September 16, 1999
Water Almost Reached Where Medha And Others Protesting
Narmada Valley to Face Submergence Due To SSP Again
Satyagrahis Dispersed In Villages To Dare Waters
The backwaters of Narmada have started rising alarmingly from Wednesday
(15th September) due to the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP), threatening the
villages and the life of the Satyagrahis. The satyagrahi villagers and
activists like Medha Patkar, who have been on the mass action, have
dispersed in the threatened villages and would be daring he submergence.
As per news received this evening from the villages, the submergence water was
barely 1 meter below the house where the Satyagrahis were daring the
waters. By late night of Thursday (16th) or early morning of 17th, the
water would enter the first house. This time there will be greater
submergence and the activists including Medha, Devrambhai, Ranya Padvi -
the first batch to offer sacrifice - are determined to face the submergence.
Other activists too are in villages like Jalsindhi, Domkhedi, Sikka, Bharad
and Pipalchop. Submergence water was some 3 meters below the
satyagraha house in Jalsndhi while it was 2 meters below the satyagraha
house in Domkhedi. While Bawa Muhariya, Silvy, Alok Agrawal and the other
activists are ready to face submergence in Jalsindhi, villagers and
activists with Dr. Sugan Baranth and others are determined to dare the
submergence in Domkhedi. Ranya Padvi, Medha and other satyagrahis are not
in Domkhedi, but are in some other village which would be facing the
There has been heavy downpour in the upstream areas of Hoshangabad and
ninteen gates of upstream Bargi dam have been opened up releasing about
50,000 cusecs of water in Narmada. It is learnt that the gates of Sukta,
Barna abnd Tawa too are opened due to heavy rains upstream. The river level
at damsite of SSP was 93.17 meters on Thursday morning (it was 98.5 mts
last time). The water level at the dam site is 93 mts. The water level at
Rajghat is 121 mts (last time when the submergence happened it was 126 mts).
Water is rising at the rate of 2 cm per hour and is expected to submerge
the villages in the Narmada valley on 16th night or 17th morning.
Hoshangabad had the season's most heavy rainfall during last four days.
The Satyagraha which began in the Narmada Valley on 20th June continued
despite the submergence of 10-11th August and arrest of 62 satyagrahis on
11th August. The Satyagrahis, particularly the members of 'samrpit dal'
like Devrambhai Kanera, Medha Patkar and Ranyabhau Padvi stood in waist
deep submergence water for over 15 hours. The waters receded subsequently.
Since then people from villages of higher altitude, not threatened by
submergence have also been visiting the Satyagraha centers of Jalsindhi and
Domkhedi to discuss the comprehensive issues of land, forest, natural
resources and development policies.
This time the Satyagrahis will face the submergence not only from Jalsindhi
and Domkhedi, but from all the villages where water will enter including
Sikka, Pipal- Chop and Bharad. The police will not have the satisfaction of
arresting Medha Patkar without confronting the situation in all the
villages. Residents of these villages and the supporters from other
villages and towns are prepared to face the waters and the callous
disregard of the government towards the rights of the people. The
situation in the Narmada valley does not portray "sacrifice" but a valiant
struggle of the people for truth in development and against exploitation,
repression and deceit.
Baroda (0265) 382232
Mumbai (022) 5574895