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Monday , July 17 , 2000
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Satyagraha called by NBA activists


VADODARA, JULY 16: Admiral (retd) Ramdas on Saturday inaugurated a satyagraha launched by people in the Narmada valley against what the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) calls unjust submergence and displacement due to the Sardar Sarovar Project.

The satyagraha was launched simultaneously in Jalsindhi in Madhya Pradesh and Domkhedi in Maharashtra. NBA sources said about 1,000 men and women, including representatives from the rehabilitation and resettlement sites and people affected by related projects will take part in the satyagraha.

A mahua tree was converted into a ``tree of resolve'' by nailing the plates with names of villages on them near the satyagraha hut in Domkhedi. In Jalsindhi on the northern banks, people immersed the effigy of the dam as a mark of symoblic protest. Ramdas said, ``The struggle in the valley will continue till the river flows.''

He compared it to a war and said, ``It is a war against injustice and we are bound to win against all odds.'' NBA said the monsoon-long satyagraha will emphasise on nav nirman (constructive work) with experiments on alternative energy sources, health, tribal medicines, resource mapping and education among other things. A week-long youth camp was also inaugurated on Sunday.

NBA leader, Medha Patkar said the agitation would continue as the sword of submergence and displacement still hung over the heads of people in the valley. She alleged that the government was out to displace people by submitting false affidavits. Patkar along with other activists criticised the Gujarat government for misleading the people and promising them that the Narmada waters would reach drought-prone areas of the state.

Envrionmentalist, Mohan Kumar from Kerala, senior political activist, Sukhendu Bhattacharya from Calcutta besides supporters from Mumbai, Malegaon, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh and also from the Netherlands, Australia and United Kingdom were present.

Meanwhile, the Maharashtra government has ignored the satyagraha for the first time since 1991.

Copyright © 2000 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd.


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