Modi appeals to Manmohan to raise height of Narmada dam – ‘Rehabilitation of over 2 lakh tribals, farmers still pending’
NEW DELHI: The Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) on Monday urged the Union government not to accede to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s demand to raise the height of the Narmada dam to its final level even when social and environmental compliances with regard to displaced families were lagging.
The dam’s height at present is 122 metres.
In a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, NBA leader Medha Patkar and her colleagues said Gujarat’s plea to raise the dam’s height was “once again an attempt to bring political pressure by flouting aws and misleading the authorities and people, especially those in the Kutch region, with unrealistic promises and no real facts and benefits.”
“Mr. Modi knows well that the project is not cleared on the social and environmental grounds by the respective sub-groups of the Narmada Control Authority, as per the directives of the Supreme Court in 2000. He cannot and should not, therefore, bring political pressure on the Prime Minister to clear the project or seek further funds from the Centre,” the letter said.
Ms. Patkar reminded the Prime Minister of his commitment, through a special letter given to the Supreme Court, to comply with the Narmada Tribunal Award in ensuring rehabilitation of the entire project-affected people during her 21-day fast and the NBA agitation at Jantar Mantar here in 2006.
Rehabilitation and resettlement of over 2,00,000 tribals, farmers and fisher folk in densely populated communities was still pending in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat due to inadequacy of land.
Corruption to the tune of Rs. 500 crore was under investigation by a judicial commission of inquiry in Madhya Pradesh exposing that farmers were yet to receive their land entitlements.
“The Prime Minister’s said promise, based on a legal mandate, is yet to be fulfilled. The Supreme Court’s judgments also lay down for clearance by the rehabilitation and environmental sub-groups of the Narmada Control Authority, as well as consent by the Grievance Redressal Authorities of the three States for any further clearance to the project,” she said adding that the Centre should not give in to pressure from Mr. Modi.