CPM leader Subhashini Ali today alleged that gates of the Sardar Sarovar Dam on the Narmada in Gujarat were closed only to please Prime Minister Narendra Modi who is going to dedicate the dam to the nation tomorrow, even as rehabilitation of affected people is not complete. Opposing the closure of gates and demanding proper rehabilitation, Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Patkar and project-affected people continued their protest at Chota Barda in Barwani district of Madhya Pradesh today, said Ali, speaking to reporters here. “To win Assembly elections in one state (Gujarat), the people of another state (Madhya Pradesh) are being drowned in a shameful manner,” Ali said. “It is being done by overlooking the justified protest of affected persons, only to please prime minister Narendra Modi on his birthday tomorrow, as a gift, so that it (completion of dam) can be cashed in during the Assembly elections,” she alleged.
The filling of reservoir with water should be stopped immediately and the dam’s gates should remain open so as to reduce the water level, she demanded. “All 40,000 families in Madhya Pradesh which are affected by the filling up of the reservoir should be rehabilitated on priority, a probe committee headed by a high court judge should be constituted to investigate the scam in the rehabilitation, and tomorrow’s programme of prime minister at the Sardar Sarovar Project site should be cancelled,” the senior CPM leader demanded.The water level in the submergence area of the dam in Barwani and Dhar districts of Madhya Pradesh is rising steadily since closure of the dam’s gates began in July. The NBA claims that 40,000 families in 192 villages in Madhya Pradesh would be displaced when the reservoir is filled to its optimum capacity. As per the government, 18,386 families would be affected in the state.