Bhopal, Sept. 10 (PTI): The Madhya Pradesh government today yielded to the main demands of protesters who have undertaken Jal Satyagraha in Khandwa, saying they would be given land as compensation and the height of Omkareshwar dam would be reduced.
A five-member committee too has been set up to look into the problems of the dam oustees.
The government has decided to give “land for land” to villagers who had been displaced and reduce the height of the dam on the Narmada river to 189 metre, chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said. These two were the key demands of the protesters, who had been standing in neck-deep water since August 25 to agitate for proper rehabilitation and compensation.
In 2008 monetary compensation had been deposited directly in the accounts of the oustees and the benefit of land would be available only to those who returned the amount within 90 days, Chouhan said.
He added that his government understood the “pain” of the protesters and so decided to reduce the height of the dam. This would mean that the dam’s irrigation potential would be reduced by 20,000 hectares and 120MW of power would have to be forgone, he said.
The Jal Satyagraha was launched under the aegis of Narmada Bachao Andolan.
The protesters had pointed out that under the Supreme Court directives, the rehabilitation of the oustees for the dam should have been completed at least six months before the land in the affected villages got submerged.