Sunday, May 15, 2016

Madhya Pradesh "misbriefed" Supreme Court on Narmada oustees, said just 1038 oustee families left out: NBA

By Our Representative
In a clear indication of failure to get any positive indication in the wake of a Supreme Court hearing on Narmada dam oustees on May 13, the country's premier anti-dam organization, Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), has said that the Madhya Pradesh government has “successfully” misbriefed the apex court on Narmada dam oustees.

The NBA alleged, the Madhya Pradesh government  sent so far as to resort to “awful tactics, including unreliable affidavits", in order to show full rehabilitation, for ensuring that the Narmada dam is completed at the earliest.
The “briefing”, believes top social activist Medha Patkar-led NBA, has helped push the dam to “its ultimate height, moving towards closure of gates of the dam”, adding, this would “submerge all its black deeds that have cost the oustees a great deal.”
The apex court, even as allowing the dam to be completed up to 138.64 metres, had earlier ordered that gates of the dams should remain open the completion of the rehabilitation of all dam oustees. The Modi government has told the governments of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra -- all BJP ruled -- to work out ways so that the dam work is over before Gujarat goes to polls in December 2017.
“Madhya Pradesh government and its Narmada Valley Development Authority have given another blow to the process of eliminating corruption, preventing irregularity and illegality in rehabilitating the people affected by the Sardar Sarovar Project”, the NBA said in a statement.
Referring to the seven-year-long inquiry by the Justice Jha Commission, appointed by the High Court of Madhya Pradesh to look into allegations of corruption in the oustees' rehabilitation. The NBA said, while the Jha Commission report is with the Chief Secretary of Madhya Pradesh since April 2016, “there seems to be no action taken” by it.
“What happened at the Supreme Court on the May 13 also indicates the same”, the NBA said, adding, “The apex court, while allowing the payments in cash/cheque, maintained that they cannot be disbursed without thorough scrutiny of the Jha Commission.”
The Madhya Pradesh government, against this backdrop, maintained that there are just 1038 families “yet to receive disbursement of some grant” for rehabilitating them, claiming, this figure which is an “underestimated since the Narmada Control Authority's {NCA’s) figure is 2,143.”
Disputing this, the the NBA said, the figure of those who have not been rehabilitated runs in “thousands”, the NBA has denied the allegation of the Madhya Pradesh government that it wants to “create barriers in the rehabilitation process.”
Seeking an independent authority to look into the rehabilitation of the oustees, instead of allowing things to be left to the Grievances Redressal Authority (GRA), a government body, the NBA regretted that the apex court granted “freedom” to the Madhya Pradesh government “to design the mechanisms of scrutiny”, allowing it to appoint a retired High Court judge as chair the GRA.”
“NBA feels this will open a Pandora’s box and expresses disappointment at the latest turn of events”, the NBA said, in a statement jointly prepared by Patkar, Ashwini VS, Rahul Yadav, Kamla Yadav and Kailash Awasya.

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