Activists want action

Published: Tuesday 31 May 1994

-- A 7-MEMBER Narmada Bachao Andolan delegation led by Medha Patkar has urged Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao to expedite the proceedings of the Narmada Review Committee. The committee, set up by the Union water resources ministry, is to evaluate all modalities regarding the Sardar Sarovar Project. The delegation has also submitted an 18-point charter of demands to Rao who was apprised of the possible outcome of the closure of sluice gates and continued dam construction.

Patkar has warned of a "massive action programme" in those areas of Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh affected by the Sardar Sarovar Project unless the Union government took some positive steps. Activists also warned of setting up a samarpit dal, or voluntary submergence squad. Rao, however, is said to have responded to this as another opportunity to study the issue.

The NBA activists' meeting with Rao on April 25 came about after over 500 villagers from the submergence area of the Sardar Sarovar Project, and activists of the Narmada Bachao Andolan camped for a week on New Delhi's Jantar Mantar lawns.

Meanwhile, a 3-member Supreme Court bench, headed by Chief Justice M N Venkatachalliah, has asked the Union government to respond to a 700 page NBA petition seeking a halt to dam construction. The petition also requests the court's intervention in making public a Union water resources ministry report on the dam project.

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