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Sonia assures NBA to take up matter with PM

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, Apr 5 (UNI) Congress president Sonia Gandhi today assured Narmada Bachao Andolan acitivists of taking up the issue of raising the height of the Sardar Sarovar Dam and rehabilitation of those displaced with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Mrs Gandhi said she was concerned over the issue and would speak to the Dr Singh to take a considerate view on it, according to activists who went to seek her intervention.

On the other hand, former Prime Ministers V P Singh and I K Gujral today wrote a letter to the Prime Minister requesting him to intervene into the matter and stop construction work at the Narmada Dam site till the report of the team, being sent by the government, is submitted.

As the report would take nearly six days to assess the situation in Narmada Valley before it is submitted, work at the site should be stopped in view that Ms Medha Patkar's condition was critical, said the letter to the PM quoting Supreme Court guidelines on the issue.

Also, doctors looking after NBA leader Medha Patkar, on fast for the last eight days at Jantar Mantar here, have said that the next 48 hrs were crucial for the frail leader.

Meanwhile, the government team comprising Union Water Resources Minister Saifuddin Soz, Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Meira Kumar and Minister of State in Prime Minister's Office (PMO) Prithviraj Chauhan which was to leave for the site today, will now leave tomorrow for its 'on-the-spot' study report on the Sardar Sarovar Dam.

The reason given was that the programme of the team had not been finalised.

The team, which is to visit the affected families in the villages and the rehabilitation sites, would particularly take note of the areas where rehabilitation has not been done as indicated by the NBA in its memorandum to the Ministry of Water Resources, before submitting its report on April 9.

Mr Soz had yesterday reaffirmed the government's commitment to ensure that rehabilitation of the project affected families (PAFs) of the dam would be "done fully and satisfactorily", before submergence, in consonance with the Supreme Court orders.

UNI AN PA RN1858

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