Taking a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his supporters, social activist Medha Patkar who is leading the Narmada Bachao Andolan has said that Modi’s birthday celebrations overshadowed the grief of those affected by the Sardar Sarovar Dam project.
Patkar has alleged that around 192 villages in three districts of Madhya Pradesh — Dhar, Barwani and Alirajpur — were marooned after the Gujarat government raised the water level of the Sardar Sarovar Dam to 138.68 metres.
“Prime Minister Modi’s birthday has been celebrated like a festival, but the affected people are yet to be rehabilitated. The water level in the dam was raised ahead of its schedule as Modi’s birthday falls on September 17,” Patkar told IANS on Tuesday.
Patkar has alleged that the dam affected people have not been compensated despite the Supreme Court’s direction. She said that the Madhya Pradesh government has claimed that it is yet to receive the compensation amount of Rs 1,857 crore from the Gujarat government.
Patkar blames the previous Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government for the problems of those affected by the dam.
She said: “Shivraj government claimed to have completed the rehabilitation programme and submitted a zero-balance affidavit which is not correct. This way they have snatched away the rights that belonged to the affected families.”
While attacking the Gujarat government for failing to fulfil the promises, she said: “The Rupani government had earlier said that the dam will be full by October 15, then he gave a new date of September 30, but how come the dam got filled just before Modi’s birthday on September 17. It is clear now that for them, the Constitution does not mean anything. Thousands of people are getting drowned but for one person the dam was filled.”
“Sardar Sarovar project is an interstate one, then why is Madhya Pradesh being discriminated. The Shivraj Singh government had surrendered before Modi and the Gujarat government. They never spoke the truth about their own states. Madhya Pradesh too had a share in the power generation, but the previous government kept mum,” said Patkar.
She said that thousands were badly affected by the increased water levels in the dam. People in 192 villages were suffering so they observed Modi’s birthday as ‘dhikkar diwas’.