State Cong in fix over oustees? rehab issue
THE STATE Congress seems to be in a dilemma on the rehabilitation issue. It is keen to fight against the BJP Government over inadequate rehabilitation of the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) oustees but is averse to be seen standing with Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) leader Medha Patkar.india Updated: Apr 29, 2006 01:31 IST
THE STATE Congress seems to be in a dilemma on the rehabilitation issue. It is keen to fight against the BJP Government over inadequate rehabilitation of the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) oustees but is averse to be seen standing with Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) leader Medha Patkar.
Both top State Congress leaders Subhash Yadav and Jamuna Devi are known for their antagonism towards Medha Patkar from the days they were part of the Digvijay Singh Government. That partly explained State Congress’ inaction on the issue when Medha Patkar was on hunger strike.
It was only after Union Human Resource Development Minister (HRD) Minister Arjun Singh openly snubbed the PCC during his recent visit to Indore that ‘inertness’ finally ended.
Subsequently, State Congress chief Subhash Yadav formed a committee under his chairmanship to visit the Narmada Valley for a reality check of the rehabilitation works.
While other Congress leaders are fighting shy of criticising Medha in view of the UPA stand on the rehabilitation,
Jamuna Devi is undaunted. She maintains that Medha and her NBA are receiving foreign funds.
Talking to the Hindustan Times, Jamuna Devi said her constituency Kukchi was amid submergence areas and she had been fighting for the cause of PAFs for a long time. But, fighting for them and ‘using’ them to hog the limelight are two different things, she said.
“Medha creates an air and goes off. Her concernis to occupy the space in media and not proper rehabilitation of Sardar Sarovar oustees. The NBA has always raised a hue and cry over rehabilitation but never worked towards it,” she said.
She clarified that her reservations about the NBA movement still stood though apparent commonality of cause might give an impression that they were together.
She, however, said that NVDA was not carrying out proper rehabilitation of oustees and unless they were provided basic civic amenities at rehabilitation sites, it was absurd to hope that they would move to those places. Frequent transfer of top officials in NVDA and change of ministers in-charge of NVDA has only worsened the situation, she added.
Jamuna Devi stressed that rehabilitation of all PAFs in next three months as directed by the Supreme Court was virtually impossible and the State Government would once again present a ‘fake’ affidavit in the court in this regard.