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Mah Govt's committee members oppose Sarovar dam height increase

Written by: Staff
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Mumbai, Mar 28 (UNI) Two official members of the committees appointed by the Maharashtra Government for the relief and rehabilitation of the Sardar Sarovar Project-Affected Persons (PAPs) have demanded that the increase in the dam height be stopped till all the affected people are fully rehabilitated.

''We are extremely distressed and concerned at the decisions taken by some government and official bodies. A decision has been taken by the Narmada Control Authority (NCA) to increase the height of the dam from the existing 110 metres to 121 metres, based on the Action Taken Report (ATR) of the three affected state governments of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat,'' Prof S Parasuraman (Member, Overview Committee) and Prof D Saldanha (Member, Planning Committee), here today.

The two experts from Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), in a statement, regretted that the NCA took the decision ''despite the fact that the rehabilitation of households, mostly tribals and marginalised sections of societies, has yet to be completed according to the Government of Maharashtra (GOM)'s own documents''.

They the GOM's status report acknowledged that more than 300 ''declared'' households were yet to be rehabilitated and over 4,000 households had their cases pending before the Supreme Court and GOM-appointed Grievance Redressal Authority (GAA).

The monitoring and evaluation conducted on the directives of GOM confirmed that 1,174 ''declared'' Project-Affected Households residing in the submerging villages had yet to be rehabilitated.

In addition, at least 2,381 households, still residing in the submerging villages, had their cases yet to be decided.

Based on these details, the two experts said there had been a ''violation of the principles of social justice and due process, a contravention of the conditions set by the Narmada Water Disputes Tribal Awards and the judgements of the apex court. From all accounts, the situation in MP and Gujarat is even worse as regards rehabilitation.'' Seeking intervention of the Centre in the matter, they urged it to assess the ground situation independently and cease all further raising of the dam height to provide time for the asessment and rehabilitation. Also, They also asked the Maharashtra Government to write to the Centre providing an accurate picture of the total pending rehabilitation confirmed by the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) and that all persons detained or arrested in connection with democratic protest on these issues be immediately released.

UNI VP MAZ SC RS1820

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