ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Dams and People

When a micro hydel project was inaugurated in the Narmada valley, it took the anti-dam struggle a step forward by pointing out an alternative to the dam. The fight for land rights continues alongside. Adivasis who live in forests have been deemed 'encroacher'. Their de facto ownership must be acknowledged.

The struggle of the adivasi population in the Narmada valley to keep their ancestral land continues even while the valley suffers from the second successive drought after the heightening of Sardar Sarovar Dam to 88 metres in early 1999. Last year, the floods (due to release of water from Bargi and Tawa) of August 11 and 12 and September 19 and 21, 1999, created spectacular news reports because of submergence of houses in Domkhedi and Jalsindhi (MP side) and core activists standing waist and neck deep in the water braving the floods. This particular suspense has not yet struck this year, but the struggle is nevertheless in full swing. Police is considerably less visible (only one police camp in Domkhedi), except when the Gujarat government lapses into paranoia at special occasions like the ‘Saga of Narmada’ rally on August 24, 2000 when 34 supporters were detained near Baroda, among them chief justice Rajender Sachar (retired) of the Delhi High Court and many prominent intellectuals, journalists and environmentalists. At the Gujarat/MP border, 500 villagers were detained on the same occasion which created less indignation, as they did not make press statements. However, the real advances are made in more quiet ways, as people take new steps to take control over their lives.

Micro Dam

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