Basharat Peer in New Delhi
The children were disappointed at not meeting President K R Narayanan.
But the disappointment was only fleeting, as the kids from the Jeevan Shalas (Life Schools) in Narmada valley were able to meet a close aide of the president, Joint Secretary S K Sharif.
On a country wide jeevan yatra (journey of life), the children had requested the president for a meeting to invite him to pay a visit to the Narmada valley to have a first hand account of the situation.
Though the President, recuperating from an illness, could not personally meet the children, he had deputed his joint secretary to hear the grievances of the children.
The 12 member delegation of the children of Narmada talked with him for more than half-an-hour explaining their condition and the compulsion to take to such a kind of action.
Sharif promised the kids he would bring a reply from the president, said Narmada Bachao Andolan activists, who had accompanied the children.
The children, affected by the Sardar Sarovar and Maan dams in the Narmada Valley, presented a handmade get-well card and a hand painted tapestry for the president.
In their memorandum, the children declared their right to childhood and happiness and requested the president's timely intervention to save their schools, their land and houses and their future.
Two more memorandums signed by people from all walks of life in Delhi, including former prime minister V P Singh, former Janata Dal leader Surendra Mohan, Justice Rajendra Sacchar, and others were also given to Sharif.
Earlier on Tuesday, the jeevan yatra, with over 70 children of Narmada Jeevan Shalasgot a rousing welcome at the India Gate in New Delhi.
About 400 people belonging to all walks of life, including students from different colleges in the city, children, intellectuals, teachers, activists, politicians, trade unionists and artists were present.
Jeevan yatra left the banks of Narmada river on August 16 from Kasarawad near Baba Amte's residence, went through various cities and villages like Indore, Bhopal, Shivpuri and Gwalior, before coming to Delhi.
Jeevan yatra, after its halt in Delhi, would proceed through Jaipur, Deoli and Udaipur before ending its journey at the banks of Narmada river.
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