New Delhi, Apr 16 (UNI) Amid rising temperature in the corridors of political parties, the Supreme Court will hear tomorrow the petition filed by Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) alleging that the Centre and the concerned State governments were not pursuing the task of rehabilitating the displaced persons whose villages had disappeared as a result of raising height of Sardar Sarovar Dam.
A special three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Y K Sabharwal will decide tomorrow as to whether the Supreme Court orders in respect of rehabilitating the affected villagers to alternative sites were being complied with or not.
In 2005, permitting the authorities to raise the height of the controversial dam to 210 meters, the Court had directed the Centre, the States of Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat to expeditiously resettle lakhs of displaced tribals and villagers.
It may be noted that the Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi is starting his 51-hour hunger strike today in support of his demand to raise the height of the dam to 121 meters on the grounds that it would benefit the farmers of drought prone areas of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. According to Mr Modi, NBA was anti-development.
On the other hand, the on going hunger strike by NBA leader Medha Patkar in Delhi for speedy rehabilitation of displaced persons coupled with demand against the height of Narmada Dam has already forced the Central government to publically announce that the height of the dam shall not be raised.
It may also be noted that another Public Interest Litigation against Ms Patkar and her associates for launching an agitation against the project alleging that NBA was being mainly funded by US foreign Multi National Corporations was also pending in the Supreme Court.
The petitioner has also alleged that as per the vigilance report of Madhya Pradesh police department, activists of NBA were not allowing the government officials to discharge their duties.
With Bollywood star Aamir Khan jumping into the foray in support of NBA, the agitation has already taken an aggressivve turn.
The Congress has already declared Gujarat bandh today.
Other judges on the special bench are Mr Justice K G Balakrishnan and Mr Justice S B Sinha.
UNI AKS/SC SHB PC1109