The Narmada Bachao Andolan launched a satyagraha to demand the adequate resettlement and rehabilitation of oustees of the Maheshwar hydel power project in Madhya Pradesh on Sunday.
Although Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Patkar was unable to attend the agitation, Booker prize-winning author Arundhati Roy was present at the site. Ms Patkar had called for a massive rally at Maheshwar last week to protest against the falsehood of
the Madhya Pradesh government.
The Narmada Bachao Andolan leader has also asked for the much-awaited master plan for resettlement as stipulated by the Narmada water dispute tribunal, to be put into action.
The satyagraha highlighted on the violation and the pauperisation of the affected population and focussed attention on the financial viability of the project.
According to Ms Patkar, A report made by Justice Rambhushan Mehrotra, a retired judge of Allahabad, for the Indian peoples tribunal had, in its recommendation, asked the state government to prepare the master plan for resettlement, which was stipulated
by the Narmada water dispute tribunal way back in 1989. It is a pity that nothing concrete has been done by the state government.
A subsequent statement released by the Narmada Bachao Andolan claims that the project authorities have not been able to give a credible master plan or show availability of land for resettlement and rehabilitation. Speaking to The Asian Age NBA activist
Sylvi said, There are serious questions about the preparation of the Madhya Pradesh government and that of S. Kumars, the company which owns the project, to address the issue of displacement and rehabilitation on a mass scale that this project will
entail. We will highlighted all the flaws and frauds of the government during the agitation.
With respect to the financial viability of the project, the activist said, The initial project cost as per 1988 figures was estimated to be Rs 465 crores.