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Soz: No privatisation of water management

india Updated: Nov 13, 2006 15:21 IST
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THERE IS no scope for private players in water management in connection with the linking of rivers project, Union Minister of Water Resources Prof Saifuddin Soz said here on Sunday.

“Privatisation is yet to emerge in respect of harnessing water resources in the country,” Prof Soz told media persons on the sidelines of a function to inaugurate the newly built ‘Narmada Sadan’, the office complex of the Narmada Control Authority, at Vijay Nagar.

“As of now, there is no scope, but if at all it takes place, government will see to it that it (privatisation) does not impinge on the rights of the people.

We do not want privatisation for profit making, policy would be formed keeping in mind the common man,” he said answering a barrage of questions on the issue of inter-linking of rivers.

There were a lot of hurdles in linking of rivers but he said the government was sure it would bring development. There were also many an inter-state issues, he said, and cited examples of Goa-Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh-Maharashtra over respective rivers. “Even within the state, we have to poke our nose as we have to keep the larger interest of the people in mind,” he added.

To a question on resettlement and rehabilitation (R&R) in case of dams on Narmada, he said, “We have to have in place an unambiguous rehabilitation policy. We are working on it.”

Earlier, speaking after inaugurating the new NCA building, Prof Soz said, “Development is very necessary for taking India ahead, but we are taking care that development and rehabilitation go hand in hand.”

“R&R is an important issue in any developmental project, be it irrigation project or any other. Displacement is very painful and hence, it is imperative that the affected people get dues in letter and spirit.”

Complimenting NCA on the new building, he said, “Cohesive work would now be possible with all concerned offices and related department functioning from under the same roof.”

MP Sumitra Mahajan and Madhya Pradesh PWD Minister Kailash Vijayvargiya also spoke on the occasion. Citing example of the Yashwant Sagar project under JNNURM, Sumitra expressed hope that with Prof Soz around as the Union Water Resources Minister, Indore would face no trouble in getting clearance from his Ministry, as he has been cooperative in the past too. Vijayvargiya proposed to build approach roads for the Narmada Sadan under ‘Jan Bhagidari Yojana’ being implemented in the State. “If NCA is ready pay for cement, we can build proper roads for this beautiful building,” the former City mayor assured.

The programme started with the Union Minister cutting the ribbon, unveiling the stone plaque and then lighting of the lamp by the VIPs. NCA executive member A C Gupta gave the introductory speech while NCA Member (Civil) M K Sinha proposed the vote of thanks.

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