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Medha: PM panel holds no water

Launching her yatra here to expose the government claims on rehabilitation of the Sardar Sarovar dam oustees, Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) leader Medha Patkar today criticised Prime Minister Manmohan Singh?s decision to form a three-member committee on resettlement as NBA was not consulted.

india Updated: Apr 26, 2006 13:13 IST

Launching her yatra here to expose the government claims on rehabilitation of the Sardar Sarovar dam oustees, Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) leader Medha Patkar today criticised Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s decision to form a three-member committee on resettlement as NBA was not consulted.

She said NBA would not accept the recommendations of any agency or committee unless it makes it mandatory for the government to award compensation according to the directives of the Supreme Court and the Narmada Water Dispute Tribunal.

Addressing a public meeting at Holkar cenotaphs at Krishnapura to launch the Pol Khol Yatra (aimed at exposing the lies of the government on rehabilitation), Patkar said political parties should spell out their role on relief package.
Social activist Swami Agnivesh, actors Aamir Khan and Nana Patekar, and filmmaker Sagarika, who were supposed to participate in the yatra, could not make it.

Former Devi Ahilya Vishwa Vidyalaya vice-chancellor Dr Bharat Chhaparwal and Bhartiya Janta Yuva Morcha activist Sunil Shinde addressed the NBA public meeting.

Addressing a modest gathering of about 150 NBA activists and supporters, Patkar called   upon the youths to join her yatra.  “Pol Khol Yatra is significant as it will reveal the difference between truth and falsehood. There have been atrocities and corruption in the name of rehabilitation,” she said.

Patkar earlier told reporters that the government cannot neutralize NBA’s public movement by hammering false figures. Further construction of the Narmada dam would not be allowed unless proper rehabilitation is ensured.

The Madhya Pradesh government today filed a reply at the Supreme Court on rehabilitation. Patkar said the next course of action would be decided after the Supreme Court hearing on May 1 where 48 PAPs (project-affected persons) have filed petition on behalf of NBA.

Pol Khol Yatra will cover about 10 villages of Barwani, Dhar and Jhabua districts in the next three days before returning to Indore on April 28. After touring Dharampuri, Khalghat today, a public meeting will be held at Barwani tomorrow.