Lives of 32,000 oustees put in ‘jeopardy’

The Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), which had suspended its Narmada dam oustees’ agitation at Badwani in Madhya Pradesh following the Gujarat government decision to open 25 of the 31 gates of the dam to keep water levels in the reservoir at 131 metres, has asserted that the state government is now “playing” with the situation.

In a statement it said, “The latest news against is that Gujarat is playing with the situation and has close 10 out of 25 gates it had opened. This has let to arise in the water level in the reservoir of the dam. This would mean submergence of densely populated villages and can prove calamitous.

Appealing to “friends and supporters” to take up the call and express protest against filling the reservoir to 139 meters when life and property of 32,000 families is at stake, NBA said, “We also appeal to the volunteers to come down, be with the people and support the struggle that will enter into the next face without wasting any time. The situation is one of utmost urgency.

Earlier, NBA appreciated Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, accompanied by deputy CM Nitin Patel, reaching the dam site midnight to ensure that the water levels in the reservoir do not rise beyond 131 metres. For this, they ensured opening of 25 out of 30 gates, letting the Narmada waters flow in view of the “demand” of the people in the upstream and downstream of the valley.

The dam’s full reservoir level is 139 metres.