Narmada Canals CAD Plans not yet approved by MoEF
Jairam Ramesh to give a hearing to NBA
MoEF Secretary summoned: Affidavit filed by Ministry
Canals in the irrigated areas is a national wastage: NBA seeks review
A Three Judge Special Narmada Bench of the Supreme Court including Hon’ble Justices Shri B.N. Kirpal, Shri J.M. Panchal and Shri Deepak Verma heard the case of Narmadacanals of Omkareshwar and Indira Sagar, with the Solicitor General of India present in the Court, as per the order dated 24-2-2011. The Apex Courtpermitted the Ministry of Environment and Forests to take a decision on the Command Area Development Plans of both the canal projects on the basis of the decision of the Environmental Appraisal Committee. Recording the demands of NBA and the statement by the Solicitor General, the Court agreed that Shri Jairam Ramesh, Minister of Environment and Forests, must give a hearing to Narmada Bachao Andolan and the canal-affected farmers before the final decision is taken.
It may be noted that the Madhya Pradesh Government and its Narmada Valley Development Authority was compelled to submit a huge load of documents including volumes of CAD Plans on 23rd March, after the Apex Court’s interim order in February 2011. It may be noted that these plans and much more were due to be submitted in 1989 for ISP and 1994 for OSP, as per the conditional clearance granted by the MoEF, but a gross delay of 15-20 years has occurred.
Narmada Bachao Andolan, looking into the plan summaries and some village plans have brought out inadequacies since not much of the Environmental Action Plans, but ‘Engineering Action Plan’, is what is presented in the official documents. The levels of back water and submergence of SSP and Maheshwar dams are not shown in the plans or village maps nor is the Narmada river, which makes it clear that NVDA is out to conceal the fact that canals are constructed in the already irrigated (river, drains, wells) areas which are to unjustifiably destroy the prime agricultural land even when canal based irrigation is not needed and Gram Sabhas have resolved against the same.
NBA demands that such a huge national waste, in the form of mindless expenditure to the tune of crores of rupees of the best agricultural land needs to be avoided and all those persons (CAFs) losing land must be rehabilitated as per the Supreme Court’s orders of May 2010 and the M.P. Rehabilitation Policy. Rehabilitation was also a condition in the environmental clearance and hence needs to be monitored by the MoEF when rehabilitation has already severely affected
It may be recalled that the Supreme Court gave this order today, reviewing the Madhya Pradesh High Court’s judgement, which stayed all land excavation and excavation for the canals, but put forth a pre-condition of approval of the CAD Plans and directed rehabilitation of canal affected with land for land to those CAFs losing more than 60% land. Shockingly, even after one full year of the Order, not one family affected or to be affected by the ISP and OSP canals (losing even 60% to 100%) is rehabilitated with the legal entitlement of alternative cultivable land.
The MoEF filed an affidavit yesterday stating that some members of the its Environment Appraisal Committee have appreciated the CAD Plans of GoMP (submitted for the 1st time by the GoMP) in their Meetings held on the 29th April and May 10th and informed the Court that the Ministry shall take a decision in the next 15 days, based on the final view taken by the EAC’s Chairman.
Although the NVDA has submitted voluminous plans, they are most inadequate and flawed plans and need to be reviewed and re-checked through a through field investigation by a team of the MoEF itself and should not be approved in the mean time. It must also be stressed that mere plans are not yet sufficient, but execution of other preventive measures must precede any further work on canal construction.
NBA shall continue to agitate for the rights of the canal-affected and also the protection of the riverine ecology and the fertile agriculture, both in the Court and in the valley, since the fate of thousands of families and not less than 10,000 hectares of the best of agricultural land is to be affected by the Indira Sagar & Omkareshwar canal networks.
The next date of the hearing is on July 19th.
Mukesh Bhagoria Narsing Bhilala Shrikanth
(Ph: 09423965153 / 09179148973)