Sunday, January 09, 2011

Dam project: Denied permission for rally, villagers go on door-to-door campaign - Indian Express, 10th January 2011


Dam project: Denied permission for rally, villagers go on door-to-door campaign

Indian Express, 10th January 2011

Villagers from Dharampur in Valsad district and Nashik in Maharashtra have started a door-to-door campaign in the remote areas along the state border in the Dangs after they were denied permission to hold a rally against a proposed river-linking project.

Dangs Superintendent of Police Sarath Singhal said the villagers were denied permission for the rally because the "meetings were motivated by outsiders". Singhal, who was participating in a badminton championship in Delhi, did not elaborate further, saying, "I do not remember them by their names. We would have given them permission had they come to us."

The villagers have recently formed a body ­ 208 ­ to hold awareness camps for nearly 75 villages in Valsad, the Dangs in Gujarat, and Nashik in Maharashtra where a survey is being carried out by the National Water Development Authority (NWDA) for the proposed Par-Tapi-Narmada river-linking project.

"We spoke to the Waghai police officers who told us not to carry placards in the Dangs," said Jaiprakash Mahala, a protesting villagers, adding that they had not sought permission for the rally because they did not plan to go to any government office. "This is a peaceful gathering to make the villagers in this area aware about the proposed dam project. They should know their rights and we are organising meetings for that," said Mahala.

He added that a meeting has been called at Chasmandva in Valsad on Monday in which about 1,500 villagers are expected to take part. Similar meetings were organised last week at Rakshah Bhuwan in Nashik and Tutakheda and Khadki villages in Valsad.

According to NWDA officials, the proposal is currently lying with the Gujarat government. Under the project, seven dams have been proposed on the tributaries of Par and Tapi rivers. Further, the project plans to connect the Par and Tapi basin to the Narmada canal system.



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