The Gujarat Government has decided to take a tough position against the Narmada Jan Andolan (NJA) which has announced to launch a 'kar sewa' at the disputed Narmada Dam site to release water for irrigation purposes.
Shetkari Sanghatana leader Sharad Joshi is scheduled to lead a 'kar sewa' by nearly two lakh farmers on Saturday at the unfinished Narmada Dam site, an act which the Gujarat Government thinks would jeopardise the state's interest as the dispute is still
pending in the Supreme Court.
At the weekly Cabinet meeting here today, the Gujarat Government has promulgated prohibitory orders at the dam site for a fortnight.
The state unit of the ruling BJP has already announced that it would send its volunteers to the dam site to prevent the 'kar sewa' to release water into the irrigation canal.
The NJA had earlier planned to dig up an irrigation bypass tunnel from the dam to release water for the farmers.
The Gujarat Government is also equally determined to prevent the 'kar sewa' and has refused to have any truck with the Narmada Jan Andolan despite water being an emotive issue in the state.
The Narmada Jan Andolan, which has argued that there is no Supreme Court ban on the release of water from the disputed dam for irrigation purposes, has since changed its plan to dig up the tunnel.
Instead, the 'kar sewaks' would form a human chain on the top of the yet to be completed dam, draw water from the upstream reservoir with buckets and then pour it symbolically into the canal side.
Officials of the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Limited (SSNNL), the nodal agency for the construction and administration of the dam, have described this symbolic protest as a very dangerous proposition for the participants.
Even a small slip could lead to a vertical fall of nearly hundred feet along the steep concrete gradient or simple drowning if the fall is on the reservoir side.
Sensing a golden opportunity to embarrass the ruling BJP on the emotive Narmada issue, several Congress leaders have also extended their support to the 'kar sewa' idea, though the party as such prefers to stay clear of the controversy awaiting judgement of
the apex court.