29 April, 2006

NBA and Rehabilitation

From an exclusive report in today's The Hindu

A Sardar Sarovar Project Status Report submitted by the Union Water Resources Ministry to the Prime Minister's Office on March 22 — after Narmada Bachao Andolan activists went on an indefinite dharna here — nails the claims of the States concerned on rehabilitation of dam-displaced families.

The report reveals that 36,921 families in 226 villages in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra will be affected consequent to the raising of the height of the Narmada dam to 121.92 metres. 27,934 families were affected in three states at the height of 110.64 metres. The report clearly shows that 13,233 families remained to be resettled in Madhya Pradesh alone at 110.64 metres.

Even when the Centre was armed with this crucial, authentic information, it sought to put the burden of proving the number of displaced families on the NBA. The NBA protested against raising the height of the dam, saying about 35,000 displaced families between the heights of 110.64 and 121.92 metres remained to be rehabilitated.

The Narmada tribunal award and the Supreme Court held that families facing submergence should be rehabilitated at least six months ahead of raising the dam height, by December 31, 2005.

The NBA has demanded suspension of construction of the dam until the rehabilitation of the displaced families is completed as per the law and not with cash compensation.

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