Oustees of the Omkareshwar Dam project called off their jal satyagraha on Monday after the Madhya Pradesh government accepted all their demands and constituted a ministerial committee to look into their grievances.
On the 17th day of the protest, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan announced that the government had agreed to the key demands of the agitators — reducing the water level of the dam to 189 metres and providing land for land compensation to all those who had lost their land.
“Compliance with the order given by the Grievances Redressal Authority about giving land for land to farmers surrendering 50 per cent [of their financial] compensation will be ensured within 90 days,” Mr. Chauhan said, after holding a “direct dialogue” with the affected farmers of Ghoghalgaon, Kewla Buzurg, Aikhand and Kamankhera at his residence.
“A high-level committee will hear problems of the dam-affected people,” he said.
With that assurance, the 51 oustees standing in waist to neck-deep water for the last 16 days broke their jal satyagraha amid an atmosphere of victory.
The Chief Minister said sincere efforts would be made to find a solution to the problems of the affected farmers.
The high-level committee would comprise Commerce and Industries Minister Kailash Vijaywargiya, SC-ST Welfare Minister Kunwar Vijay Shah, Minister of State for Narmada Valley Development K.L. Agrawal, Principal Secretary, Narmada Valley Development, Rajneesh Vaish and the Indore Divisional Commissioner.
On Saturday, representatives of the oustees, under the leadership of the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) met two Ministers but that effort did not yield any concrete result.
The oustees thanked the media and supporters from across the country and abroad who had helped their cause.
“The protesters endured a lot during these 17 days and suffered a lot of damage to their bodies by standing constantly under water. But they have finally emerged victorious,” NBA leader Alok Agarwal told The Hindu.
However, their displaced brethren from the Indira Sagar project continued their jal satyagraha (in Khardana and Badhkhalia villages) against the State’s decision to raise the water level beyond 260 metres, which, they claim, is in contravention of Supreme Court orders.