Medha Patkar rejects PM`s appeal to end fast

New Delhi, Apr 04:
Turning down Prime Minister`s request to her to end her indefinite hunger strike, Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Patkar today said her agitation would continue.
Time Line: Narmada Bachao Andolan
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Medha said that her fast will continue till the Government makes public its report on the rehabilitation of the families affected by the Sardar Sarovar Project.
Deputed by the Prime Minister, Union Water Resources Minister Saifuddin Soz, who met Patkar twice today at the Jantar Mantar, the spot where she has been fasting, and conveyed Singh`s request to call off her seven-day long strike.
There was concern among the activists around her about health and a doctor from a nearby hospital was at hand in case of any emergency.
“The Prime Minister has reaffirmed the Government`s commitment that the rehabilitation of project affected families of the Sardar Sarovar Dam is done fully and satisfactorily in consonance with the supreme court order,” Soz told her.
The Minister said he and his ministerial colleagues Meira Kumar and Prithviraj Chavan would visit the affected families in the project-affected areas and the relief and rehabilitation sites and particularly take note of the areas where rehabilitation has not been done as mentioned in the memorandum given by Patkar.
Patkar accepted a glass of salt water from Soz, but said her fast would continue.
Patkar, in a statement, said “the team visiting the affected areas in Madhya Pradesh, Maharshtra and Gujarat must make its report public immediately, latest by April nine. Till then, I and my colleagues shall continue our fast.”
Patkar termed the Centre`s decision to increase the height of the Sardar Sarovar Dam to 121.92 metres of as a gross violation of the the Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal Authority and the Supreme Court judgements in the matter. She also demanded that the Centre stop immediately the work on the construction of the dam.
The relief and rehabilitation has not been done even below the dam height of 110 metres, Patkar said.
Soz said the NBA would also represent thier issues before a team of Union ministers visiting the project areas.
“The team would ensure that relief and rehabilitation of project-affected families has been complied with in terms of the Award and the Supreme Court judgement.” The Narmada Control Authority had recently decided to increase the height of the dam, a decision which, the NBA claims, would render 35,000 families homeless.
Bureau Report

TIME LINE: NARMADA BACHAO ANDOLAN

1) 1985-86: People affected by the proposed construction of the Sardar Sarovar Project begin organising themselves.
2) 1989: Struggle spreads to cover other dams when in 1989 the people displaced as a result of the construction of the Bargi Dam begin an agitation for justice.
3) 1990-91: World Bank constitutes the Morse Commission to review funding the construction of the dam that leads to its eventual withdrawal from the project.
4) 2000: SC delivers judgement ordering the construction of the dam upto 90 metres’ height. Also it conditionally authorises raising the height of the dam to 138 m in parts of 5 meters. The condition set is the approval of the Narmada Control Authority.
5) 2001: In December, hundreds of tribals demonstrate in Dhar and end their demonstration at the Collector’s office
6) 2003: Medha Patkhar goes on indefinite fast and breaks it only after acceptance of demands by the Maharashtra government
7) 2004: Flood water rises upto 114 meters on the Sardar Sarovar dam, causing large scale annihilation of houses and farms in tribal villages. Government failure on all counts highlighted by the social activists
8) 2005: The Madhya Pradesh High Court turns down govt proposal to raise the dam height to 262 metres or 258 metres
9) 2006: On 8th March, the Narmada Control Authority gives clearance for raising the height of the Sardar Sarovar Dam from 110.64m up to 121.92m
10) 2006: On March 17th , a peaceful protest starts in Delhi outside Jantar Mantar against the clearance
11) 2006: On March 29th, Medha Patkhar, alongwith three representatives from the Narmada Valley, Jamsing Nargave from village Amlali in Badwani district (Madhya Pradesh), Bhagwatibai Jatpuria from village Nissarpur in Dhar district (Madhya Pradesh) begin a fast unto death
12) 2006: Medha Patkhar gives time till April 9th to the government to make public proposed action following which she will break her fast

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