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NBA Press Release                                 11th August, 1999

NARMADA VILLAGERS AND ACTIVISTS DARE THE SUBMERGENCE OF SSP; STANDING THREE FEET IN SUBMERGENCE WATER IN DOMKHEDI; Government Looks Other Way :Water 2 ft.below Jalsindhi House

A band of over sixty people have been braving the submergence water of the Sardar Sarovar Project in the Narmada valley in Domkhedi village from Tuesday ( Aug.10) night with Medha Patkar, Ranyabhai Padvi and Devrambhai and others standing in the three feet deep submergence water since early morning of 11th. The people are firm on not to move out of the land despite the unjust submergence. About fifty Maharashtra police were camping outside the village knowing fully well the crisis.

In Jalsindhi, another Satyagraha place, the water was hardly two feet below the Satyagraha house and the three main activists, Sitarambhai, Luhariyabhai and Rehmat and others are prepared to face the submergence waters. Here also, the government officials merely came to 'inform' the people and went off.

The submergence water started entering in the Satyagraha house, "Narmadai" in Domkhedi ( Mah.), by late night of August 10. The waters were two feet away from the satyagraha place on Tuesday evening. The Maharashtra police merely toured the village with a warning to go to safe places. The people and activists made it clear that they would not move out of the Satyagraha house in face of the submergence.

The backwaters of Narmada have risen alarmingly by the Tuesday ( 10th) noon. At Rajghat (Badwani), the water rose from 118 meters to 127 meters, thus threatening the the villages in this year's submergence. The water rose upto 99 meters at the damsite on Wednsday (11th) morning.

The people including Medha, Ranya Dahya( elder) and Devrambhai are resolved not to move out. " We oppose the unjust submergence and destruction imposed on the people and nature in the Narmada valley by the system", they declared. " The people will resist their unjust displacement and threats of submergence even at the cost of their lives". The confrontation with the submergence comes as a sequel to the Satyagraha against the displacement and unjust submergence. The increased submergence has been a result of the the increased height of the SSP from 80.3 meters to 85 meters excluding 3 feet high humps.

Devrambhai Kanera has been a senior activist in the struggle having his small peice of land in the plains of Nimad. Ranyabhau Padvi, from the adivasi village Mukhadi from Maharashtra, has been the among the founders of Narmada Dharangrasta samiti in 1987, which sparked off the protest against the displacement and the dam. Sitarambhai Patidar is the peasant from Nimad and a elderly activist of NBA while Luvariyabhai hails from village Jalsindhi, and his house is the first house of the village. Rehmat has been a senior activist with NBA.

According to latest information, the police contingent left from Nandurbar, the district headquarters of the submergence area in Maharashtra on Wednesday morning.

Sanjay Sangvai