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NGOs, actors support Medha Patkar's demands ; seek action

Written by: Staff

Mumbai, Apr 3: Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), social activists and theatre personalities today came out in support of Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) leader Medha Patkar whose fast-unto-death in Delhi, demanding proper relief and rehabilitation to the people displaced due to the Sardar Sarovar Dam, entered the sixth day today.

The activists also warned that the Project-Affected People (PAPs), including tribals and farmers, in Maharashtra, would be forced to ''start some action'' in Mumbai if the state government failed to intervene immediately and brought the NBA leader's fast to an end. They said Ms Patkar's health was deteriorating by each passing day.

Voicing their support, Peasanta and Workers' Party (PWP) leader Prof N D Patil and actor Sadashiv Amrapurkar told reporters here that the Centre and state government had ''utterly failed'' to carry out relief and rehabilitation in the letter and spirit of the Supreme Court directives.

Ms Patkar's supporters regretted that Maharashtra had received only 20 MW of electricity against the 40 MW during the last 20 months despite all the sacrifices of PAPs.

Prof Patil pointed out that the number of families needed to be rehabilitated in Maharashtra had increased from around 1,200 to 5,000 now and was rising further.

Mr Amrapurkar charged the state's bureaucracy with creating ''obstacles'' in the implementation of the state cabinet's February 2005 decisions with regard to the PAPs'rehabilitation.

The activists said Union Ministers Meira Kumar and Saifuddin Soz had also visited Ms Patkar during her ongoing fast in Delhi.

Others who supported the cause included writer Arundhati Roy, CPM's Rajya Sabha MP Vrinda Karat and former Delhi High Court Chief Justice Rajinder Sachar.

Other prominent personalities present at the news conference included actress Ratna Pathak Shah, Anand Patwardhan, representatives of National Fishworkers' Forum, Lok Rajniti Manch and Shoshit Jan Andolan.


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