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Candlelight protest against anti-Narmada rallyists - [30/07/99] - The Hindustan Times
  The Hindustan Times
Updated 02:00 IST[Late CityFriday, July 30, 1999, New Delhi
 

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Candlelight protest against anti-Narmada rallyists
HT Correspondent (New Delhi, July 29)

Supporters of the Narmada Bachchao Andolan at Nizamuddin Railway Station on Thursday before leaving for a tour of areas that are expected to be submerged by the Sardar Sarovar dam
Farmers and settlers of various districts of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat, who will benefit from the Sardar Sarovar Project, held a candlelight demonstration at the Nizamuddin railway station tonight in protest against the group of rallyists, who were to depart for the ‘Free Narmada Campaign’.

The Free Narmada Campaign’ to support the cause of the tribals in Madhya Pradesh is being led by Arundhati Roy and Medha Patkar. Even as a group of environmentalists and social activists gathered at the Nizamuddin railway station platform to depart for Indore on their way to the ‘Rally for Valley’, the protesters gathered under the aegis of Shree Delhi Gujarati Samaj displayed placards like ‘Arundhati Roy, Respect Supreme Court Directions’, and ‘We want Water’.

President of the Delhi Gujarati Samaj Bhailal Bhai Patel and its general secretary Jagdip Rana said that over three crore people will benefit from the Sardar Sarovar Dam, which will provide water and electricity to the parched areas. They accused the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) of violating the Supreme Court’s directions and conducting a misinformation campaign to damage the Sardar Sarovar project. People from various districts of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, who had gathered outside the Nizamuddin railway station, said that the agricultural land will waste away if they are not provided with water and said that the Sardar Sarovar Project would be instrumental in their socio-economic development.

The activists, who had gathered to participate in the ‘Rally for Valley’ at the railway platform included some students, independent persons and foreigners who expressed concern over environmental and cultural issues. While awaiting the arrival of Arundhati Roy, Medha Patkar and other participants, one of the organisers, Mr Smitu Kothari, said that the rallyists will travel to Jalsindhi in Madhya Pradesh, which is a tribal hamlet and has become the nerve centre of the resistance movement.

Criticising the project, Mr Kothari said that a majority of the affected tribals have not received any cash compensation and uprooting them amounted to social and cultural violence. He added that about 4,000 people will be affected in the subsequent years by this project. The rallyists intend to journey through the tribal villages in Madhya Pradesh, which will be submerged, and Jalsindhi will be the last stop.


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