Thousands of displaced people, including women and adivasis in huge numbers, have begun an indefinite dharna at the Narmada Control Authority (NCA) office in Indore, after reaching here following a long foot march from Badwani, the heart of the people’s movement against displacement going on in the Narmada valley.
The Jeevan Adhikaar Yaatra, comprising thousands of adivasis, farmers and fisher folk affected by dam and canal projects of Sardar Sarvoar, Jobat and Indira Sagar and Omkareshwar, reached the industrial capital of Madhya Pradesh on Tuesday, traveling on foot, by trucks and in boats, braving the scorching April heat for over two days.
Shouting slogans of “we want development, not destruction” and “Rehne do, Jeene do, Maa Narmada ko behne do” (Let us live, let us stay, Let Mother Narmada flow), plan to indefinitely stage a sit-in at the NCA office unless their demands are met.
“The higher officials have all gone to Aurangabad for some reason,” NBA leader Medha Patkar told The Hindu. “We will be talking to the Deputy Director soon and will hold detailed talks on Thursday, as Wednesday is a holiday,” she said.
The oustees of the various dam and canal projects on the narmada river, have been demanding just rehabilitation from the state government for over two decades now.
Union Minister of Environment and Forests Jairam ramesh recently told The Hindu that “in spite of unprecedented planning, the projects on Narmada river have failed to fulfill the promises made to the nation”.