NBA stages demo against NCA attitude
NARMADA BACHAO Andolan (NBA) activists staged a demonstration in front of the Narmada Control Authority (NCA) office here this morning to protest against what they termed as the latter?s callous attitude towards rehabilitation of Sardar Sarovar Project affected persons in Madhya Pradesh.india Updated: Apr 18, 2006 13:50 IST
NARMADA BACHAO Andolan (NBA) activists staged a demonstration in front of the Narmada Control Authority (NCA) office here this morning to protest against what they termed as the latter’s callous attitude towards rehabilitation of Sardar Sarovar Project affected persons in Madhya Pradesh.
Since the NCA Director (Rehabilitation) Dr Afroz Ahmed and Secretary Mukesh Chauhan were away in New Delhi to clarify on rehabilitation, the protestors withdrew after chanting slogans for some time. The NBA agitation to protest the irregularities in awarding compensation to the oustees entered the 12th day today.
The Medha Patkar-led organisation has found valid reasons to protest after three Union ministers who visited Dhar and Barwani districts in the first week of this month said in their report that rehabilitation and resettlement existed merely on paper and the State Government’s claim of giving compensation to PAPs as per Supreme Court directions was far from truth.
NCA had granted permission to raise the SSP dam height on the basis of Rehabilitation and Resettlement Sub Group and Grievance Redressal Authority reports (GRA), where both the agencies appeared satisfied with R & R work.
Union Water Resources Minister Prof Saifuddin Soz, Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Meira Kumar and Minister of State in Prime Minister Office Prithviraj Chavan in their assessment note submitted to Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh insisted that the State leadership should exhibit political will to complete the gigantic task. It said that practice to award cash in place of land should be stopped to curb corrupt practices.
The ministers observed that there was no moral and legal justification for deducting Rs 1 lakh as income tax for every unit of Rs 10 lakh given as settlement award. Insisting that government must explore a better system of redressal of grievances, the Group of Ministers (GoM) added that location of Chairman at Bhopal increased oustees’ hardships as his visits to Indore were few and far. Minister maintained that the R&R Sub Groups and GRA did not visit the sites in last six years.
Deputed by Prime Minister to assess ground realities, the GoM visited Khalghat, Dharampuri, Lakhangaon, Borlai 1,2,3, Awalda, Piplud and Nisarpur in addition to Picchodi this month before submitting `A brief note on the assessment of resettlement and rehabilitation sites and submergence of villages of Sardar Sarovar Project’ to him on April 9.
The Communist Party of India (Marxist) has demanded halting of the construction work on the Sardar Sarovar dam till the rehabilitation work was completed.
CPI (M) district secretary Kailash Limbodia said that the authority had given permission to begin work raising the height of the dam despite rehabilitation of the dam affected remaining incomplete.
The dam was needed to supply water needs of parched Gujarat and power to the electricity starved Madhya Pradesh. The party empathised with these issues and did not have the intention of debarring the people of both states from fulfilling their wants, however, the BJP Government in Gujarat and Congress-led Government at the Centre were hiding the stark realities of rehabilitation and fomenting regional tensions.
The team of central ministers, which had visited the State recently to see the rehabilitation work, had agreed that there was plenty more work to be done before the affected could be called rehabilitated. Limbodia demanded that the report of the ministers be tabled in the Parliament and made public.
Party activists gathered at 11 am at the Vijay Nagar Square and took out a rally to the authority office. The party leaders in their speech extolled that though development was necessary it could not be achieved at human cost.