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The World Commission on Dams (WCD) has been formed to review the efficacy of large dams in various countries. It will be chaired by Kader Asmal, the water affairs and forestry minister of South Africa. The Indian high commissioner to South Africa, Laxmi Chand Jain will be its vice chair-person. The founder of the Narmada Bachao Andolan, Medha Patkar is also on the panel.
The WCD has to formulate norms and guidelines pertaining to construction of large dams and complete its review by the year 2000. Among other aspects, the Commission will have to address the resettlement and rehabilitation aspects, covering issues like the mode of payment of compensation.
The findings of the WCD may answer the question whether large dams are necessary and, and if they are, what safeguards that must be put in place to prevent ecological damage and ensure safety of the local population.