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Press Note July 23 1999


The Satyagraha in the Narmada valley has been continuing even as the backwaters of the Sardar Sarovar dam was hardly ten feet away from the Satyagraha site. The representatives of villagers and activists including Medha Patkar, Bawa Muhariya and Sitarambhai are ready to face the water. The satyagrahis have reiterated their resolve not to move out and confront the subemrgence even at the cost of their lives. The increased water has partially submerged fields in Paula, Pipalchp, Bharad, Domkhedi and Nimgavhan. In many instances, the land was submerged before the sowing could take place.

The flood level at the dam site on Thursday evening was 90.20 meters. At Hafeshwar point near the Satyagraha place, the water level was about 96 meters. The waters were receding on previous day, but again increased on Thursday. A number of people from the various areas of the valley and outside have been coming to participate in Satyagraha. Today, a group of various organisations from north Maharashtra arrived at Domkhedi.

Meanwhile,the pro-dam elements have announced that they would oppose the "Rally in the Valley" which would be leaving from Delhi on 29th July. The organisation of big farmers in Gujarat, aligned with the faction of Bharatiya Kisan Union of Mahinder Singh Tikait would be opposing the rally to save the peasants and tribals lives and resources. We condemn the retrograde step taken by the Bharatiya Kisan Union and Mr Tikait, and call upon the peasants organisations all over India to oppose such a move in the name of the farmers.

Sanjay Sangvai