Protests were held in several parts of Madhya Pradesh today, seeking rehabilitation of families affected by the Sardar Sarovar Dam, which was dedicated to the nation by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) leader Medha Patkar, has been standing in waist-deep water of Narmada in Barwani district for last three-days for what she called rehabilitation of 40,000 families displaced by the SSD in Madhya Pradesh.
However, she ended her three-day long Jalsatyagraha this evening at Barwani district of the state.
"I have just suspended my protest," Patkar told PTI over phone from Barwani.
"We are keeping a close watch on the situation and will intensify our stir in future, if needed, for rehabilitation of SSD oustees," Patkar said.
"I have come to know that today people protested in other states of the country for the sake of SSD oustees. Due to our struggle, the chief ministers of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Rajasthan didn't attend the SSD dedication function of Modi," she claimed.
Hours after the prime minister's SSD dedication function, CPM leader Subhashini Ali led a demonstration here, demanding that the 40,000 families affected by the reservoir be rehabilitated, the party's Bhopal district secretary Pushan Bhattacharya said.
The CPM staged similar protests in other districts of the state and shouted slogans "Modi sarkar hosh mein aayo" (wake up Modi government), he said.
In Khargone district's Navadataudi village, some people affected by the dam tonsured their head demanding rehabilitation. They also staged Jalsatyagraha by standing in Narmada river for some hours, member of local Kewat Samaj's (fishermen community) Nagesh Kewat said.
"When Modi dedicated SSD project to the nation on his 67th birthday, Patkar along with 36 people affected by the dam were standing in the water of Narmada at Chota Barda area in Madhya Pradesh's Barwani district for the third day today," her aide Rahul Yadav told PTI.
He said the NBA leader wants that 40,000 families affected by the SSD on Narmada river, in Madhya Pradesh's Barwani, Khargone, Alirajpur and Dhar districts should be rehabilitated at the earliest.
Yadav, who is also an NBA activist, said that as the gates of the SSD were closed to fill the water to the crest, the life of 40,000 families living in the reservoir's backwater is under severe threat.
He said the NBA will continue its struggle for rehabilitation of the oustees.
Earlier, Patkar had resorted to an indefinite hunger strike between July 27 and August 12 in Dhar district for rehabilitation of the dam oustees.
The NBA was protesting against the construction of SSD for more than three decades.
On the other hand, an official of Madhya Pradesh's Narmada Valley Development Authority (NVDA) said according to the official figure, 23,614 families were affected by the dam in the four districts of Madhya Pradesh.
"Ninety-nine per cent families, who were partially affected by the dam's backwater, had already left their places and are comfortably staying in the state government-run shelter homes or rehabilitated," he claimed.
"Till morning, the water level of the SSD reached 129.58 metre against the full reservoir level (FRL) 138.68 metres," he said.
On NBA's claim that the chief ministers of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Rajasthan didn't attend the prime minister's SSD dedication function in Gujarat due to the opposition to the project in their areas, he said they were pre-occupied in functions organised to mark the birthday celebrations of Modi.
Yadav claimed that the CMs of three states didn't attend the SSD dedication function due to the opposition to the project in their areas.
The three states besides Gujarat were sharing the water of Narmada river, the lifeline of Madhya Pradesh.
The SSD project had been mired in controversies since long and it took 56 years for it to be completed and dedicated to the people today.
The SSD project's foundation was laid 56 years ago.