Bowing before the villagers who have been standing in neck-deep water for 17 days, MP government has agreed to reduce the water level of the Omkareshwar dam to 189 metres from the current 190.5 metres.
The Chief Minister also announced that the affected villagers will be given land-for-land within 90 days.
It has been decided that the villagers who will return 50 percent of the compensation allotted to them by the state government earlier will also be given land and rehabilitated.
The agitation, under the aegis of Narmada Bachao Andolan, had started a fortnight back. India has hailed this non-violent, inevitable struggle undertaken by the oustees and activists, braving the rising reservoir waters for 17 days. Protesters had developed rashes with their skin peeling off after staying submerged for so long.
The 520 MW Omkareshwar project is one of the several big dams on the Narmada river, built by the Narmada Hydroelectric Development Corporation a joint venture between NHPC Ltd and the government of Madhya Pradesh. Increasing the water level in the dam could submerge farmers’ lands spread across several villages.
The protesters were demanding alternative land, proper rehabilitation and resettlement work.
NBA had pointed out to the state government that as per the Supreme Court directives, the rehabilitation work should have been completed at least six months before the land in their village got submerged.
The state government finally took note of their plight on Friday and Mr. Chouhan directed the two ministers to take stock of the situation.
NBA activists then apprised the ministers that the court’s directions on ensuring proper rehabilitation of evacuees were being violated.