Millennium Post

Land as compensation for Jal Satyagraha oustees

Agreeing to the main demands of protesters who have undertaken a 'Jal Satyagraha' in Khandwa district, Madhya Pradesh government on Monday said they would be given land as compensation and the height of Omkareshwar Dam would be reduced.

The government has decided to give land to the displaced villagers and reduce the dam height to 189 metres, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said.

Both were key demands of protesters, who are standing in neck-deep water since August 25 to agitate for proper rehabilitation and compensation.

Also, a five-member committee has been set up to look into the problems of the dam oustees, he said after meeting their representatives led by BJP MLA Lokendra Singh Tomar.

In 2008 monetary compensation had been deposited directly in the account of the oustees and the benefit of land would be available only to those who returned the amount within 90 days, he said. These oustees would be provided government land with the help of banks, he said.

The Chief Minister added that his government understood the 'pain' of the protesters and hence it has been decided to limit the dam height to 189 meters.

This would mean that the dam's irrigation potential would be reduced by 20,000 hectares and 120 MW of power would have to be forgone, he said.

The government was committed to safeguard the interests of those displaced. The dam on river Narmada was being constructed in the interest of the state and the government wants to make agriculture a profitable business, he said.
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