Skip to main content

Narmada oustees: Apex court tells Madhya Pradesh to file R&R status by Sept 30

By Our Representative
Supreme Court bench comprising of Justices NV Ramana, Sanjiv Khanna and Krishna Murari has directed the Madhya Pradesh government to file an affidavit on the status of the rehabilitation and resettlement (R&R) of Sardar Sarovar dam oustees by September 30. The bench fixed the next hearing for October 1. It said this following a plea by the state government counsel Kapil Sibbal for more time to file an affidavit on R&R status.
The bench was hearing a writ petition filed by oustees, supported by the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), claiming that the dam was filled up to the full reservoir level (FRL), 138.68 metres, leading to the submergence of 176 villages, adversely impacting the life and livelihood of thousands of oustees, who had still not been rehabilitated as per the apex court order.
The direction followed senior counsel for the petitioner, Sanjay Parikh, pointing towards the gravity of submergence affecting human life and livelihood, and requested that, as R&R had not been completed, the rise in water levels was not in accordance with law, and therefore it should be brought down so that human sufferings were lessened.
Tushar Mehta, solicitor general, on the other hand, argued on behalf of the Government of India and the Narmada Control Authority (NCA) that water level in reservoir had been raised as per the procedure in the Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal (NWDT) Award.
The bench also drew attention of the solicitor general to the provision in the NWDT Award regarding a Review Committee meeting, suggested in the interim order, and observed that a decision should be taken in the meanwhile. The Review Committee comprises of the chief ministers of the four beneficiary states of the NWDT Award – Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan – as members, chaired by the Minister for Water Resources of the Union of India.
The hearing, which took place on September 26 on the writ petition under Article 32 of the Constitution, filed by the project affected families (PAFs) of Madhya Pradesh, who averred that the filling of the Sardar Sarovar reservoir was illegal and in violation of law, state policies and the judgements of the apex court.
The court heard arguments from the counsels of the states of Gujarat, Maharashtra and NCA, who rejected the plea for reducing the water level in the dam to 122 metres by keeping its gates open. According to them, NCA and its various subgroups for R&R and environment had granted all the requisite permissions for filling of the reservoir to FRL in 2017 itself.
The state of Gujarat contended that the Supreme Court order of February 8, 2017 had directed all the PAFs to vacate the villages by July 31, 2017 and that this should have been complied with.
The writ petition, on the other hand, submitted that R&R of thousands of families residing in 76 villages remains pending, as indicated in the letter by the Madhya Pradesh chief secretary dated May 27, 2019. The letter stated that about 3,000 applications by claimants were also pending for land entitlement or Rs 60 lakh package, granted by the Supreme Court in its 2017 order.
It also said that a number of tasks related to R&R remained pending, especially civic amenities as per NWDT Award and state policy, such as drinking water, roads, drainage and others, were not in place.

Comments

TRENDING

132 Gujarat citizens, including IIM-A faculty, others declare solidarity with Kashmiris

Counterview Desk
A week after it was floated, 132 activists, academics, students, artists and other concerned citizens of Gujarat, backed by 118 living in different parts of India and the world, have signed a "solidarity letter" supporting the people of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), who, it claims, have been silenced and held captive in their own land. The signatories include faculty members and scholars of the prestigious Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A).

Amit Shah 'wrong': Lack of transparency characterized bank frauds, NPAs, jobs data

Counterview Desk
India's senior RTI activists Nikhil Dey, Anjali Bhardwaj, Venktesh Nayak, Rakesh Reddy Dubbudu, Dr. Shaikh Ghulam Rasool, Pankti Jog and Pradip Pradhan, who are attached with the National Campaign for Peoples' Right to Information (NCPRI), have said that Union home minister Amit Shah's claim that the Government of India is committed to transparency stands in sharp contrast to its actual actions.

Untold story of Jammu: Business 'down', students fear lynching, teachers can't speak

By Rajiv Shah
A just-released report, seeking to debunk the view that people in Jammu, the second biggest city of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) after Srinagar, people had gone “out celebrating” abrogation of Article 370 which took away the state’s special status, has reported what it calls “abominably high levels of fear” across all sections in the town.

Kashmiris in a civil disobedience mode, are going against 'diktat' to open shops

Counterview Desk
A team of concerned citizens, including Ludhiana-based psychiatrist and writer Anirudh Kala, Mumbai-based activist and public health professional Brinelle Dsouza, Delhi-based journalist and writer Revati Laul, and social activist Shabnam Hashmi, travelled to Kashmir and Jammu to understand the impact of the abrogation of Article 370 and the subsequent security clampdown and communication blockade on the lives of the people of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).

Gujarat's incomplete canals: Narmada dam filled up, yet benefits 'won't reach' farmers

By Our Representative
Even as the Gujarat government is making all out efforts to fill up the Sardar Sarovar dam on Narmada river up to the full reservoir level (FRL), a senior farmer rights leader has said the huge reservoir, as of today, remains a “mirage for the farmers of Gujarat”.
In a statement, Sagar Rabari of the Khedut Ekta Manch (KEM), has said that though the dam’s reservoir is being filled up, the canal network remains complete. Quoting latest government figures, he says, meanwhile, the command area of the dam has been reduced from 18,45,000 hectares (ha) to 17,92,000 ha.
“According to the website of the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd, which was last updated on Friday, while the main canal, of 458 km long, has been completed, 144 km of ranch canals out of the proposed length of 2731 km remain incomplete.
Then, as against the targeted 4,569 km distributaries, 4,347 km have been constructed, suggesting work for 222 km is still pending. And of the 15,670 km of minor canal…

Ceramic worker dies: 20,000 workers in Thangadh, Gujarat, 'risk' deadly silicosis

By Our Representative
Even as the country was busy preparing for the Janmashtami festival on Saturday, Hareshbhai, a 46-year-old ceramic worker from suffering from the fatal lung disease silicosis, passed away. He worked in a ceramic unit in Thangadh in Surendranagar district of Gujarat from 2000 to 2016.
Hareshbhai was diagnosed with the disease by the GCS Medical College, Naroda Road, Ahmedabad in 2014. He was found to be suffering from progressive massive fibrosis. He is left behind by his wife Rekha sister and two sons Deepak (18) and Umesh (12),
The death of Hareshbhai, says Jagdish Patel of the health rights group Peoples Training and Research Centre (PTRC), suggests that silicosis, an occupational disease, can be prevented but not cured, and the Factory Act has sufficient provisions to prevent this.
According to Patel, the pottery industry in the industrial town of Thangadh has evolved for a long time and locals as well as migrant workers are employed here. There are abou…

Cess for Gujarat construction workers: Spending less than 10%; no 'direct help' to beneficiaries

By Our Representative
While the Gujarat government’s Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board, set up in 2004, as of March 31, 2019, has collected a total cess of Rs 2,097.62 crore from the the builders, it has spent less than 10% -- Rs 197.17 crore. And, as on May 31, 2019, the total cess collection has reached Rs 2,583.16 crore, said a statement issued by Bandhkam Majur Sagathan general secretary Vipul Pandya.
Pointing out that just about 6.5 lakh out of 20 lakh workers have been registered under the board, Pandya said, vis-à-vis other states, Gujarat ranks No 13th in the amount spent on the welfare of the construction workers, while 11th in the amount collected.
And while the builders are obliged to pay just about 1% of the total cost of their project, the calculation of the cess is flawed: It is Rs 3,000 per square yard; accordingly, Rs 30 per square yard is collected. “Had the cess been collected on the real construction cost, it would have been at least Rs 7,000 cr…