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Govt will rehabilitate displaced, Medha must break fast: Patil

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New Delhi, Apr 17 (UNI) Home Minister Shivraj Patil today assured Narmada Bachao Andolan leaders that the government will make all possible efforts to fulfil its responsibility to rehabilitate the people displaced by the Sardar Sarovar Dam project and urged Ms Medha Patkar to break her fast in deference to the Supreme Court's order.

''We value her(Medha Patkar's) philosophy and her desire to help the poor people vary much, but the country will feel relieved if she gives up her fast in deference to what the court has said,'' Mr Patil said while addressing the 'National Meet on Advantage Rural India' organised by the Confederation of NGOs of Rural India here.

The Home Minister admitted that it was the responsibility of the government to rehabilitate the people displaced by the dam and said that the Centre would provide all help to the state governments to fulfill this responsibility .

''It is our duty, both of the Centre and the state governments, to fully rehabilitate the people who have been displaced and on that, there would be no compromise. But in the meanwhile, individuals should not suffer,'' he said.

Mr Patil said though he was not an authority on the subject, he could say, being part of the government, that rehabilitation of people affected due to the dam would not be a problem and there would be no funds constraints.

However, the project would continue as per the Supreme Court's decison and drinking water and power generated would also be given to rural people and tribals of the area.

He said the rehabilitation work would be completed through the state governments and the Centre would provide them all assistance to achieve this.

Mr Patil was reacting to CNRI Chairman and former Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission Mohan Dharia's appeal to the government to rehabilitate all the outsees before October 31, 2006 as per the court's judgement and request NBA leader Medha Patkar to break her fast.

He had also urged the goverment to carefully consider all the pros and cons before taking up any major project in future especially those involving inter-linking of river. He stressed the need for giving priority to micro-watershed management and the government should be cautious and said take care of the environment also.

UNI AJ RR PC1937

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