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Narmada dam submergence: SC asks Union water resources secretary to submit report

By Our Representative
The Supreme Court has asked the Union water resources secretary to submit a report on the Sardar Sarovar Narmada dam's reservoir regulation by October 21, even as directing the Madhya Pradesh government to provide basic amenities to the dam evictees.
Apex court bench comprising of justices BR Gavai, NV Ramana and R Subhash Reddy asked the Union secretary to provide details after the petitioners, dam oustees backed by the anti-dam body Narmada Bachao Andolan, alleged that the Narmada Control Authority (NCA) was not functioning effectively and independently.
The petitioners stated through their advocate Sanjay Parikh that the posts of NCA members were held by only two persons, who, in fact, were husband and wife. The bench noted that the affidavits filed by the Union of India and NCA were by the same deponent, which was unacceptable, as NCA was an independent authority.
At the same time, the court set aside the argument by Rahul Kaushik, counsel for the Madhya Pradesh government, who had objected to solicitor general Tushar Mehta. saying that the Union government's Sardar Sarovar Reservoir Regulation Committee report was ready for submission.
Kaushik had argued that it was not a report of a meeting of the Review Committee, which comprised of the chief ministers of Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Rajasthan, as required by the court in order dated September 26, 2019.
Coming to the rehabilitation and resettlement (R&R) of the oustees, the Union government counsel submitted that Gujarat was willing to pay any amount as directed by the court in addition to Rs 400 crore already paid. The court, however, observed that the question which required immediate redressal was amenities to the affected persons.

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