U.S. Water News Online
NEW DELHI, India -- Police arrested more than 1,500 people
protesting a government decision to raise the height of a massive dam
which they say will deluge 60 villages in western India, a spokesman
for the demonstrators said.
Those arrested and released included Booker Prize-winning author
Arundhati Roy, who has supported the anti-dam protest movement in
The protesters converged on the Maheshwar dam site in Madhya
Pradesh state, 450 miles south of New Delhi, said Shripad
Dharmadhikari, a spokesman for the Save Narmada Campaign, in New
Delhi. Roy left the area, but nearly 1,200 people continued the
protest, Dharmadhikari said.
Roy has donated $35,000 of her 1997 Booker Prize money for ``The
God of Small Things'' to the Save Narmada Campaign. She has called
for alternative ways of achieving the government's goals, such as
rain water storage, building irrigation canals, and finding other
Authorities said the proposed dam will bring drinking water to 40
million people, irrigate land, and generate electricity. But critics
say the project will displace 20,000 people in 60 villages.
The Sardar Sarovar Dam -- one of the largest of thousands of
planned dams -- was raised to 289 feet in February, and the Narmada
River has crept within 10 feet of villages in three Indian states
Construction on the dams began 10 years ago and about $1.74
billion has been spent on the project so far.
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