The Madhya Pradesh government should ensure the rehabilitation of residents of the Narmada Valley affected by the closure of the Sardar Sarovar dam’s gates, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said today. Kejriwal also expressed concern over the “deteriorating” health of activist Medha Patkar, who has been on an indefinite fast since July 27 over the issue. The BJP government in MP had not made any attempt to reach out to her, Kejriwal said in a statement. AAP MP Bhagwant Mann recently toured the region. “I strongly support the fight for the rights of those being displaced in the Narmada Valley and appeal to the Centre to protect their rights and our democracy, by stopping the Narmada waters from submerging the villages of the affected region.
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“The Centre should engage in a constructive dialogue with the displaced and ensure complete rehabilitation before closing the gates of the dam,” he said. Thousands of families in Madhya Pradesh’s Barwani, Dhar, Alirajpur and Khargone districts will have to vacate their houses following the Centre’s nod for closing the gates of the Sardar Sarovar dam on the Narmada river in neighbouring Gujarat. The closing of gates — which will take place in a phased manner — will lead to a rise in water levels, resulting in villages in the catchment area in Madhya Pradesh being submerged. The government said three days ago that over 7,000 families had stayed put in the catchment area in MP, and it was trying to persuade them to leave.