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High Court orders no coercive measures in villages affected by Omkareshwar Project

Press Note: 22 June 2007

High Court orders no coercive measures in villages affected by Omkareshwar Project

Decision on the rights of the affected families will be taken during the final hearing

Gunjari Satyagraha withdrawn

Indefinite hunger strike at Khandwa continues

The Jabalpur High Court today ordered the State government and NHDC not to apply any coercive measures including cutting off water or electricity, breaking the houses etc in 25 villages affected by the Omkareshwar dam project. The High Court has said that it will decide about the rights of affected people of the village Gunjari at the time of the final hearing which will start from 24th July. The hearing was before the bench of Chief Justice Anang Kumar Patnayak and Justice Ajit Singh. Advocate General RN Singh represented the State government & NHDC and Narmada Bachao Andolan was represented by senior activist Chittaroopa Palit.

On the other hand, in a meeting of representatives of Narmada Bachao Andolan, State government and NHDC the state government proposed that 22 affected families of the village Gunjari will be given Rs. 35,000 and a plot of 5400 sq. feet. This will be in addition to whatever rights the High Court decides to give to them. The Jal Satyagraha (Satyagraha in rising water) at Gunjari was withdrawn after this proposal by the government and the decision of the High Court about the hearing on their rights. These villagers will now join the dharna at Khandwa. All the women of village Gunjari including the main activist Ramkuwar who were standing in water for last 9 days have been immediately hospitalized.

The Dharna by thousands of oustees of Indira Sagar and Omkareshwar projects has entered in its 19th day. The indefinite hunger strike at the dharna by 5 people is continuing on its 17th day. Health of the hunger strikers have been deteriorating. Yesterday evening, the district collector and the General Manager, NHDC held a long meeting with representatives of the Andolan to discuss the rights being demanded by the affected people. Yet, there is no concrete response from the state.

ALOK AGARWAL