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In neck-deep water for days, villagers demand land

Sep 06, 2012 09:47 AM IST India India

Khandwa: Villagers in Madhya Pradesh have been protesting in neck-deep water for almost two weeks now. Almost 130 of them are demanding compensation and land for their land that has gotten submerged after the height of two dams was raised.

It's the ultimate act of protest, seen during anti-dam protests on the Narmada river in the past, and this time it's on near the Indira Sagar and Omkareshwar Dam in Madhya Pradesh.

51 residents of the village, Ghogalgaon and the surrounding villages, have been sitting in the water for 12 days. It is not just the 51 villages who are campaigning, but there are other 100s of villages who are supporting them.

"We will protest till our demands are not met, till we don't get our land, even if we take the risk of dying," said one of teh protestors.

"I will beg if I have to. I am ready to die for this cause. I am ready to fast for a year," another proestor added.

The villagers who've stood in the rising waters for 12 days have a clear demand - if they are forced to give up their land, they must be compensated with land elsewhere. A Supreme Court judgement also states that land cannot be submerged prior to compensation. But the Madhya Pradesh government unilaterally decided to raise the level of the dam to 191 metre from 189 metre.

For its part, the government is playing the waiting game before the protesters tire.

Khandwa Collector Neeraj Dube said, "I understand the people's problems. I will try to resolve them."