Monday, September 10, 2012
can be translated as seeking truth on water. This is what villagers in Ghogalgaon village in the state of Madhya Pradesh did...they stayed in water for 17 days to seek compensation from the state government, whose decision to raise the water level in the Omkareshwar Dam threatened to flood their lands. Following the protests, the government announced that it would reduce the levels of water released, provide compensation, and rehabilitate villagers. Similar protests however are continuing in other villages, where the government reportedly is releasing water at levels above that approved by the Supreme Court of India. These protests represent continuing efforts by the Narmada Bachao Andolan to ensure that victims of dam projects receive fair compensation as directed by the Supreme Court. A report of the Jal Satyagraha can be found here
However, the fact that it takes 17 days of protest by villagers standing in water signals a failure in the legal process. Despite extensive Supreme Court intervention, the procedure for at least ensuring that villagers will be compensated is apparently not in place. Perhaps, a more structure legislation would be a better approach to ensure that villagers are provided their fair compensation, not only for the lost land, but also for lost economic opportunities.