New Delhi, Apr 20 (UNI) Union Water Resources Minister Saifuddin Soz today assured the Himachal Pradesh government that the Centre would discharge its constitutional duty to protect the rights of Pong, Bhakra and Thein dam oustees.
''The Centre is sensitive to the rehabilitation of various dam project oustees, and it will discharge its constitutional duty to protect the rights of the affected people,'' Mr Soz told Himachal Pradesh ministers Kaul Singh Thakur and Sat Mahajan, when they urged him to settle the long-pending problems of Pong, Bhakra and Thein dam oustees.
The two state ministers, who called on Mr Soz here this afternoon, asked him to convene a meeting of the representatives of Himachal, Punjab and Rajasthan to amicably settle the issue to avoid time-consuming arbitration.
They said the displaced families were facing hardships as the commitments made by Punjab and Rajasthan to rehabilitate them had not been implemented in true spirit.
The two ministers also urged the Centre to clear all the irrigation schemes for which detailed project reports had been submitted by Himachal Pradesh.
They also demanded central assistance for undertaking flood control measures, and strengthening of the Regional Directorate of Central Water Commission, Dharmshala by providing two additional rigs and other latest machinery and infrastructure, a Himachal Bhawan press release said.
UNI YJ AD GC1707