16th day of the indefinite hunger strike: Gunjari Satyagraha continues

16th day of the indefinite hunger strike

Jiroth Phaliya surrounded by water and deprived of food and drinking water supplies

Hundreds of acres of land submerges without any compensation

Gunjari Satyagraha continues

On the eighteenth day of the dharna of the Indira Sagar and Omkareshwar dam affected people in Khandwa, the people were upbeat in their resolve and belief that they will attain justice. The indefinite hunger strike of five people - senior activists of Narmada Bachao Andolan Bhagwan Mukati and Chittaroopa Palit, Indira Sagar affected Krishna Bai and Suraj Bai, and Omkareshwar dam affected Ashok Chaturvedi entered its 16th day today. The health of these hunger strikers is now deteriorating, but their morale is very high and resolve very strong.

Due to filling of water in the Omkareshwar dam reservoir upto a level of 189 metres, the Jiroth Phaliya of village Kelwa Bujurg has been surrounded by water from three sides. The 115 families still living in this phaliya are now facing acute shortage of food supplies and potable water. These families have been living in this area for over 30 years and do farming. According to the rehabilitation policy of MP, all families tilling land from before 1987 were considered equal to landed farmers and were to be given 5.5 acres of land as rehabilitation. But in blatant violation of the rehabilitation policy the 450 acres of land that these families were tilling has been submerged without any rehabilitation. In this way the only source of their income has been cut short.

Not only that, since all the important roads to this phaliya are deluged by the dam waters, the people are unable to go out to earn or even purchase things of daily use. The dam waters are only one metre away from this phaliya. With the oncoming monsoon, the water in nearby rivers Ajnal and Kaveri will also rise and there will be no way left for the families in this phaliya to save their lives. The administration has also not made any arrangements to face this situation.

The Jal-satyagraha in Gunjari village that was started to bring to the notice of the administration the plight of the affected families continues on its 8th day today. The hearing of the appeal filed by Narmada Bachao Andolan in this matter will be heard tomorrow, on the 22nd June 2007 in the Jabalpur bench of the High Court.

Alok Agrawal