Jal Satyagraha Ends? Khandwa Farmers Claim Partial Victory!
The watery ordeal of the Khandwa farmers was supposed to have finally ended on the 17th day today after the government of Madhya Pradesh agreed to their basic demands. The state Chief Minister assured the traumatized farmers that the water level of the Omkareshwar Dam will be lowered from 196 to 189 meters and the affected farmers would be given ‘land for land’ compensation.
Media attention, though belated, finally brought the issue into national or even international focus and the authorities were forced to bow down to the demands.
But the farmers who stood in neck deep water for 17 days claimed only a partial victory as they felt that delaying tactics would be applied considering their present weary condition and therefore as per some reports they refused to come out of the water. They said that with the increased water level of the dam to 196 meters the expanding reservoirs had already submerged many low lying areas, and they actually wanted to see if water receded after the government assurance. They would come out only if the water where they continued to stand actually receded.
For the moment let us welcome at least the partial victory that the farmers have managed out of the floundering system of the largest democracy of the world. And thank God there are no casualties except for some extremely sore, shriveled and bruised feet of the suffering agitators. The price for a ‘partial’ democratic victory? Meantime another watery movement is going on still in the adjacent Indira Sagar dam where the agitating farmers demand the level of the dam be reduced from 262 to 260 meters.
Farmers toil hard to feed the whole nation. Their interests must be protected.