Demanding proper rehabilitation for the Narmada oustees, a group of activists staged a protest at Shram Shakti Bhavan, New Delhi. The protesters submitted a memorandum to Union Water Resources Minister Nitin Gadkari.
Meanwhile, another group protested outside the Mantralaya gates in Maharashtra. The protest was led by Narmada Bachao Andolan activist Medha Patkar. 30 of the dam's oustees shaved their heads to oppose the inauguration of the dam. The unique protest was to tell the Madhya Pradesh government that its governance was "dead". The delegation also appealed for an appointment with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis who was in Gujarat for the foundation laying ceremony of India’s first bullet train.
The protests took place two days ahead of the inauguration of Sardar Sarovar Dam by PM Modi. Modi will celebrate his birthday on September 17 by inaugurating the dam, while more than 40,000 families are still waiting for their proper rehabilitation as per the Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal.
Eyeing the upcoming Gujrat elections, the government has made moves without thinking about the people who are living in the Narmada valley.
“Narmada Mahotsav is planned by Govt. only to highlight their lies and a mere campaign for vote politics,” said National Alliance of People’s Movement (NAPM), who led the protest in Delhi, in a statement. The ‘Narmada Mahotsav’ is a two-week long event floated by the Gujrat government which will culminate in the inauguration ceremony of the newly constructed gates on September 17.
NAPM representation also said that the Government of India's response to the oustees' problems was "apathetic, shameless and completely undemocratic."
Expressing wonder, the representation raised the question "By closing gates of the Sardar Sarovar dam, and submerging people of the Narmada valley, to whom are they providing water without canals?"
The government has reduced the length of Narmada Canal in Gujrat from 90,389 Km to 71,000 Km which is still incomplete. The government also minimized the irrigation command area from 18 lakh hectares to mere 12 lakh hectares last year.
In Delhi, the delegation included Hannan Mollah (former Member of Parliament, Communist Party of India (Marxist), Richa Singh (NAPM), Krishna Prasad (All India Kisan Sabha) and Vimal Bhai (Matu Jansangathan).
On the other hand, 30 of the dam's oustees shaved their heads to oppose the inauguration of the dam. The unique protest was to tell the Madhya Pradesh government that its governance was "dead".
The protest named "chunauti dharna" (challenge protest) took place at Neelam Park, Bhopal. Following the dharna, it was decided to hold a mass protest at Barda in Badwani district, where many religious places are in the submergence which is not in the records of government.