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SC declines to stop construction on Narmada

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New Delhi, Apr 17 (UNI) The Supreme Court today declined to stay the ongoing construction work at the Sardar Sarovar Dam, taking note of a similar stand taken by both the UPA government at the Centre and BJP-ruled state of Gujarat that the dam was a measure of progress.

A bench comprising Chief Justice Y K Sabharwal, Mr Justice K G Balakrishnan and Mr Justice S B Sinha, while adjourning the hearing to May 1, however, warned the Centre that if relief and rehabilitaion measures for the oustees were found inadequate then this court would be left with no option but to stop the construction of the dam.

The warning came after Senior counsel for Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) Shanti Bhushan quoted from the report of the group of union ministers which showed that relief and rehabilition measures were virtually non-existent and the Supreme Court orders issued in 2000 and 2005 were being flouted.

Mr Bhushan also contended that if the construction of the dam was not immediately stopped then 16,000 additional families shall also come within submergence zone.

With the onset of monsoon these tribal families and farmers would be completly at the mercy of the nature, he added.

The Counsel also submitted that such attitude will encourage naxal activities if the downtrodden get the impression that they are suffering at the cost of the mighty.

The Counsel also submitted that the displaced were to be rehabilitated by giving them alternative land with all civic amenities and the oustees were being forced to accept cash in lieu of land.

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