Jalsindhi Update

Date 27th Feb 2007

Jalsindhi Update
Hello from India. We're here in Mumbai filming our new documentary (yup, the same one we've been working on since 2004), so took a train, bus and boat to the Narmada Valley to visit Luharia and his family, stars of our 2002 film, Drowned Out.
Things have gone from very bad to even worse in the valley. For the latest news of the campaign to stop the dams, see the Friends of Narmada website.
Franny Armstrong
February 2007

Drowned Out Director Franny Armstrong with Luharia, Bulgi and their kids
At the end of 'Drowned Out', filmed in 2001, the monsoon rains failed and Luharia's village, Jalsindhi, temporarily escaped submergence. We went back in 2003 to film an update for a PBS version of the film - which later became 'The Dammed' - by which point Luharia's house and farmland had all gone.
Now, in February 2007, the two villages on the opposite bank to Jalsindhi - Domkhedi and Nimgavan - have both been completely submerged. About 100 houses, plus all the farmland, have gone. Luharia wasn't exactly sure where the people are now, but he knows that nobody drowned.
Just before his house was submerged in 2003, Luharia and his extended family built a new one higher up the hill. Then they did the same for his two brothers as their houses went under. So most of the villagers are still living in the same area, just higher up. But, as most of the farmland has gone, they are very short of food and relying on donations. They are all very thin, as you can see from the pictures.
At the current height of the dam (110 metres) all of Jalsindhi and all the surrounding hills will be submerged when the reservoir is allowed to fill up to it's full height. This can happen at any time - it's up to the Government and dam operators - but is most likely to happen during this coming summer monsoon.
The village has come to the decision that they will move to a resettlement site. If you've seen our film, you'll know what this means.

The top of the tree poking out of the water is right next to Luharia's house

Luharia in front of his submerged house

Two coconut trees are the only visible sign of Nimgavan village, former home to 120 families

Luharia's new house on top of the hill

The Hapeshwar Temple, just downstream from Jalsindhi, was half submerged in 2003...

.... by 2007, a flag on the top is all that remains