Dam issue: Gujarat CM Modi to fast for 51 hours
The Gujarat CM is protesting against Govt's move to temporarily suspend further construction of Narmada Dam.india Updated: Apr 15, 2006 23:39 IST
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday decided to go on a 51-hour fast at Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad from Sunday to protest against Government's move to temporarily suspend further construction of the Narmada Dam.
Addressing a crowded press conference soon after the meeting of the Review Committee of the Narmada Control Authority (NCA), Modi hit back at Union Water Resources Minister Saifuddin Soz saying that he has no authority to recommend suspension of the dam work.
Observing that the Centre was bowing before the activists of Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), he alleged that the Centre had already given a promise to the NBA activists to stall the project which was against the spirit of Supreme Court judgement.
Modi said that he would undertake the 51 hours fast at the Sabarmati Ashram from 1400 hours from tomorrow to register his protest against the developments and appealed to the people of the state to remain claim.
"After the decision of the Authority on March eight, Soz had given a statement that the decision of the Authority is premature which indicated that the Government had premeditated this move".
Asked to comment on Soz's remarks that the issue would be referred to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Modi said that today's meeting has not recommended that the matter be taken to the Prime Minister.
To a question on Bollywood star Aamir Khan joining the anti-dam protestors, Modi did not say anything directly. However, he described those agitating against the project as working against development.
He wanted to know what the so-called supporters of rehabilitation of the affected people were doing when the four lakh Kashmiri migrants were living on the footpaths.
Noting that the resolution moved by other members of the Review Committee -- Soz, Union Minister A Raja and Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh -- to stall the work of the dam met with a tie, Modi said it was "unfortunate" that the line taken by the Centre and the Maharashtra Chief Minister was "anti-development".
He pointed out that this was a project of national importance in which the concerned States had already put in an investment of Rs 21,000 crore in the last about 16 years.
"If the dam height is not allowed to be raised upto 121.92 meters, the country will lose 1,450 MW of power and the water will not reach 4,000 thirsty villages of Gujarat and Rajasthan for drinking as well as for irrigation," he said.
The dam work was proceeding as the Supreme Court order and there and there was enough mechanism for the grievances redressal of the affected people, he said.
Referring to Prime Minister's ambitious Bharat Nirman programme aimed at improving infrastructure facilities in the country, Modi said the "nation should decide whether it wanted Medha Patkar or megawatt".
On the stand of Maharashtra at the meeting, he said that while Maharashtra would get a lion's share of about 400 MW of power, the Chief Minister was "pushing the state into dark".
When an autonomous body like NCA has decided to allow the raising of the height after following due process prescribed by the apex court, the Centre has now tried to put hurdles in the path of the project which is not acceptable to the people of the affected states, he added.