Friday, September 08, 2017

Listen to grievances of Narmada dam oustees, provide amenities to rehab sites in 15 says, MP High Court orders

 NBA activists at NCA office in Indore
By Our Representative
Even as hundreds of oustees protested at the Narmada Control Authority (NCA) office in Indore, Madhya Pradesh, demanding "just rehabilitation" to the Sardar Sarovar dam's project affected families (PAFs), top Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) leader Medha Patkar and advocates supporting her argued in the state High Court that 50% of PAFs have not received the packages they are entitled to.
They said this at the High Court bench in Indore, which heard the writ petition related to the non-compliance of the Supreme Court order dated February 8, 2017, filed by Narmada dam oustees of the Narmada Valley.
Arguing on behalf of NBA, they countered the claim of the state government that the rehabilitation of the dam oustees was complete, and civic amenities, mandatory to be provided to all oustees under the Narmada Water Dispute Tribunal
Award (NWDTA) are "existing, functional and available."
Also disputing the claim that the new packages ordered by the Supreme Court, of Rs 60 lakh and 15 lakh to those belonging to different categories of oustees, has been disbursed, they said, the government authorities on their own on "reduced the number of PAFs from 1,358 to 993". Worse, in some government affidavits the mentioned is even lower, 943 PAFs, they added.
Calling it a "contempt of the court", Patkar, who appeared as intervener herself and narrated in brief the situation on the ground, said that the in the amenities at 88 resettlement sites, as shown in the documents through glossy photographs, do not show "details of no drainage around the roads, bridged drains and pipes."
The NBA,which submitted its comments on the photographs of certain sites, said that the buildings which are constructed with colours put up recently are in dilapidated condition, if seen from within, adding, the houses are "structurally weak as it reported in details by the MANIT-IIT report which was done with detailed investigations for the Justice Jha commission."
"The MANIT-IIT investigation shows that many of the buildings are to be demolished and rebuilt which was not done over three years since the report was submitted and eight years since the dam work was stayed", NBA said, adding, "Even the water treatment plants from which the authority has claimed water is taken for a large village like Nisarpur is not truly reported."
"About 60% pipelines not yet placed in Nisarpur resettlement sites reserved for the families of villages. It is very obvious that the claims are not truthful", it said, adding, even the size of the house plots allocated to the oustees is "one-third of the size accepted by NWDTA."
On being told that 40 PAFs who had approached the Grievances Redressal Authority (GRA) have not even been heard, the division bench of Justices PK Jaiswal and Virendra Singh asked GRA to investigation into the complaint applications and pass, adding, civic amenities should be mandatorily provided at the rehabilitation sites within 15 days time.
Former general advocate Anand Mohan Mathur pleaded the case on behalf of the writ petitioners and said that the situation is critical and when the Prime Minister is celebrating his victory on completing the dam on September 17, the dead bodies of the Madhya Pradesh farmers would be "gifted for the ceremony."

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