Resume provision of basic amenities to Narmada oustees: SC

The apex court’s order came in response to a writ petition filed by the displaced persons

By Rohan Gupta
Published: Wednesday 16 October 2019

Resume providing necessary amenities to people displaced due to the rising water levels of the Sardar Sarovar Dam, a Supreme Court panel ordered the Madhya Pradesh government on October 16, 2019.

The reservoir levels of the Sardar Sarovar Dam in Gujarat had been raised to their highest — 138.68 metres — on September 15, which had led to the inundation of numerous villages in Madhya Pradesh.

The panel’s order came in response to a writ petition filed by the displaced persons.

Tushar Mehta, the Solicitor General, representing the Union government, told the court that a meeting of the Sardar Sarovar Reservoir Regulation Committee was held to discuss the rising water level issue and its report was awaited.

At this, advocate Sanjay Parikh, representing the displaced people and Rahul Kaushik, representing the Madhya Pradesh government pointed out that this committee was different from the Review Committee of the Narmada Control Authority (NCA), which was supposed to be set up to discuss the issue.

The aforementioned review committee consisted of the four chief ministers of stakeholder states — Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan — along with the Union Jal Shakti Minister as its Chairman and the Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change.

Sanjay Parikh even pointed out that the top positions in NCA were being controlled by just two members — Mukesh Kumar Sinha is the executive member of the NCA while his spouse Suman Sinha is in charge of four other senior official positions, according to the NCA website.

The next hearing is scheduled on October 21, after the reservoir regulation committee report is released. In the light of the extended date, Sanjay Parikh had requested for the resumption of emergency provisions to the displaced people to lessen their sufferings.

“The farmers are incurring losses in lakhs. Roads are underwater. The food being provided to the temporary settlers in tin sheds is no better that jail food. Some people are living in tin sheds because they haven’t yet received the compensation due for building houses,” Medha Patkar of the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) has said.

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