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THE MAHESHWAR DAM
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NBA Press Release                                 16th August, 1999

CANDLES LIT ON 14TH MIDNIGHT AT GATEWAY OF INDIA TO SAVE NARMADA VALLEY
Mumbai Organisations Pledge To Strive For Sustainable Development

As the political elite of Maharashtra were busy in the Independence Day eve banquet in the high rise Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai, at the stroke of midnight hundreds of candles were lit in the semi darkness at the nearby Gateway of India. Students, representatives of number of social organisations, cultural troupes, number of social-political activists in Mumbai took a pledge to strive for a sustainable and equitable development in India, to save the people and natural resources in the Narmada valley. They resolved to strive to bring in he true Independence for the oppressed and victimised people in India. The struggle in the Narmada valley against the submergence, displacement and destruction preoccupied their minds. As a mark of the solidarity with the ongoing valiant struggle in the valley, hundreds of participants lit the candles at the end of the three hour candle light vigil on the eve of the 15th August, the Independence Day of India. This was followed by the songs of people's struggles and the determination to usher in the new era of freedom, equality and creativity.

At around 9.30 in the night, several organisations and other activists, sympathisers of Narmada struggle gathered at the Gateway of India. Students of various colleges in Mumbai like Ruia, Nirmala Nikean and Tata Institute (TISS) of Social work, the organisations including Manav Mukti Morcha, YUVA, Muslim Intellectual Forum, Rashtriya Yuva Sangathan, Girni Kamgar Sangharsha Samiti, Samajwadi Jan Parishad, National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM), Narmada Bachao Andolan, Anti-Airport struggle of Alibaug and other concerned citizens were present. Noted documentary film-maker Anand Patwadhan, renowned journalist Nikhil Waglay, national coordinator of NAPM, Prof. Sanjay M.G. and others were participated in the gathering that lasted for over three hours. It was a eye opened for many a revelers who came to Gateway. Lata P.M. conducted the proceedings. The street theater troupe ' Clean Air Island', Pavement Dwellers Association, Avhan Natya Manch and students sang the revolutionary songs and presented the entertaining skits on the present development model.

At the end, the participants lit the candles and took a pledge to strengthen the struggle in the Narmada valley for the life, rights and resources in the hands of people and to usher in the era of sustainable development based on equality and freedom.

Sanjay Sangvai, Mahendra Singh