The Jal Satyagraha, started by oustees of the Omakreshwar dam project under the leadership of the Narmada Bacaho Andolan (NBA), entered its fifth day on Wednesday.
Thirty-four of the oustees, including NBA activist Chittaroopa Palit, continued their watery ordeal even as some of them developed blisters on their feet from standing in waist deep water for the last four days.
The 520 MW Omkareshwar project is one of the several big dams on the Narmada river, built by the Narmada Hydroelectric Development Corporation a joint venture between NHPC Ltd and the government of Madhya Pradesh.
The current water level of the dam is 189 metres and the protesters fear that if filled beyond that level, the dam will submerge their lands, spread across several villages.
The oustees had started the jal satyagraha protest last month at Ghogalgaon village in M.P.’s East Nimaar region against the State government’s decision to raise the water level in the dam to 193 metres from 189.
On Saturday, when the water level of the dam was raised by 1.5 metres, 250 people entered the waist deep water and have been standing there since.
They claim the State government decided to raise the water level without ensuring relief and rehabilitation for them. However, the Khandwa district administration has denied the allegations.