Sardar Sarovar Dam affected oustees on Indefinite Rajghat Satyagraha
Waking and moving from village to village, through lush green fields and thickly populated bastis, hundreds of Sardar Sarovar Dam affected oustees concluded their 6-day long Jeevan Aadhikar Yatra today in the Badwani District, meeting and mobilizing thousands of farmers, landless workers, fisher people, on the way, both in the submergence affected villages and resettlement sites of Badwani and Dhar districts.
Over the past 6 days, the Yatra passed through 25 villages of Dharampuri, Manavar and Badwani Tehsils and the reality that emerged from virtually everywhere was of incomplete rehabilitation, denial of cultivable land to farmer and livelihood sources to the landless workers, fishing rights to the fisher people, corruption in cash disbursements, deplorable civic amenities at the resettlement sites, unlawful submergence without provision of R&R and most shockingly, fraudulent change in the backwater levels, stripping 16,000 families of the R&R benefits.
Numerous movement leaders, students and experts joined the Yatra on different days and expressed their solidarity with the struggle, through electrifying speeches and songs. Kailash Meena, Anti-Mining Activist, Rajasthan; Yashwant Bapu, Anti-Corruption Activist, Maharashtra; Shri Satish Bhingare, Former Secy, Water Resources, Maharashtra; Suniti S.R., NAPM and Editor, Andolan Magazine, Pune; Shri Ramesh Kode, Activist, Mumbai; students from Pune, Jharkhand, Ahmednagar and activists of Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan participated in the Yatra. Remembering Hiroshima and Nagasaki from 6th and 9th August and calling upon the Modi-Shivraj duo to “Quit Narmada” on the Quit India Day and Adivasi Rights Day, the valley exposed through numerous examples, the fraud in the entire rehabilitation process and illegality in the decision to raise the height of SSP, catering to corporate interests.
A large number of activists of the Andolan and Medha Patkar addressed people in every meeting, calling for a Do-or-Die Battle to save the valley. The packed meetings in halls, under trees and in the streets of all these villages, with mashaal juloos and vibrant participation of women and young children re-energized the entire movement for true development in the region again. Hundreds of women and men, from various villages participated in and joined the which passed through the Dharampuri Town as well as villages Khalghat, Pipaldagadi, Sala, Nimbola, Khujawa, Khatadgaon, Hatnavar, Sulgaon of Dharampuri Tehsil; Gogawa, Malangaon, Bada Barda, Sharikpura, Perkhad, Kothada, Sarasgaon, Jalkheda of Manavar Tehsil and villages Chhota Barda, Piplud, Pipri, Avli-Segaon, Kundia, Kasaravad and Pichhodi over the past 2 days.
Thousands of oustees from different villages shall assemble at Shaheed Chowk tomorrow at 10 a.m. and march towards Rajghat, pasting the main streets of Badwani, appealing to the town that their doom would not be far away, if all the surrounding villages are damned by Sardar Sarovar. Thousands of people shall stay indefinitely at the satyagraha sthal at Rajghat, until the Government relents and resolves the issue. The andolankaris shall be joined by more than 200 supporters from the basis of Mumbai who, after having fought a valiant battle at Mandala for their right to housing recently, are now determined to stand-in-solidarity with their brethren in the Narmada valley. Shri Bhaktacharan Das, Senior MP, Dr. Sunilam, Samajwadi samagam, Shri sandesh Vyas, photo-artist and many other supporters shall participate in the Satyagraha to start from tomorrow. The battle continues.