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Rehab must for dam work: SC

THE SUPREME Court has warned the beneficiary states of the Sardar Sarovar Project that it will have no option but to halt work on the dam if proper relief and rehabilitation of the dam oustees is not ensured.

india Updated: Apr 18, 2006 12:26 IST

So who won?  Medha, Modi end fast; Centre wants a panel to find solution

THE SUPREME Court has warned the beneficiary states of the Sardar Sarovar Project that it will have no option but to halt work on the dam if proper relief and rehabilitation of the dam oustees is not ensured.

A three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Y.K. Sabharwal, issued the warning on Monday while seeking the views of all the concerned parties on the plea of the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) that work on raising the dam height be halted till the rehabilitation issue was satisfactorily addressed.

States get 1 week to reply

MP and Gujarat granted a week to submit views on NBA plea for stopping dam work as also the status of rehab

NBA directed to file a rejoinder within another one week

Centre free to take steps to resolve the controversy about rehabilitation

Following the court's observations, NBA leader Medha Patkar ended her 20-day fast in the Capital, while Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi called off his 51-hour fast in Ahmedabad.

The court granted one week to Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat to state their views on the NBA's plea for stopping dam work as also the status of relief and rehabilitation work carried out by their governments.It directed the NBA to file a rejoinder within another one week and directed listing of the matter on May 1.

The court clarified that the direction would not in any way preclude the central government from taking any steps to resolve the current controversy about rehabilitation in accordance with its earlier judgments.

Earlier in the day, Additional Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium said the government was committed to the project. He, however, admitted  there were certain "doubts" regarding the rehabilitation of the oustees. "Three ministers, who made a first-hand assessment, have in very strong language suggested that there are problems in rehabilitation," he said.

He sought an enabling order from the court to set up a high-level committee under the aegis of the prime minister to satisfactorily resolve the issue. The suggestion was welcomed by the court but it did not find favour with either the NBA or the Madhya Pradesh government.

The NBA's counsel said the PM would have stopped work on the project following the GoM's report if not for political concerns.