Thousands of people took out a rally in Omkareshwar town on Sunday and announced a jal satyagraha on July 16 against the Madhya Pradesh government's decision to raise the water level in the dam up to 193 metres.

People affected by the Omkareshwar, Maheshwar, Indira Sagar, Upper Beda and Man dams participated in the rally, led by the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA).

Later at a public meeting, the dam-affected resolved not to move out of their villages without prior rehabilitation and resettlement (R&R) and allotment of land as per the R&R policy.

NBA leader Alok Agarwal said the State government's decision was a blatant violation of the Supreme Court orders.

“In its judgment of May 2011 about the R&R of the oustees of the Omkareshwar project, the Supreme Court had held it was the constitutional obligation of the project authorities to allot a minimum of 2 hectares of agricultural land to each displaced family and provide other R&R benefits before the construction of the dam,” said Mr. Agarwal.

“The Supreme Court has repeatedly held that R&R, including allotment of land, must be completed six months before submergence. Thus, the decision of the State government to submerge the area when land allotment is yet to commence, violates the fundamental rights of the oustees,” he said.

NBA activist Chittaroopa Palit said the project oustees, with the help of concerned people all over the country, would undertake an audit of the R&Rmeasures done by the project authorities and release a report soon.