Social activist and pioneer of the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) movement, Medha Patkar on Tuesday ended her nine-day long hunger strike in Madhya Pradesh following discussions with Chief Minister Kamal Nath’s emissary and former chief secretary S C Behar at Chota Barda in Barwani district of the state.
Patkar was on a hunger strike since August 25 after the Gujarat government decided to raise the water level at the Sardar Sarovar dam without making proper arrangements for the people who are living in nearby villages. She had demanded proper rehabilitation facilities for the residents.
After discussions, Behar offered Patkar lemon juice to end her hunger strike in support of those affected due to the Sardar Sarovar Dam. Besides her, six other members, including four women, also ended their fast after the talks, a senior official of the state’s public relations department said.
Behar, besides conveying Kamal Nath’s concern to Patkar, also informed her about efforts made by the Madhya Pradesh government for lowering of the water level in the Sardar Sarovar dam whose backwaters have inundated various parts in Madhya Pradesh.
The NBA leaders led by Patkar will now hold discussions with the officials of the Narmada Valley Development Authority (NVDA) on September 9. Chief Minister Kamal Nath in a letter to Patkar on Monday urged her to end the hunger strike.
The state’s Chief Secretary SR Mohanty also wrote to the activist informing her of the steps taken by the Madhya Pradesh government to help the affected people. Veteran Bhopal social worker and economist Rajendra Kothari accompanied Mr Behar on the occasion.
Former MLA Sunilam said that Patkar’s health worsened on Sunday night and that many villages were at the verge of being flooded. The water level of the dam has reached 138.68 metres. The dam was being filled but the water was not being released towards Gujarat which has triggered a fear of flood in around 190 villages. The water has already reached 100 villages.