This video depicts the plight of the ordinary Indian, when their government and courts abandon them. The video is made on the tenth day where the evictees of the Omkareshwar Dam, one of the 30 large dams constructed in the controversial Narmada Valley Project, have decided to protest by staying in neck-deep water, after the Madhya Pradesh state government in India decided to increase the water level to 196.60 meters, though many villagers who lost their land and livelihood are yet to be identified and adequately compensated by the government. This is from the 10th day of the protest in water.
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received a report from the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) that a large group of villagers who have been evicted from their land without compensation for the construction of the Omkareshwar Dam are protesting against the illegal increase in the water level, beyond that is allowed by the Supreme Court of India. It is reported that in a unique form of protest held in East Nimaar region in Khandwa district of Madhya Pradesh state, the villagers have been sitting within the dam’s catchment area claiming that they are willing to drown to death than been denied their rightful claim for adequate rehabilitation for the lands they have lost.
In the meanwhile, water level is increased gradually in the dam, that soon the water would submerge the protesters. The protest has entered the 10th day today. In a litigation decided by the Supreme Court of India and earlier by the Madhya Pradesh High Court, the courts have categorically instructed the government as well as the consortium managing the dam, that the water level should not be increased beyond 196.60 meters and that all steps are to be taken, so that those who are adversely affected by the dam, particularly those who have lost land by submergence, are properly identified and compensated before the reservoir is filled to its maximum capacity. NBA reports that so far the height of water was 189 meters and now the state government has declared that it would increase the water level to 193 meters. This however is done without rehabilitating those who have lost their land to submergence, which is a violation of the commitment made by the government in court and is against the court’s directives hence the protest. Civil society groups have condemned the total disregard of the government to the plight of the poor villagers.
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