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NBA Press Release                                 7th August, 1999

SSP WATERS RISE AGAIN, SIX FEET BELOW SATYAGRAHA SITE: Medha and Samarpit Dal Ready To face Submergence

The backwater of the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) in the Narmada valley once again rose alarmingly and came upto six and half feet below the Satyagraha house in Domkhedi and Jalsindhi on Friday ( August 6).The Satyagrahis including Medha Patkar, Ranya Padvi, Bawabhai Muhariya, Sitaram Patidar and others have been staying put to face the unjust submergence. The water level may further rise with the release of water from upstream dams of Bargi, Tawa and Barna.

Due to the heavy downpour in the upstream regions of Jabalpur and Mandla regions of Narmada valley in Madhya Pradesh, the already high level of submergence water has further risen. The level near Hafeshwar, the nearest access point near the Satyagraha villages, was around 98 meters. The level at the SSP damsite in the evening of August 6 was 92.95 m. In the upstream, at Rajghat,near Badwani in Nimad, the water level in the morning was at 119 m. The backwater level rose sharply, some three weeks before going up to 97 m. near Hafeshwar, which was fluctuating during the successive weeks. However, Friday's rise was yet another pointer for increasing danger. The discharge from the upstream dams has been quite substantial. Bargi ( 30,000 cusecs), Tawa (28,000 cusecs) and Barna (30,000 cusecs) would further exacerbate the situation.

The village representatives from the villages in Akrani, Akkalkua tehsils in Maharashtra, from Alirajpur tehsil and plains of Nimad in M.P. have been participating in the satyagraha at Domkhedi (Mah) and Jalsindhi (M.P.) in a large numbers alongwith individuals and organisations in Kerala, Karnataka, Tamilnadu, Bengal, Gujarat and Maharashtra. From Karnataka, representatives for Dalit and Women Chalavali are staying for a long period at the satyagraha site. Activists of Swashraya-Vypin, Eco Activists Collective and various environmental groups from Kerala, Tamilnadu have been participating in the satyagraha.

A 12-member delegation from the villages affected by the Koliari dam in Gujarat participated in the mass action. The organisations at the Satyagraha place expressed solidarity with the Koliari struggle and demanded that the people should not be displaced and the dam work must not go ahead without resettling the people.

The increase of the height of the SSP from 80.3 meters to 85 m plus humps of 3 meters, would be submerging the houses and farms of over 2500 families from 50-60 villages in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh. The government had yet to resettle the affected families below the 80 meters itself. Though the NBA has been raising all the basic issues regarding the dam and very raison d'etre of the displacement, even in the very limited case of the resettlement of the oustees upto 80 meters or 88 meters of dam height, it is proved that the state governments failed to resettle the people below that height. The state governments, instead have filed false affidavits in the Court about the resettlement.

Sanjay Sangvai