday as 163 protesters were arrested from Mel Pipaliya village in Dewas district and another 200 were arrested from Bichhola village in Harda district.

In a press release issued in Harda on Tuesday, Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) claimed that 163 people, including 63 women arrested from Mel Pipalia village were sent to jail, while 200 arrested from Bichhola village were released later.

However, Harda Collector Rajnish Shrivastava said that about 35 people were arrested and subsequently released from Bichhola for violating prohibitory orders imposed under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code. The police also confirmed that those arrested from Mel Pipalia village were sent to jail.

Meanwhile, hundreds of displaced people began a “jal satyagraha" in Malud village in Khandwa district, while demonstrations were held in Mandleshwar and Omkareshwar in support of those affected by the project, the release said. They submitted a memorandum addressed to Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan demanding that all arrested people including senior NBA leader Chittaroopa should be freed immediately and that the just demands of the project affected people be met with immediate effect.

Condemning the MP government’s repression, NBA leader Alok Agrawal demanded that instead of arresting project affected people, it should work on the demands of rightful rehabilitation of the oustees and give them their legitimate rights.

The NBA demanded that as per Supreme Court and High Court directives, the water level of the ISP project should not cross the 260-metre mark. It also pointed out that a minimum of five acres of land should be given as compensation to those whose lands were submerged due to the project, while Rs 2.5 lakh should be given to laborers.

Khandwa: Unmoved by police crackdown, protesters continue to observe ‘Jal Satyagraha’


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Despite a police crackdown, a “jal satyagraha” by those affected by the Indira Sagar Project (ISP) entered the second day on Tuesday as 163 protesters were arrested from Mel Pipaliya village in Dewas district and another 200 were arrested from Bichhola village in Harda district. In a press release issued in Harda on Tuesday, Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) claimed that 163 people, including 63 women arrested from Mel Pipalia village were sent to jail, while 200 arrested from Bichhola village were released later. However, Harda Collector Rajnish Shrivastava said that about 35 people were arrested and subsequently released from Bichhola for violating prohibitory orders imposed under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code. The police also confirmed that those arrested from Mel Pipalia village were sent to jail.
Meanwhile, hundreds of displaced people began a “jal satyagraha” in Malud village in Khandwa district, while demonstrations were held in Mandleshwar and Omkareshwar in support of those affected by the project, the release said. They submitted a memorandum addressed to Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan demanding that all arrested people including senior NBA leader Chittaroopa should be freed immediately and that the just demands of the project affected people be met with immediate effect. Condemning the MP government’s repression, NBA leader Alok Agrawal demanded that instead of arresting project affected people, it should work on the demands of rightful rehabilitation of the oustees and give them their legitimate rights. The NBA demanded that as per Supreme Court and High Court directives, the water level of the ISP project should not cross the 260-metre mark. It also pointed out that a minimum of five acres of land should be given as compensation to those whose lands were submerged due to the project, while Rs 2.5 lakh should be given to labourers.

NBA’s jal satyagraha in Indira Sagar from Sept. 1


The Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) will hold a jal satyagaraha (protesters sitting in water) in the Indira Sagar Dam from September 1.

Simultaneous protests will take place in Badkhalia, Mel Pipliya and Unwa villages in Khandwa, Dewas and Harda districts respectively.

A similar satyagraha took place last year at the Omkareshwar and Indira Sagar projects in protest against the raising of the water levels and demanding compensation.

It was called off after 17 days after the government decided to keep the level of Omkareshwar under 189 metres and grant compensation. A Rs. 212-crore package for the Omkareshwar evacuees was cleared this May.

Omkareshwar-like package sought

The NBA is demanding that the authorities not increase the water level above 260 metres. They are also pressing for an Omkareshwar-like package for the Indira Sagar evacuees. “This monsoon, 1500 homes and 15,000 acres were submerged. Nearly 70 villages have turned into islands. We have approached the Supreme Court to prevent the raising of the water level. If it rises to 262 metres, thousands of lives will be ruined,” said Alok Agarwal of the NBA.

Indira Sagar, completed in 2005, is India’s largest reservoir. It dams 12.22 billion cubic metres of the Narmada, which feeds a 1000 MW power plant and irrigates 2.65 lakh hectares. It has a submergence area of more than 91,000 hectares, which covers 255 villages. Of these, the NBA says, 41 villages have not been surveyed and villagers had not got any compensation.

Devi Singh Rajput, a peasant from Badgaon Raiyar in Khandwa, said he lost his home in the recent floods and was living in a relative’s house now. “My village was partially submerged in 2004 and I was given compensation of about Rs. 2.5 lakhs for 9 acres of submerged land. I could only buy 4 acres with that on and I now grow soya and wheat. We were promised jobs but no jobs were given. My son, who has a polytechnic diploma, still can’t find work. If the levels are raised, I can’t afford to restart life again.”

Jal Satyagraha wins, MP govt to reduce dam water level


Bhopal: Bowing before the villagers who have standing in neck-deep water for 17 days demanding reduction in the water level of the Omkareshwar dam, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Monday announced the reduction of the water level to 189 metres. 
Addressing a press conference, the Madhya Pradesh CM said, “Taking into account of the present situation, the state government has decided to reduce the water level to 189 metres from the current 190.5 metres.” 
Expressing concern on the adverse affect of the decision, Chouhan said, “Reducing the water level would affect the irrigation process and 20,000 hectares of land will not get water. Decreasing the water level will also lead to loss of 120 megawatt electricity.” The Omkareshwar dam is built across the Narmada River. 
The Chief Minister also announced that the affected villagers will be given land-for-land within 90 days. 
It has been decided that the villagers who will return 50 percent of the compensation allotted to them by the state government earlier will also be given land and rehabilitated. 

He also said that some elements have been creating trouble for long in the name of dams and halting development projects. The agitation, under the aegis of Narmada Bachao Andolan, had started a fortnight back. Meanwhile, a central team of observers will today visit the site of Omkareshwar dam protests for a survey. Villagers displaced by the dam have been protesting seeking rehabilitation and compensation. However, there was no word from Chouhan regarding the Indira Sagar Dam, where also a group of villagers are protesting in neck-deep water over similar demands. 

Zee News

web. http://zeenews.india.com/news/madhya-pradesh/jal-satyagraha-wins-mp-govt-to-reduce-dam-water-level_798737.html

 

‘Jal Satyagraha’ in Ghogalgaon continues for 16th day


Khandwa (MP): The ‘Jal Satyagraha’ agitation launched by the villagers of Ghogalgaon in the district continued for the sixteenth day on Sunday. 
The villagers have been standing in neck-deep water, demanding reduction in the level of a Narmada river dam, among other things. The agitation, under the aegis of Narmada Bachao Andolan, had started a fortnight back. 

The protesters want the height of Indira Sagar dam reduced from 262 metres to 260 metres. Land in Ghogalgaon got submerged as the water level of the dam has reached up to 261 meters causing submergence in the affected villages. 
Demanding land for land, the dam-affected persons have also pointed out that as per the Supreme Court directives, the rehabilitation work should have been completed at least six months before the land in their village got submerged. 
Similar protests have been going on since the last twelve days at Barkhalia in Khandwa district and Khardana in Harda district as the land in these villages also got submerged due to rise in the water level at Omkareshwar dam. 
Both Indira Sagar and Omkareshwar hydropower projects were built on river Narmada. 
A central team is likely to arrive at the protest site tomorrow, NBA sources said. 
Taking note of the plight of the protesters, Madhya Pradesh chief minister had deputed two state ministers to take stock of the situation. Accordingly, Industries Minister Kailash Vijaywargiya and Tribal Welfare Minister Vijay Shah had visited the protest site yesterday and assured the agitators to find a solution to their problems within the next 48 hours.

Zee News

web. http://zeenews.india.com/news/madhya-pradesh/jal-satyagraha-in-ghogalgaon-continues-for-16th-day_798727.html